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«October 2015»

Data Warehouse from the Ground Up at SQL Saturday Orlando, FL on Oct. 10th

SQL Saturday #442SQL Saturday #442 is upon us and yours truly will be presenting in Orlando, Florida on October 10th alongside Mitchell Pearson (b|t). The session is scheduled at 10:35 AM and will last until 11:35 AM. I’m very excited to be presenting at SQL Saturday Orlando this year as it’ll be my first presenting this session in person and my first time speaking at SQL Saturday Orlando! If you haven’t registered yet for this event, you need to do that. This event will be top notch!

My session is called Designing a Data Warehouse from the Ground Up. What if you could approach any business process in your organization and quickly design an effective and optimal dimensional model using a standardized step-by-step method? In this session I’ll discuss the steps required to design a unified dimensional model that is optimized for reporting and follows widely accepted best practices. We’ll also discuss how the design of our dimensional model affects a SQL Server Analysis Services solution and how the choices we make during the data warehouse design phase can make or break our SSAS cubes. You may remember that I did this session a while back for Pragmatic Works via webinar. I’ll be doing the same session at SQL Saturday Orlando but on-prem! ;)

So get signed up for this event now! It’s only 11 days away!

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Create Date Dimension with Fiscal and Time

Here are three scripts that create and Date and Time Dimension and can add the fiscal columns too. First run the Dim Date script first to create the DimDate table. Make sure you change the start date and end date on the script to your preference. Then run the add Fiscal Dates scripts to add the fiscal columns. Make sure you alter the Fiscal script to set the date offset amount. The comments in the script will help you with this.

This zip file contains three SQL scripts.

Create Dim Date

Create Dim Time

Add Fiscal Dates

These will create a Date Dimension table and allow you to run the add fiscal script to add the fiscal columns if you desire. The Create Dim Time will create a time dimension with every second of the day for those that need actual time analysis of your data.

Make sure you set the start date and end date in the create dim date script. Set the dateoffset in the fiscal script.

Download the script here:


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Excel Tip #29: Forcing Slicers to Filter Each Other when Using CUBE Functions

As I mentioned in my original post, Exploring Excel 2013 as Microsoft’s BI Client, I will be posting tips regularly about using Excel 2013 and later.  Much of the content will be a result of my daily interactions with business users and other BI devs.  In order to not forget what I learn or discover, I write it down … here.  I hope you too will discover something new you can use.  Enjoy!


You have went to all the trouble to build out a good set of slicers which allow you to “drill” down to details based on selections. In my example, I have created a revenue distribution table using cube formulas such as:

=CUBEVALUE(“ThisWorkbookDataModel”,$B6, Slicer_Date, Slicer_RestaurantName, Slicer_Seat_Number, Slicer_TableNumber)


Each cell with data references all the slicers. When working with pivot tables or pivot charts, the slicers will hide values that have no matching reference. However, since we are using cube formulas the slicers have no ability to cross reference. For example, when I select a date and a table, I expect to see my seat list reduce in size, but it does not. All of my slicers are set up to hide options when data is available. There are two examples below. In the first, you can see that the seats are not filtered. However, this may be expected. In the second example, we filter a seat which should cause the tables to hide values and it does not work as expected either.



As you can see in the second example, we are able to select a seat that is either not related to the selected table or has no data on that date. Neither of these scenarios is user friendly and does not direct our users to see where the data matches.

Solving the Problem with a “Hidden” Pivot Table

To solve this issue, we are going to use a hidden pivot table. In most cases we would add this to a separate worksheet and then hide the sheet from the users. For sake of our example, I am going to put the pivot table in plain sight for the examples.

Step 1: Add a Pivot Table with the Same Connection as the Slicers

In order for this to work, you need to add a pivot table using the same connection you used with the slicers. The value you use in the pivot table, should only be “empty” or have no matches when that is the expected result. You want to make sure that you do not unintentionally filter out slicers when data exists. In my example, I will use the Total Ticket Amount as the value. That will cover my scenario. In most cases, I recommend looking for a count type valu

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Identifying Long Running SQL Agent Jobs Script

  • 12 July 2012
  • Author: DevinKnight
  • Number of views: 5465

I’m usually pretty hesitant to share scripts I write because inevitably it will get torn to pieces, but in this case I’d actually like some feedback so I can continue to grow this solution.
This script spawned from Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken) and I working on a project together that had a SQL Agent job that somehow got hung up for 4 days on the SQL Server when it normally takes less than 10 minutes. Now, Jorge is a superb DBA so he had setup notifications upon SQL Agent failures but we had no way of knowing something was wrong with this particular job because it never actually failed.

So Jorge and I discussed the problem and thought why can’t we get some kind of notification for excessively long running jobs just like we get failures. So with our powers combined we came up with this solution.


  • Permission to msdb..sysjobhistory, msdb..sysjobs, msdb..sysjobactivity
  • Database mail setup (If you choose to be notified of a long running job)
  • A database to store the stored procedure and log table the script loads. Jorge already had a database called DBAdmin on all his servers so he could store scripts like Brent Ozar’s sp_Blitz script and other things he finds useful as a DBA.


This first script creates the log table which will only be inserted into when a job exceeds the time limit you deem to be excessive.

CREATE TABLE [dbo].[LongRunningJobs](
	[ID] [int] IDENTITY(1,1) NOT NULL,
	[JobName] [sysname] NOT NULL,
	[JobID] [uniqueidentifier] NOT NULL,
	[StartExecutionDate] [datetime] NULL,
	[AvgDurationMin] [int] NULL,
	[DurationLimit] [int] NULL,
	[CurrentDuration] [int] NULL,
	[RowInsertDate] [datetime] NOT NULL

ALTER TABLE [dbo].[LongRunningJobs] 
ADD CONSTRAINT [DF_LongRunningJobs_Date] DEFAULT(getdate())
FOR [RowInsertDate]

This second part requires more explanation and we’ve tried to detail what we did and why we did it with comments throughout the code. A high level description would be that this script looks at the average run time of a job and if a job that is currently running exceeds the average by 150 percent (arbitrary number that you can change) then it alerts the DBA team using database mail. So right away you may see some flaws (runtimes could vary drastically) with our plan but this is v1 so give us feedback!

Here’s the script to create the stored procedure. Our thought was to run this on a SQL Agent job as well every 5 minutes or so.  

-- =============================================
-- Author:        Devin Knight and Jorge Segarra
-- Create date: 7/6/2012
-- Description:    Monitors currently running SQL Agent jobs and
-- alerts admins if runtime passes set threshold
-- Updates: 7/11/2012   Changed Method for capturing currently running jobs to use master.dbo.xp_sqlagent_enum_jobs 1, ''
-- =============================================
CREATE PROCEDURE [dbo].[usp_LongRunningJobs]
--Set Mail Profile
DECLARE @MailProfile VARCHAR(50)
SET @MailProfile = (
        ) --Replace with your mail profile name
--Set Email Recipients
DECLARE @MailRecipients VARCHAR(50)
SET @MailRecipients = ''
--Set limit in minutes (applies to all jobs)
--NOTE: Percentage limit is applied to all jobs where average runtime greater than 5 minutes
--else the time limit is simply average + 10 minutes
DECLARE @JobLimitPercentage FLOAT
SET @JobLimitPercentage = 150 --Use whole percentages greater than 100
    -- Create intermediate work tables for currently running jobs
DECLARE @currently_running_jobs TABLE (
    ,last_run_date INT NOT NULL
    ,last_run_time INT NOT NULL
    ,next_run_date INT NOT NULL
    ,next_run_time INT NOT NULL
    ,next_run_schedule_id INT NOT NULL
    ,requested_to_run INT NOT NULL
    ,-- BOOL
    request_source INT NOT NULL
    ,request_source_id SYSNAME COLLATE database_default NULL
    ,running INT NOT NULL
    ,-- BOOL
    current_step INT NOT NULL
    ,current_retry_attempt INT NOT NULL
    ,job_state INT NOT NULL
    ) -- 0 = Not idle or suspended, 1 = Executing, 2 = Waiting For Thread, 3 = Between Retries, 4 = Idle, 5 = Suspended, [6 = WaitingForStepToFinish], 7 = PerformingCompletionActions
--Capture Jobs currently working
INSERT INTO @currently_running_jobs
EXECUTE master.dbo.xp_sqlagent_enum_jobs 1,''
--Temp table exists check
IF OBJECT_ID('tempdb..##RunningJobs') IS NOT NULL
    DROP TABLE ##RunningJobs
CREATE TABLE ##RunningJobs (
    ,[JobName] [sysname] NOT NULL
    ,[StartExecutionDate] [DATETIME] NOT NULL
    ,[AvgDurationMin] [INT] NULL
    ,[DurationLimit] [INT] NULL
    ,[CurrentDuration] [INT] NULL
INSERT INTO ##RunningJobs (
    ,jobs.NAME AS JobName
    ,act.start_execution_date AS StartExecutionDate
    ,AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100)) AS AvgDurationMin
        --If job average less than 5 minutes then limit is avg+10 minutes
        WHEN AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100)) <= 5
            THEN (AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100))) + 10
        --If job average greater than 5 minutes then limit is avg*limit percentage
        ELSE (AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100)) * (@JobLimitPercentage / 100))
        END AS DurationLimit
    ,DATEDIFF(MI, act.start_execution_date, GETDATE()) AS [CurrentDuration]
FROM @currently_running_jobs crj
INNER JOIN msdb..sysjobs AS jobs ON crj.job_id = jobs.job_id
INNER JOIN msdb..sysjobactivity AS act ON act.job_id = crj.job_id
    AND act.stop_execution_date IS NULL
    AND act.start_execution_date IS NOT NULL
INNER JOIN msdb..sysjobhistory AS hist ON hist.job_id = crj.job_id
    AND hist.step_id = 0
WHERE crj.job_state = 1
GROUP BY jobs.job_ID
    ,DATEDIFF(MI, act.start_execution_date, GETDATE())
        WHEN AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100)) <= 5
            THEN (AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100))) + 10
        ELSE (AVG(FLOOR(run_duration / 100)) * (@JobLimitPercentage / 100))
        END < DATEDIFF(MI, act.start_execution_date, GETDATE())
--Checks to see if a long running job has already been identified so you are not alerted multiple times
        SELECT RJ.*
        FROM ##RunningJobs RJ
        WHERE CHECKSUM(RJ.JobID, RJ.StartExecutionDate) NOT IN (
                SELECT CHECKSUM(JobID, StartExecutionDate)
                FROM dbo.LongRunningJobs
    --Send email with results of long-running jobs
    EXEC msdb.dbo.sp_send_dbmail @profile_name = @MailProfile
        ,@recipients = @MailRecipients
        ,@query = 'USE DBAdmin; Select RJ.*
From ##RunningJobs RJ
WHERE CHECKSUM(RJ.JobID,RJ.StartExecutionDate) NOT IN (Select CHECKSUM(JobID,StartExecutionDate) From dbo.LongRunningJobs) '
        ,@body = 'View attachment to view long running jobs'
        ,@subject = 'Long Running SQL Agent Job Alert'
        ,@attach_query_result_as_file = 1;
--Populate LongRunningJobs table with jobs exceeding established limits
INSERT INTO [DBAdmin].[dbo].[LongRunningJobs] (
    ) (
    SELECT RJ.* FROM ##RunningJobs RJ WHERE CHECKSUM(RJ.JobID, RJ.StartExecutionDate) NOT IN (
        SELECT CHECKSUM(JobID, StartExecutionDate)
        FROM dbo.LongRunningJobs
    DROP TABLE ##RunningJobs

Again please email me with any changes you find necessary so that I can happily update this script. Expect a similar post by Jorge on this too, he’s a co-author of the solution!

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