Redgate has released v1 of their brand new SQL Clone product. This is a pretty cool piece of software that lets you share dev databases to multiple people within the company without needing to take up a ton of drive space for each person. Picture this, you have a 1TB database and 20 developers that all need a copy of this database on their local PC for development work. Up until today you’d have to have 1TB of storage in each of their workstations and you’d need to spend a ton of time restoring the database to their machines every time they needed a refresh of the database.

With SQL Clone that space and time is no longer needed.  You can, using SQL Clone from Redgate, take your production database backup (that’s hopefully been scrubbed of PII) and mount that database to all your developers workstations. This allows them to have full copy of the database without having to actually use the full 1TB of disk space.  Each developer only needs the amount of space to hold whatever data they’ve changed in the database since it was mounted.  In most cases this is going to be a tiny amount of data as most changes to the application that most developers are working on are only going to touch a very small percentage of the database.  In our example database, if you made changes to 10% of the database in the database that would only require 10 Gigs of space on the developers workstation. Needless to say, a pretty impressive space savings (and cost savings as disk space isn’t free in workstations).

You can see from the dashboard (click the screenshot to enlarge it) that cloning a database is pretty easy.  You click the clone button for the database.  There’s a couple of steps to walk through for where you want to put the database, etc. And that’s it.

Redgate sums up the SQL Clone tool, pretty nicely “SQL Clone is a database provisioning tool that removes much of the time and disk space needed to create multiple database copies. With SQL Clone, database copies can be created in seconds and each copy uses around 40MB of disk space, no matter the size of the original database. Provisioning requests can be dealt with very quickly, and teams can work locally on up-to-date, isolated copies of the database to speed up development, accurately test code, and fix issues faster.”

SQL Clone is so easy, that even Grant Fritchey can clone a database using Alexa.

Now that you’re done watching grant yell at some electronic device like a caveman, Redgate would like to give you the chance to win one of five Amazon Echo Dots, and one of the people that get those Amazon Echo Dots will also get a copy of SQL Clone.

How you get entered into this contest is easy.  All you have to do is comment on this blog post with what “skill” you’d like to make your Amazon Echo do if you were to build a skill (and money was no object).  The Redgate team has published a post on how they made it so that Grant can clone a database without touching his computer which should help get those ideas coming.

Some ideas to get you started could be:

  • Let me know when my databases backups failed
  • Rebuild the indexes on my database
  • Remind me to record the TV show Supernatural

You have from today March 6, 2017 until April 30, 2017 to enter by replying to this blog post.

The full terms and conditions of the contest count be found at (I know, there’s rules, blame the lawyers).

So get commenting to get entered.



18 Responses

  1. Alexa to receive alerts from monitoring tools and audibly alert when a performance condition/security alert/any alert happens that is deemed critical. Then with said functionality be able to tell Alexa to acknowledge the alert.

  2. I would create an Alexa skill to automatically do the online food shop each week. It would include staples that would be replenished periodically based on use , plus ingredients for a rotating list of recipes, and a surprise treat for each person based on likes and dislikes, delivered at the preferred time. In the future, Alexa can then also instruct our ‘home droid’ about the shopping which needs to be put away, and the meals to be cooked each night! 😀

  3. Fun! I think Alexa could remind me of tasks and events, including oh-dark-thirty alerts when I’m on-call, and regular “work out time” reminders.

  4. I’d probably create an Alexa Skill that adapts the “tell me a joke” action to be “Alexa, Tell me a SQL Joke”. Some of the jokes i’d include…
    1) “A man walks into a bar and sees two tables. Says ‘Can I join you?'”;
    2) ‘I’m the key DBA in my team. I’m the one that locks up the office at night’;
    3) ‘At what time to the developers start work? Generally about three hours after they arrive in the morning’;
    4) Q: Why do you never ask SQL people to help you move your furniture?
    A: They sometimes drops the table;
    5) ‘NULL is the Chuck Norris of the database – nothing can be compared to it.’

    …I’m here all week 🙂

  5. I’d teach Alexa how to yodel in the morning the get kids out of bed. What couldn’t I teach her, other than fly fishing. Why would I let Alexa be the bearer of bad new with backup fails or services not responding? I’ll let my phone be the bad guy, Alexa will get to be something I look forward to hearing from.
    “Mike, it’s the perfect day to have a ‘meeting’ on the river. Midges are hatching this week.”

    Thanks Alexa for helping me with work/life balance.

    “I won’t be in the office till 3 pm. Alexa reminded me of a meeting with Dr. Brown T. Rout this morning…”

  6. I’d have Alexa to alert the team , when the performance/ storage metrics fall below the set thresholds.

  7. Create and maintain a movie queue for the family to ensure balance in the family

  8. I’d get Alexa to understand my SQL Prompt snippets and let me dictate SQL code directly, without the need to actually type.

  9. I would add a skill to start and read back health checks on all prod SQL instances. I would then record an SMS ring tone that would issue the command “Alexa health check my servers”. If I get texted from work in the middle of the night, now I don’t have to open my eyes or pick up my phone to see if I have to wake up and deal with it. After the alert wakes me Alexa will read health checks to me and I can (hopefully) roll back over, after using the “Alexa blackout alert xxx on server yyy” skill!

  10. We use console minutes for our children as a means of incentivising/disciplining them, trouble is keeping track of how much time they have and ensuring it is adhered to, so asking to add subtract time per child and set timers would be awesome!

    Second idea, using Alexa to get a recipe and read it out to you as you follow it and being able to skip fwd and back steps in the method! Save going back to the book screen constantly….

    1. Ignore the email address auto fill fail! Meant to read Alexa…..second thoughts get Alexa to check autocorrect submissions before committing a msg! :/

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