Unstructured Data in Structured databases - practical tricks

SQL Servers provide features to support non-Relational Model, like: JSON and XML documents, Geometry and Geography data, Key-value parameters, queues and messages, complex relations using graph model, and many more.

For example, if we need to calculate the surface area of a geometry shape, then we will use a built-in Geometry functions like STArea; If we need to process the content of XML document then we will use XML Methods like query(), value(), exist(), modify(), nodes(), and XQuery.

But what about using the power of these features for working with simple tabular data.

In this session I will present tricks you can use to improve performance. For example, using the power of Geometry data type and special Indexes for "Gaps and Islands" issues, finding gaps between dates, working with ranges, or designing the optimal hierarchy structure. We will go over tricks for splitting a string or concatenation of strings (with guaranteed order) using XML or using JSON, trick for scheduling jobs without SQL Agent, and many more daily tasks, which we will solve using Unstructured Data features in Structured databases.

It's time to think outside the box!

Ronen Ariely

Senior consultant and architect, data platform and application development.

Tel Aviv, Israel


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