SQL Seven: BackOffice Resource Kit Tools

The Microsoft BackOffice Resource Kit (BORK) contains tools, utilities, and sample code that can be a valuable resource for managing your SQL Server systems. Here are my seven favorite SQL Server tools included in BORK.

7. T-SQL Quick Reference

Although not exactly a tool, the T-SQL Quick Reference is a handy helper when you're writing T-SQL scripts. The T-SQL Quick Reference uses the railway-track syntax, which clearly shows the valid paths through the T-SQL syntax. I found the railway-track syntax useful when I had trouble deciphering the T-SQL in SQL Server Books Online (BOL).

6. Remote Service Control Manager

You use the Remote Service control manager to start and stop services on a remote Windows NT system. For example, you can start and stop SQL Server services so you can perform automated backups or other maintenance. The following example shows how to stop the MSSQLService on a remote system named MyServer:

RSCM \\MyServer STOP MSSQLServer

5. SQL Namespace Browser

The SQL Namespace Browser is a graphical tool that lets you explore SQL Server's namespace. This tool's coolest attribute is its ability to generate Visual Basic (VB) code that you can use to create custom SQL Server management interfaces. To run the SQL Namespace Browser, execute the browse.exe program.

4. SQL Load Simulator

This graphical tool provides multithreaded execution of an SQL script that you provide. The tool lets you test your applications and tuning changes under active server conditions. You can pick the number of concurrent threads to execute and determine the delay between the initialization of each thread. To run the SQL Load Simulator, execute the SqlLS.exe program.

3. DBGen

DBGen lets you quickly generate test data for SQL Server database tables. DBGen gives you several options to control the type of test data that will be added to the table. The tool provides a VB interface and a command-line version. You can run the interactive version by using the Dbgen.exe program and the command-line version by using the Dbgencon.exe program.

2. DataSim

Like DBGen, DataSim lets you generate test data. However, whereas DBGen generates different types of random data, DataSim generates more realistic data based on a VBScript file that you provide. To use DataSim, create the VBScript data-creation file and then execute it by using the DataSim.exe program. The tool provides a sample VBScript for the Pubs database to help you get started.

1. Log Shipping

The Log Shipping tool is an example of a transactional replication implementation that you can use to create a high-availability solution. This tool illustrates how you can replicate the transaction log to a backup server that you can then bring online if the primary server fails. The Log Shipping tool consists of several predefined tables, stored procedures, and jobs that you can use to set up a log shipping between a primary and secondary server.

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