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The Smart Guide to SQL Server Security
(Below NEWS AND VIEWS)
February 26, 2004—New Mission—In this issue:
- Time Flies...
2. News and Views
- Comparing Security Design Choices
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: DBA Specialization
- New Instant Poll: SQL Server Magazine Web Site
- SqlJunkies Has What Developers Need
- Get the SQL Server 2000 System Table Map Poster!
- What's New in SQL Server Magazine: 34 Development Tips
- Hot Thread: Archiving OLAP Databases
- Tip: Subtleties of Data-Type Precedence
5. New and Improved
- Build Reports from Multiple Data Sources
- Compare Databases Located on Different Servers
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(contributed by Michael Otey, senior technical editor, [email protected])
We're proud to say it's been 5 years since we started SQL Server Magazine. And, oh, how the SQL Server world has changed. We launched the magazine in March 1999, following the release of SQL Server 7.0. At the time, the industry considered SQL Server a departmental database, not quite ready for the enterprise. And the Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) benchmark numbers backed up this perception: Oracle sat atop the scalability scores, with SQL Server struggling to break into the top 10. An important aspect of our early coverage was showing how SQL Server 7.0 was equipped for mission-critical, company-wide implementations and helping you make the best use of its new features.
Times have changed. Now, SQL Server 2000 is arguably the premier database platform available today. There's no doubt about SQL Server's enterprise scalability, as proven by the success of such high-profile customers as AT&T, Barnes & Noble, CompUSA, Dell, NASDAQ.com, Qwest Communications, Turner Broadcasting, and many others. Microsoft's own 5TB TerraServer SQL Server database demonstrates incredible scalability, and the TPC numbers support SQL Server's powerful enterprise story. SQL Server has claimed the number one spot in both the TPC-C clustered and nonclustered categories at various times. And although Oracle's new 10g product has knocked SQL Server off the TPC-C peak for now, Oracle is competing with a SQL Server release that's 4 years old. The upcoming SQL Server Yukon release will undoubtedly upset the TPC-C rankings again.
We've witnessed tremendous changes in SQL Server over the past 5 years, and SQL Server Magazine is undergoing a few changes as well. Beginning with the March issue, we're fine-tuning our editorial coverage to help you keep up with and master every area of SQL Server. For starters, we're organizing the magazine into three core sections: Development, Administration, and Business Intelligence. The Administration section will continue to bring you state-of-the-art information and best practices in the vital areas of SQL Server security, performance tuning, and database design. We also have a renewed focus for the database and application developer and will be providing more hands-on coverage of ADO.NET, Web services, and the tighter integration between Microsoft .NET and SQL Server Yukon. In addition, we're beefing up our business intelligence (BI) coverage, featuring more articles on Analysis Services' OLAP and data-mining functions, Reporting Services, and Data Transformation Services (DTS).
But some things will never change. Like you, our authors and technical editors work with SQL Server every day. And our overarching goal is still to help you do your job better. We do that by providing a unique blend of real-world, how-to articles along with the strategic coverage of new database technologies, product reviews, and news analysis you need to make the best choices for your organization. And to make sure we provide the best solutions possible, we'll continue to put everything we publish through a rigorous editorial process in which we verify all the technical explanations, test all the code, and edit the text for accuracy and readability. We've had a great time putting out SQL Server Magazine for the past 5 years, and we look forward to bringing you the best independent coverage of the SQL Server universe for the next 5 years and beyond.
Check out the content from the redesigned March issue at http://www.winnetmag.com/sqlserver/issues/issueid/690/index.html and let us know what you think. Send your feedback, questions, and article ideas to [email protected] And if you have an idea for an article you'd like to write, send your proposal to [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you!
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2. News and Views
Microsoft released a security-design performance comparison article that applies to SQL Server 2000, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, ASP.NET, and the .NET Framework. The article compares the relative performance of various security options available for client authentication, hashing algorithms, cryptography techniques, and digital signatures. Usually, the more secure your system is, the more you've compromised performance and usability. Read the Microsoft article "Performance Comparison: Security Design Choices" at http://msdn.microsoft.com/security/securecode/dotnet/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnbda/html/bdadotnetarch15.asp
The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's Instant Poll for the question, "What area of SQL Server specialization do you think is most important?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 350 votes (deviations from 100 percent are due to a rounding error):
- 35% Business intelligence
- 18% Data Transformation Services (DTS)
- 15% ADO and ADO.NET
- 24% Programming
- 9% None of the above
The next Instant Poll question is "What is your favorite part of the SQL Server Magazine Web site?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) article archives, 2) forums, 3) search, 4) news, or 5) event calendar and other resources.
Sponsor: The Smart Guide to SQL Server Security
Find the latest news, tips, and forum discussions about SQL Server security in one easy place: SQL Server Magazine's SQL Server Security section. Valuable security alerts bring you breaking news about security threats, and how-to articles give you the information you need to protect your database systems against impending threats. Get smart about SQL Server security now!
SqlJunkies is your online community resource for original tutorial and how-to articles for developing applications with SQL Server 2000 and Yukon; peer-to-peer help and networking through discussion forums and newsgroups; technology tips and pointers from expert bloggers; and the latest in SQL Server-related events and news.
If you're an administrator or developer and work with SQL Server, SQL Server Magazine can help you at work. Subscribe today and you'll gain access to a treasury of SQL Server experts, content, tips, code listings, articles, and more. Bonus--the System Table Map Poster. Click here for details:
If you develop database applications or you're simply looking for more efficient code for your SQL Server system, then look no further. In our March focus article, "34 Development Tips," we collected dozens of our best development tips from the past 5 years. Want to know when to use Web services? Or how to set up English Query? We've got tips about everything from the seven most common errors in ADO coding to using XML templates to improve security. Read them all today at
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And find the Web-exclusive supplement, "38 Extra Development Tips," at
Alan_SQL has a scheduled job that backs up the OLAP database daily by using the msmdarch.exe utility. Even though the job ran successfully all last year, since Alan_SQL's company implemented Analysis Services recently, the job failed. When Alan_SQL tried to archive the database through the UI in Analysis Services, he received the error message, "One of the data files is too large to be stored inside a .cab file." Alan_SQL's file is more than 2.1GB. Have you experienced a problem like this? Offer your advice and see what other people have said on SQL Server Magazine's OLAP and Data Warehousing forum at
(contributed by Brian Moran, [email protected])
A reader recently sent me a T-SQL query that didn't work as he expected. He was unable to concatenate 0 with the WHEN '1' branch of the CASE statement. The trouble with the T-SQL query stems from the CASE statement, which includes result expressions that contain different data types. The SQL Server Books Online (BOL) entry for CASE explains that the data type of the entire CASE expression is the "highest precedence type from the set of types in result_expressions and the optional else_result_expression" and points to the Data Type Precedence entry for additional information. Failing to understand the rules of data-type precedence leads to subtle T-SQL errors and incorrect result sets that are difficult to troubleshoot. See the sample T-SQL query and full explanation of the scenario and solution at
5. New and Improved
(contributed by Dawn Cyr, [email protected])
9Rays.Net announced Report Sharp-Shooter 1.6, a report-building engine for .NET. The product lets you create complex reports from multiple data sources and features a variety of export options including PDF, HTML, EMF, BMP, JPG, GIF, Excel, CSV, and TXT formats. You can use Report Sharp-Shooter to create bound and unbound reports that contain an unlimited number of master-detail relationships. The software is integrated with Visual Studio .NET and features support for the ADO.NET hierarchical data model. The product works with a data-binding model similar to ASP.NET, supports C# and Visual Basic .NET scripting, and works with all versions of SQL Server. Pricing for Report Sharp-Shooter 1.6 starts at $375 for the standard edition and $999 for the professional edition. For information and other pricing, contact 9Rays.Net at [email protected]
AlfaAlfa Software announced SQL Server Comparison Tool 1.2, a Windows application that lets developers and systems administrators analyze, compare, and document SQL Server databases. The tool analyzes the structure of your SQL Server tables, procedures, functions, views, triggers, and relationships, then stores the comparison data in tables. You can display the comparison results in report format or export the results to HTML or CSV formats. The tool can analyze and compare databases that reside on different servers, making it useful for verifying the integrity of your backup and disaster recovery databases. Because the tool is a read-only application, it can perform comprehensive analyses without changing the structure or contents of your data. SQL Server Comparison Tool 1.2 works with SQL Server 2000 and 7.0, and pricing starts at $99 for a single-user license. For multiuser discounts and other information, contact AlfaAlfa Software at 416-421-5395 or [email protected]
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