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Windows IT Library, 10/17/2007

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Download a Tool that will Benefit any Sys Admin

Filtering the Spectrum of Internet Threats

Ensuring Protection and Availability for Microsoft Exchange


  1. Book Review
    -Tooling up for the job
  2. New from Windows IT Library
    -Security Monitoring with Cisco Security MARS
    -Spring in Action, Second Edition
  3. New Books in Print
    -How to Cheat at Microsoft Vista Administration
    -Network Defense and Countermeasures: Principles and Practices
  4. New Windows IT Pro eBooks
    -Messaging Management
    -Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Tips
    -Making SQL Server Perform
    -Understanding and Leveraging Code Signing Technologies
    -Safeguarding Your Windows Servers
  5. Windows IT Library Editor's Picks -Using Policy Files
    -Scripting with InfoPath
    -Advanced Data Reporting

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==== 1. Book Review ====
Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools
Authors: Michael Raheem, Dima Sonkin, Thierry D’Hers, Kami LeMonds
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (
Published: October 2006
ISBN: 0321397967
Format: Soft cover, 816 pages plus companion CD
Price: $59.99

Tooling up for the job
If you want to tap into the power that's been built into the SQL Server 2005 range of tools, then the book to have sitting close by your computer is "Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools." The reason that I recommend this particular book is because its four authors, Michael Raheem, Dima Sonkin, Thierry D’Hers, and Kami LeMonds, have all been working on the SQL Server 2005 team since it was first put together. That experience means they can provide readers of their book not only with insights into the underlying designs of the tools but also with practical and useful information in the form of insider tips and tricks, the sort of information that would be difficult, if not impossible, to find elsewhere.

Here's just a brief rundown of the important role of each of the book's authors in the Microsoft SQL Server 2005 team:

  • Michael Raheem: senior product manager who led the design and implementation of the following SQL Server tools, SQL Server Management Studio, Database Mail, Upgrade Advisors, and Surface Area Configuration
  • Dima Sonkin: development lead responsible for SQL Server Agent, SMO, DMO, SQL Profiler, Database Engine Tuning Advisor, Database Mail, SQLMail, SqlCmd, and OSQL.
  • Thierry D’Hers: lead program manager heavily involved in the design and specification of the Analysis Services tools.
  • Kami LeMonds: documentation manager for Microsoft's SQL Server User Education team and contributor to the SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit.

The SQL Server 2005 collection of tools can be successfully deployed within an organization or a company in a variety of ways, for example, from installing SQL Server 2005 components or for configuring individual products through to the handling of management, reporting and operations type jobs such as manipulating data, performing administration tasks, or monitoring activities. Given that the subject matter of this particular book is tools, it is not surprising to find that, of the seventeen chapters that make up the book, all of the chapters, except for two, are each dedicated to different types of SQL Server 2005 tools.

For instance, here's a brief look at the contents of just three of the "tool" chapters from the book:

  1. Tuning and optimization of database queries – the three different tools put under the spotlight in this part of the book are SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server Profiler, and the Database Tuning Advisor. The value of reading this chapter is two-fold. It provides a comprehensive discussion of what is generally available. But probably the more important consideration is that it provides readers with the guidance that's needed as to the best tool to use in a particular situation.
  2. The three email tools, SQL Mail, Database Mail, and SQL Agent Mail. Database Mail will be the area of greatest interest to the majority of readers of the book because it is a newly developed mailing solution that ships with SQL Server 2005. However the authors of "Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools" have also included information about the other two email solutions so as to provide complete coverage of email functionality to the book's readers. That's because SQL Mail is a legacy component that previously shipped with SQL Server 2000. And according to the book's authors, although SQL Agent Mail "has its own mailing capabilities", it is limited because those capabilities are "used only for sending out notifications and cannot be used directly by external clients."
  3. Reporting Services tools, a sound working knowledge of these tools is invaluable because of the two different types of reporting solutions that can be implemented. First, IT professionals can use the Report Designer option of the tools to design and create data driven reports that can subsequently be stored on a server so that end users anywhere in a company or organization can easily and quickly access them. Second, end users themselves can create their own individual reports so that they get customized views of company data to exactly match their unique business needs. To do so, they can use Report Builder, which is another tool option for building reports that has been specifically designed with end users in mind. By the time that you have finished reading this particular chapter of the book, you will have learned how to configure a server for building reports as well as how to deploy and manage that report server.
  4. Instead of listing the complete set of the tools here in this review, the quickest way to find out the names of the remaining tools is to take a look at the book's Contents page published online at

"Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools" begins with a chapter that focuses on the fundamental aspects of the tools, with a little bit of their history thrown in as well. In addition, this chapter also provides a handy comparison of SQL Server 2005 tools with those found in SQL Server 2000. You might be surprised to find out that some of the tools in the previous release no longer exist in the 2005 edition of the tools.

But as the authors of "Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools" explain, that "does not mean that the tasks and scenarios that the old tool supported have been removed from the product. To the contrary, improvements have been made to the tool or it has been integrated with another tool to increase productivity."

Apart from the initial chapter, the only other non-specific tool chapter in the book is the one devoted to explaining the use of a programming object model, as opposed to the use of the user interface, to handle core administration tasks. SQL Server Management Objects (SMO) is a brand new programming model that ships with SQL Server 2005. The authors of "Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools" regard this chapter of their book as a "must-read" especially given the role that SMO can play in the areas of advanced performance and optimization.

Two examples from this chapter that discuss the possible uses of SMO objects are first, how to create a simple login using SQL authentication and second, how to alter an existing table by changing the data type of one of its columns. Given the manner in which the content of "Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools" is physically presented, there are a couple of different ways that you can read it. You can simply turn to the relevant chapter to read about a particular tool or a set of related tools, or alternatively, you can read through the entire book from start to finish, and in so doing, gain a thorough understanding of all the different tools and their features.

One of the aspects of this book that makes it stand out is that its authors don't just discuss SQL Server 2005 tools from a purely theoretical perspective. Instead they have included scenarios around the different tools to clearly demonstrate the use of the tools in realistic business settings so as to provide solutions to the sorts of problems and challenges that are most likely to be encountered.

For instance, in the chapter about Analysis Services OLAP (online analytical processing) tools, answers to the following questions are provided: "When would auto-scrolling during drag and drop operations help?"; "How do I use SQL in cube, dimension, and partition definitions?"; "How can I prototype a cube rapidly without prerequiring any existing data sources?"; "How do I compare two measure groups' dimensionality?"; and "How do I change time intelligence templates?" The companion CD to the book contains all the sample code from the book along with any corresponding Visual Studio project files.

In summing up, it is no coincidence that the popularity and success of Microsoft SQL Server is due, in no small part, to the diversity of tools that it possesses. The authors of "Inside SQL Server 2005 Tools" correctly point out that "today, the SQL Server 2005 tools are smarter and more powerful than ever before." Most importantly they also add that these tools "take advantage of hardware and software innovations to make ordinary tasks easier and complex tasks possible."

In order to fully capitalize on what these tools have to offer, you first have to know how to unlock their capabilities. Where this particular book can be of enormous assistance is in the time that it can save you to do that. Instead of trying to learn the ins and outs of the SQL Server 2005 tools yourself, allow this book to be your expert guide so that as a result of reading it, you learn how to work smarter and not harder. Not only will you develop a greater appreciation of what can be achieved with the different tools, you will discover too a wealth of tips, tricks and workarounds that will save you considerable effort.

For more book reviews, visit the Windows IT Library Web site.

==== Sponsor: St. Bernard Software ====
Filtering the Spectrum of Internet Threats
Examine the threats of allowing unwanted or offensive content into your network and learn about the technologies and methodologies to defend against inappropriate content, spyware, IM, and P2P. Download this free white paper now!

==== Events and Resources ====
(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro:
Learn how to protect yourself from data theft, website hacking/vandalism, and general security issues. With increasing concerns about host-based intrusion, IT professionals need to be equipped with effective security solutions. Attend this October 30th (12:00 PM EDT) Web seminar to learn how Symantec Critical System Protection provides intrusion protection and detection capabilities to better equip you in a landscape of ever emerging threats.

Learn from other people's mistakes, not your own! This free Web seminar features an interactive discussion that reveals today's common mistakes and misconceptions about messaging, archiving, regulations, and e-Discovery. You'll learn why these misconceptions came about, how to avoid the common mistakes, and what to do to meet today's email archiving and e-Discovery needs. Get the latest archiving related trends in messaging, and answer your biggest email archiving and e-Discovery questions.

Interop New York
See all of the latest technologies in action at Interop New York, October 22-26, 2007. Visit 200+ exhibitors, attend 100+ sessions, and check out live demos of practical business solutions. Interop is the gathering place for business and IT leaders who want to find out what's next in business technology. Register today.

==== Featured White Paper ====
Employees installing and using unauthorized applications such as Instant Messaging, VoIP, games, and peer-to-peer file-sharing applications cause many businesses legal concerns, IT support burdens, network and system overhead, as well as employee productivity issues. This white paper discusses the various approaches to control applications, and highlights a simple solution that removes cost and management overhead. Learn how to take back control of unauthorized applications.>

==== 2. New from Windows IT Library ====
Security Monitoring with Cisco Security MARS
Security Monitoring with Cisco Security MARS helps you plan a MARS deployment and learn the installation and administration tasks you can expect to face. Additionally, this book teaches you how to use the advanced features of the product, such as the custom parser, Network Admission Control (NAC), and global controller operations. Through the use of real-world deployment examples, this book leads you through all the steps necessary for proper design and sizing, installation and troubleshooting, forensic analysis of security events, report creation and archiving, and integration of the appliance with Cisco and third-party vulnerability assessment tools.

Spring in Action, Second Edition
The Spring Framework was created with a very specific goal in mind—to make developing JEE applications easier. Along the same lines, Spring in Action was written to make learning how to use Spring easier. My goal is not to give you a blow-by-blow listing of Spring APIs. Instead, I hope to present the Spring Framework in a way that is most relevant to a JEE developer by providing practical code examples from real-world experiences.

~~~~Hot Spot: Double-Take Software ~~~~
Ensuring Protection and Availability for Microsoft Exchange
Microsoft Exchange is integral to an organization's day-to-day operation. For many companies, an hour of Exchange downtime can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost productivity. This paper discusses new ways to maintain Exchange uptime by using data protection, failover, and application availability. When recoverability matters, depend on Double-Take Software to protect and recover business critical data and applications.

==== 3. New Books in Print ====
How to Cheat at Microsoft Vista Administration
The Microsoft Windows Vista operating system offers several changes and improvements over its predecessors. It not only brings a new and redesigned interface, but also improves on many administrative utilities and management consoles. It also enhances the system’s reliability, performance, and problem-solving tools. As administrators, Vista will sometimes look like its predecessor, Windows XP, and at other times, look like an all-new operating system. How to Cheat will help you get Vista up and running as quickly and safely as possible and provide you with a solid idea of all the important changes and improvements the new Microsoft Vista OS has to offer.

Network Defense and Countermeasures: Principles and Practices
Fills a void left by other texts with complete coverage of a wide range of defense strategies, forms of attacks, and policies related to computer security.,1144,0131711261-FEA,00.html

==== 4. New Windows IT Pro eBooks ====
Messaging Management
Mail and messaging infrastructures have become crucial components of today's organizations. To protect mail and messaging infrastructures organizations must establish mail and messaging management solutions. This eBook introduces three fundamental mail and messaging management services - security, availability and control services - and how you can implement them in a Microsoft-centric mail and messaging environment using Symantec and Microsoft solutions. This eBook will prove that securing a mail and messaging infrastructure is not an afterthought. A secure mail and messaging infrastructure is fundamental to your business and any organization should plan for the appropriate message hygiene, availability, and control services from the start. The entire book is available for download.

Data Protection and Disaster Recovery Tips
This eBook was designed to provide the reader with a wealth of information about how to protect and secure data in the event of a disaster. It's not possible to anticipate every possible disaster your organization may encounter, but you don't have to. The responses to many disasters will be the same; you can make plans based on the expected duration of recovery, the impact of the disaster on your facilities and the surrounding area, and other factors. Even if you don't live in a disaster-prone area, you should still be prepared for things such as structure fires, major traffic accidents, and the like. For example, what if a railroad tanker filled with liquid petroleum exploded near your offices? What would you do? The Boy Scouts say "Be prepared," but the United States Coast Guard's motto may be more appropriate here: "Semper Paratus," which is Latin for "always ready." This eBook will help you make a disaster plan that works for your organization. Chapter five is now available for download.

Making SQL Server Perform
Getting the best performance from SQL Server is an ongoing challenge. This three-chapter eBook offers insight into SQL Server performance and provides tips for improving user management, disk (physical) management and application management (query plans). Chapter 1 covers troubleshooting query-performance problems or slowdowns. Chapter 2 explores the new sys.dm_db _index_physical_stats() table-valued function (TVF) in SQL Server 2005, which replaces DBCC SHOWCONTIG. This function returns information about the physical organization of your data structures. In Chapter 3, the author draws on her experience working with SQL Server, in its Sybase and Microsoft incarnations, for almost 18 years. From the first, she heard that one of the most important reasons for using stored procedures is that they're precompiled. The performance benefits of plan reuse improved a bit in SQL Server 7.0 and again in 2000 as Microsoft made the optimizer much more complex. In this chapter, the author looks at how reusing a plan could often save a lot of time. Chapter 3 is now available for download.

Understanding and Leveraging Code Signing Technologies
This eBook discusses code signing technology. It explains the goals and benefits of code signing, how code signing works and the underlying cryptographic and security concepts and building blocks. The eBook also tells how to use code signing in practice. It includes practical examples and step-by-step guidance for the following code signing environments: Microsoft Authenticode and Office macro signing, Netscape and Java code signing. Chapter 3 is now available for download.

Safeguarding Your Windows Servers
How do you prepare for disaster? Do you have procedures in place to properly create and restore a full backup...just in case? Whether you're managing as few as 5 servers or as many as 5000, you need to prepare for the worst. SafeGuarding Your Windows Servers provides a collection of the best resources for planning and implementing high availability as well as the proper tools and procedures for recovering from a disaster. This eBook provides useful guidelines for safeguarding your Windows file-and-print servers, Microsoft Exchange Server, SQL Server, and more. An assortment of tips will also help you tie it all together and get the most out of your high-availability solutions. This essential guide of practical information will help you build a safety-net around your systems -- one you won't want to be without. The entire book is available for download.

==== 5. Windows IT Library Editor's Picks ====
Using Policy Files
In this chapter from "Enterprise Development with Visual Studio .NET, UML, and MSF," you'll learn about using policy files in conjunction with enterprise template projects to constrain and guide developers working on an enterprise solution. The chapter covers policy file concepts, provides an overview of the policy file format and schema, and explains how to create and edit policy files.

Scripting with InfoPath
This chapter from "Powering Office 2003 with XML" by Peter G. Aitken discusses what's new in Microsoft Office 2003, and it talks about the importance of interoperability. After reading this chapter, you'll understand how Office exchanges information with other programs and you'll know XML's role in Excel, Access, and InfoPath.

Advanced Data Reporting
This chapter examines techniques and tools for building sophisticated, professional reports using the DataGrid control in ASP.NET.

==== Announcements ====
(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)
Discover the New SQL Server Magazine
Don't miss the relaunched SQL Server Magazine, coming this month! Besides a new look, we have even more coverage of administration and performance, development and Web apps, BI and Reporting Services, and SQL Server fundamentals. Subscribe now and save 58% off the cover price.

Got a Tough Exchange or Outlook Question?
Rely on Exchange & Outlook Pro VIP, the new online resource with in-depth articles on administration, migration, security, and performance. Subscribers get direct access to our top-flight editors, so subscribe and receive personalized solutions to your toughest technical questions. It beats a support call to Microsoft!

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