SQL Server and Windows 2000: What's on the Horizon?

Did you make it to Microsoft Developer Days yesterday? Developer Days is a 1-day training and briefing event held simultaneously at multiple locations around the country. The theme was "Building secure, reliable, highly scalable Web-enabled applications on Windows 2000 and COM+." The advertising materials claimed you’ll learn everything a developer needs to know about Windows 2000 (Win2K). Hmmm. That’s a mighty big claim for a 1-day training event, but I’m sure everyone received a solid technical overview. Ready or not, Win2K's release is getting closer all the time, and it’s time to start learning what’s new, cool, and different for SQL Server developers on the new platform.

Over time, Win2K will introduce important changes to the SQL Server community, and many of the most important changes will center on Windows 2000 Datacenter Server (Datacenter). SQL Server 7.0 has made impressive performance strides when running on single-box SMP environments. Unfortunately, whether it’s true or not, SQL Server suffers from the perception that it’s still lacking in the area of fault tolerance and high availability. Everyone wants a blazingly fast server, but fault tolerance and high availability is the name of the game in the increasingly important world of e-commerce. This week, I refuse to start a fire storm by arguing SQL Server’s fault tolerance and high availability capabilities, pro or con; my point is that perception is sometimes more important than reality when battling competitors in a market share war. Datacenter is important because it can establish Microsoft as a serious competitor in the glass house where fault tolerance and high availability concerns often are more important than TPC-C price performance scores.

Several weeks ago, I wrote about SQL Server 7.0 system tables and the cool, handy system table map that shipped with the August issue of MSDN News. I asked readers to let me know if they knew how to order a copy of the map so I could share the information with everyone else. Many readers helped out, but all the references seemed to be for the Microsoft Repository object model map. This map is similar but slightly different, so we’re still looking for the actual SQL Server 7 system table map. Also, some readers asked how they could get copies of MSDN News without having an MSDN subscription. I’m not sure how you can sign up for a print copy, but you can check out articles from old issues at http://www.msdn.microsoft.com/ voices/news/default.asp.

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