SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, December 15, 2005--SQL Server Scalable Shared Databases

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December 15, 2005

1. Perspectives

  • Scale Out Reporting with SQL Server SSD
  • 2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

  • SQL Server Developer Center Features Security Information
  • 3. News & Views

  • SQL Server 2005 Supports Analysis Services on a Failover Cluster
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Bonus Time?
  • New Instant Poll: Are You Satisfied?

    4. Reader Challenge

  • December Reader Challenge: Troubleshooting Performance Issues
  • January Reader Challenge: Deploying a Startup Parameter on All Servers
  • 5. Events and Resources

  • SQL Server 2005: Up & Running Roadshows Coming to Europe!
  • Upgrade to Analysis Services 2005
  • Are You Really Prepared for Disaster Recovery?
  • SQL Server DevCon 2006--Early-Bird Deadline 16 December
  • Scripting Doesn't Have to be Boring
  • 6. Featured White Paper

  • Protect and Ensure Your Data's Integrity
  • 7. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Looking at Future SQL Server 2000 Coverage
  • Hot Article: It's What You Make IT
  • In a Nutshell: A Christmas Tradition
  • Hot Threads
  • 8. Announcements

  • Holiday Special--Save up to $40 off SQL Server Magazine
  • Exchange & Outlook Administrator Newsletter--Holiday Special
  • 9. New & Improved

  • Simplify Reporting Services Reports
  • Maintain Legal and Regulatory Compliance
  • Sponsor: Lumigent
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    1. Perspectives

  • Scale Out Reporting with SQL Server SSD

  • by Brian Moran, [email protected]

    Unless you've been under a rock for the past few weeks, you know that SQL Server 2005 launched in November with much fanfare. But you might not know that Microsoft sneaked a nifty new feature into the product at the last minute. SQL Server Scaleable Shared Databases (SSD) will be a new weapon in your arsenal when you need to create a scale-out reporting environment for read-only data, which is, of course, a relatively common need in large and midsized environments.

    I had the chance to chat by email with SQL Server Storage Team Program Manager Kevin Farlee about this new feature. Kevin has more than 15 years in the database world and deep experience with the database-engine and server-storage layers. His career spans stints at Digital, Legato, and EMC. He joined Microsoft last May and is now one of the key people responsible for SQL Server SSD.

    As Kevin explained, "The scalable shared database (SSD) feature enables the scale-out of databases that are used exclusively for reporting (read-only access) with periodic updates. Specifically, SSD allows you to attach a read-only reporting database to multiple server instances over a storage area network (SAN). This means that you can use multiple commodity servers to scale out your reporting access without having to copy the database and multiply your storage requirements." I asked Kevin what he thinks SSD's major benefits are. Here's a list of the major benefits he described:

  • Provides workload scale-out of reporting databases that are using commodity servers. A scalable shared database is a cost-effective way of making read-only data marts or data warehouses accessible to multiple-server instances for reporting purposes, such as running queries or using SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.
  • Provides workload isolation. Each server uses its own memory, CPU, and tempdb database. This prevents a runaway query from monopolizing all resources and affecting other queries.
  • Guarantees an identical view of reporting data from all servers. This assumes that all of the server instances are configured identically. For example, all servers would use a single collation.
  • Thanks to Kevin for sharing some of his insights about this new feature! You can learn more about SSD by reading the Microsoft article "Scalable shared databases are supported by SQL Server 2005" at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1C2F7:285886 and reviewing the SSD topic in the newest version of SQL Server 2005 Books Online, available at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1C2DE:285886 . Please note that the version of Books Online that shipped with the SQL Server 2005 RTM bits doesn't discuss SSD.

    SSD is a handy new feature, but please don't think it's a panacea for every possible reporting scale-out need you might have. This new feature lets you scale out the server instances accessing the data, but each instance is still hitting the same database files on the same SAN. So, SSD is likely to produce large gains if the reporting workload is CPU intensive or the database is small enough to ensure that large parts of it can fit in RAM. (Note: "small" today is a lot bigger than it used to be because of the availability of 64-bit SQL Server and large-memory servers.) Conversely, SSD isn't likely to produce significant gains if the reporting workload on a single instance is I/O bound and the SAN is already having a hard time keeping up. Never forget that understanding your workload is a key first step before embarking on any sort of long-term plan for a scale out strategy.

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    2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

    SQL Server Developer Center Features Security Information
    Microsoft's SQL Server Developer Center Web site ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1C2FC:285886 ) features a special page devoted to information about SQL Server 2005 security. The page contains links to articles about security for SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express; SQL Server Books Online (BOL) topics, including security for databases and database applications, SQL Server Integrations Services (SSIS), replication, Service Broker, Analysis Services, and Notification Services; and a variety of upcoming security-related Webcasts. To read up on these and other security-related topics, visit the Microsoft SQL Server Developer Center at

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    3. News & Views

  • SQL Server 2005 Supports Analysis Services on a Failover Cluster
  • You can install SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services on a failover cluster in SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition or Standard Edition. To help SQL Server professionals successfully implement the installation, Microsoft has published the article "How to install SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services on a failover cluster." The article covers installation in detail and goes on to explain how to verify whether the installation is successful and how to remove Analysis Services from a failover cluster. The article also includes a section listing known problems you might encounter during the installation. You can read the full article at

    Results of Previous Instant Poll: Bonus Time?
    "Do you expect a bonus in addition to your base salary this year?" Here are the results from the 107 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):

  • 13% Yes, $2500 or less
  • 8% Yes, between $2500 and $5000
  • 8% Yes, between $5000 and $10,000
  • 10% Yes, more than $10,000
  • 60% No, I don't expect a bonus
  • New Instant Poll: Are You Satisfied?
    "Overall, how satisfied are you with your current job?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1C300:285886 ) and submit your vote for

  • Totally satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
  • Somewhat dissatisfied
  • Totally dissatisfied
  • 4. Reader Challenge

  • December Reader Challenge Solution: Troubleshooting Performance Issues

  • by Umachandar Jayachandran, [email protected]

    No successful entries were submitted for the December Reader Challenge, "Troubleshooting Performance Issues." You can read a recap of the problem and the solution to the December Reader Challenge at

  • January Reader Challenge: Deploying a Startup Parameter on All Servers

  • Now, test your SQL Server savvy in the January Reader Challenge, "Deploying a Startup Parameter on All Servers"(below). Submit your solution in an email message to [email protected] by December 22. Umachandar Jayachandran, a SQL Server Magazine technical editor, will evaluate the responses. We'll announce the winner in an upcoming SQL Server Magazine UPDATE. The first-place winner will receive $100, and the second-place winner will receive $50.

    Here's the challenge:
    Charlie is a database administrator who manages a total of more than 50 installations of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0. He wants to add a new trace flag as a startup parameter on all the servers to generate a report in the event of a SQL Server deadlock. For this problem, assume that the trace flag that generates this deadlock report is 1204. How can Charlie quickly deploy this new startup parameter to all the servers?

    5. Events and Resources

  • SQL Server 2005: Up & Running Roadshows Coming to Europe!

  • SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you put SQL Server 2005 into practice and learn how to use its new capabilities. Includes one-year PASS membership and subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now for London, UK, and Stockholm, Sweden, at

  • Upgrade to Analysis Services 2005

  • Get the tips and tricks you'll need to upgrade to Analysis Services 2005, including possible upgrade and migration scenarios, preplanning steps, and tips on running the new Analysis Services migration wizard. Plus, you'll discover what steps are required after the migration process is complete and explore some of the new features of Analysis Services 2005.

  • Are You Really Prepared for Disaster Recovery?

  • Join industry guru Liam Colvin in this free Web seminar and get the tips you need to validate your disaster recovery data. You'll learn if your backup and restore data is worth staking your career on, what type of geo-clustering is right for you, which response to use in crisis situations, and more!

  • SQL Server DevCon 2006--Early-Bird Deadline 16 December

  • SQL Server DevCon 2006 takes place in London in February, alongside DevWeek 2006. SQL Server gurus such as Itzik Ben-Gan, Dan Clark, Fernando Guerrero, and Michael Hotek will present sessions on SQL Server 2005 security enhancements, Reporting Services, T-SQL enhancements, the backup/restore engine, business intelligence, Integration Services, XML support, and data mining.

  • Scripting Doesn't Have to be Boring

  • Subscribe today to Scripting Central and get a down-and-dirty, technical, yet lighthearted look at scripts and the people who write them. You'll also get tools for and tips on how to write scripts for a variety of Windows applications, such as Exchange Server and SQL Server. Sign up today!

  • See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.

  • http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1C2FA:285886

    6. Featured White Paper

  • Protect and Ensure Your Data's Integrity

  • With the heightened awareness around national security and protecting important human and physical assets, having solutions that also protect your data's integrity is extremely critical. In this free white paper, you'll learn important ways you can ensure the integrity of your application's data, particularly with intradependent platforms such as SQL Server and Oracle.

    7. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Looking at Future SQL Server 2000 Coverage

  • by Brian Moran, [email protected]

    Q. Now that SQL Server 2005 has shipped, are you going to abandon all the SQL Server 2000 users who still rely on that platform for their production databases?

  • Read the answer to this question today at

  • http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=1C2E9:285886

  • Hot Article: It's What You Make IT

  • This year's SQL Server Magazine salary survey respondents reveal what makes database pros happy, what challenges they face, and how they see IT roles changing. In the December focus article "It's What You Make IT," SQL Server Magazine senior editor Dawn Cyr reveals how database professionals get job satisfaction by creatively managing their careers. Read this article today and post your comments at

  • In a Nutshell: A Christmas Tradition

  • In this week's blog "A Christmas Tradition," Kevin Kline highlights the launch of a new SQL Server user group in New Jersey. He also breaks a Christmas tradition by learning how to upgrade the codes in his universal remote. Read the blog and let Kevin know your thoughts today at

    Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.

    SQL Server General Discussion: Pulling Data from SAS
    Reporting Services: Installing Reporting Services 2005 on SQL Server 2000
    T-SQL: Getting a Value from a Grouped Query
    Performance: Urgent Performance Enhancement
    SQL Server 2005 Administration: Merge Replication
    DTS: Scheduled DTS Package Fails When User Password Changes

    Hot Spot

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    8. Announcements

  • Holiday Special--Save up to $40 off SQL Server Magazine

  • You won't want to miss any of SQL Server Magazine's upcoming winter issues! Subscribe now and discover the best ways to plan for a successful SQL Server 2005 upgrade, the value of integrating Visual Studio 2005, ways ADO.NET 2.0 solves your problems, the annual Readers' Choice survey, and much more. You'll also gain exclusive access to the entire SQL Server Magazine online article database FREE, and you'll save up to $40 off the full cover price. Click here:

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    9. New & Improved

    by Blake Eno, [email protected]

    Simplify Reporting Services Reports
    Designing and delivering SQL Server Reporting Services reports (RDL files) has become easier with SoftArtisans OfficeWriter 3.5. Users can now design and deliver their RDL files inside Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word through the OfficeWriter Designer, a distributed client-side toolbar that's integrated in your Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. You can disperse the toolbar among all your users, and once it's deployed, anyone can create and publish reports directly to the Reporting Services server without leaving Microsoft Office. The toolbar lets you query a data source and add merge fields and repeat blocks. Once you've designed your report, you can save it to your hard drive, view it instantly, or publish it to the server for distribution. A free trial version of OfficeWriter 3.5 is available. For more information, contact SoftArtisans at 877-763-8278 or [email protected]

    Maintain Legal and Regulatory Compliance
    SPI Dynamics announced SPI Dynamics Compliance Pack, software that helps you address legal and regulatory compliance for Web applications and Web services. The product offers a combination of application-security assessments, customizable security policies, and regulatory compliance reporting. SPI Dynamics software-testing products, WebInspect, QAInspect, and Assessment Management Platform (AMP), all include the new Compliance Pack. Existing customers will receive the Compliance Pack automatically through SmartUpdate, which is included in all SPI Dynamics products and provides automatic policy updates and the latest Web-application vulnerability checks. For more information, contact SPI Dynamics at 866-774-2700 or [email protected]

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