SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, January 6, 2005--MSDE

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January 6, 2005

1. Perspectives

  • MSDE: Get More Than You Pay For
  • 2. News and Views

  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: User Groups
  • New Instant Poll: SQL Server 2005 Migration
  • 3. Announcements

  • Insider Resources for SQLMag.com Users
  • Bring in the New Year with SQL Server Magazine!
  • 4. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Archiving User Activity
  • Hot Article: Extreme Outsourcing: Ricky Business?
  • Kevin Kline's "In a Nutshell" Blog: An Essential Tool in the Age of Malware
  • Hot Threads
  • 5. Events Central

  • SQL Server Summit in Dallas, TX—January 18, 2005
  • SQL Server Magazine Connections
  • 6. New and Improved

  • Add Command Lines and Compression to your SQL Server Tools
  • Monitor Database Performance
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    1. Perspectives

  • MSDE: Get More Than You Pay For

  •     by Brian Moran, [email protected]

    "You get what you pay for" is a common saying. It's often true, but sometimes you can get a free lunch, and that's a good way to think about the value Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE) offers. I'm surprised more customers don't consider MSDE a viable option for their production-database needs. Yes, I did use production database and MSDE in the same sentence, and no, I haven't had too much New Year's egg nog.

    MSDE certainly isn't appropriate for medium to large database applications; however, countless customers use Microsoft Access for their production-database needs, and Access is arguably less scalable than MSDE. Plus, migrating to SQL Server is easier if the application is designed for MSDE rather than Access. It's impossible to say exactly how large a system you should consider running with MSDE. But if you're running 25 users or fewer with a moderate or low transaction workload, you might get by fine using MSDE, and it's free.

    Over the past two years, I've dealt with a few dozen customers who were in the process of evaluating MySQL (a Linux database), other free databases, and Microsoft Access for small database needs. Many of these customers wanted SQL Server but couldn't justify the cost of a full version of SQL Server for one reason or another. In most cases, MSDE was an appropriate choice to consider based on the application's technical needs, however, the customer didn't consider MSDE as a viable candidate. I've seen customers roll out SQL Server Standard Edition at significant cost when MSDE would have been appropriate given their technical and business needs. Lucky for them, I was there to point it out!

    Using Microsoft's free database for small-business production environments will be an even better option in calendar year 2005, when the company adds a number of enhancements to SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, SQL Server 2005's answer to MSDE. For more information about SQL Express and MSDE, see my July 2004 commentary, "In the Express Lane with SQL Server" at http://www.windowsitpro.com/Article/ArticleID/43234/43234.html .

    I can't tell you all the steps you need to go through to decide whether MSDE will meet your organization's needs, but I encourage you to investigate MSDE as an option. Microsoft has a good place to start: A link on the SQL Server home page, "Is MSDE a better choice for your database needs?" takes you to the MSDE home page at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/msde/default.asp . Microsoft has a lot of information that's helpful for customers who are trying to decide whether MSDE is right for them.

    On a final note, at the beginning of December, I wrote about the release of SQL Server Express Manager's Community Technical Preview (CTP) in "More SQL Server 2005 Bits" ( http://www.windowsitpro.com/article/articleid/44774/44774.html ). Express Manager is a new GUI toolset for administering SQL Server Express. MSDE doesn't ship with an integrated administration tool, which can make even simple administration tasks cumbersome. In December, I said that current MSDE users are forced to manage their databases by using Microsoft command-line tools or third-party tools. I was so excited about Express Manager and the idea of improved support for managing the smaller versions of SQL Server that I neglected to mention SQL Server Web Data Administrator, an MSDE management tool that Microsoft released last April. Although it's not as full-featured as Enterprise Manager or Express Manager, Web Data Administrator is a tool that can help you with many simple MSDE-administration tasks. You can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=C039A798-C57A-419E-ACBC-2A332CB7F959&displaylang=en .

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    2. News & Views

  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: User Groups

  • "Which user group are you a member of?" Here are the results from the 79 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):

  • 25%   SQL Server Worldwide User's Group (SSWUG)
  • 19%   Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS)
  • 11%   Local user group
  •  1%   Other
  • 43%   None
  • New Instant Poll: SQL Server 2005 Migration

  • "When do you plan to migrate to SQL Server 2005?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://www.sqlmag.com ) and submit your vote for

  • We're already running on SQL Server 2005 Beta software
  • Within 6 months after the product's release
  • Within 1 year after the product's release
  • Within 2 years after the product's release
  • We don't plan to migrate to SQL Server 2005
  • 3. Announcements

  • Insider Resources for SQLMag.com Users

  • Get access to the Web's most popular online SQL Server users' group: tens of thousands of articles, scripts, product reviews, FAQs, and help for administrators and developers. Get the help you need, when you need it.

  • Bring in the New Year with SQL Server Magazine!

  • Sign up to receive SQL Server Magazine in 2005 and get 30% off the newsstand price! As a special bonus, you'll also receive free online access to every article published in the magazine since 1999 and get the latest Top SQL Server Tips Guide free—includes over 60 helpful tips! Order now:

    4. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Archiving User Activity

  •     by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team, [email protected]

    Q. We have an application that requires us to log all user activity against a SQL Server 2000 database, then make the logs viewable online. We need to keep the activity logs for 7 years. We're expecting to capture about 50GB of data in just 1 year. To minimize backup storage requirements, we were planning to break the data into two databases: an active-archive database and an inactive-archive database. The active archive would contain activity collected over the past month, and the inactive archive would contain everything else. Is this a valid approach? If so, what's the best way for the application programmer to extract data from the two databases—by using distributed partitioned views?

    Read the answer to this question today at

  • Hot Article: Extreme Outsourcing: Ricky Business?

  • Outsourcing and its cousin offshoring are transforming the business of IT. Outsourcing is nothing new: Every project for which IT hires outside consultants involves outsourcing. However, offshoring takes this model to the extreme, shifting the responsibility of projects and sometimes entire departments to foreign-based firms. Many well-known companies appear to have successfully offshored their IT organizations and dramatically cut expenses—at least in the short term. But, in his January editorial, "Extreme Outsourcing: Risky Business?" Michael Otey warns readers about the cost of extreme outsourcing. Read this article today at

  • In a Nutshell: An Essential Tool in the Age of Malware
  • In this week's blog, "An Essential Tool in the Age of Malware," Kevin Kline talks about a nifty program from Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell's Sysinternals Web site. The program, Autoruns, is currently in version 6.1. One of the program's cool features is letting you hide any auto-starting Microsoft program from the display with one click. In this and many other ways, it's vastly superior to the MSConfig utility that ships with Microsoft Windows ME and Microsoft Windows XP. What do you think?

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

    Development: Backup Files Error 3041
    Tools: Enterprise Manager Error With Linked Server     http://list.windowsitpro.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eirs0McMHC0Kj40BN5I0Au
    Administration: Server to Server Transfer Logins Task
    Performance: Looking at Disk Subsystem Performance
    T-SQL: Correct COMPUTE Syntax
    Administration: Space Growth Analysis for a Database

    5. Events Central

  • SQL Server Summit in Dallas, TX—January 18, 2005

  • This year's summit will focus on exciting new features of the next release—SQL Server 2005. Summit features four tracks: business solutions, DBA, developer-DBA, and business intelligence. Keynote delivered by Bill Baker, Microsoft General Manager of SQL Server. Call 1-877-MSEVENT or register online (reference event code: 1032256747) at:

  • SQL Server Magazine Connections

  • Mark your calendar for SQL Server Magazine Connections, March 20-23, at the Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando. Don't miss this exciting event offering cutting-edge sessions by industry gurus. All attendees receive beta copies of SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 and attend sessions at Visual Studio Connections free!

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

    6. New & Improved

        by Dawn Cyr, [email protected]

  • Add Command Lines and Compression to your SQL Server Tools

  • Red Gate Software announced the latest version of SQL Bundle Developer Edition, a package of five SQL Server-management tools. The package includes SQL Compare, which lets you compare and synchronize SQL Server database objects; SQL Data Compare, which lets you compare and synchronize data between two databases; DTS Compare, which compares DTS packages, jobs, and logins; SQL Packager, which packages database schema and contents; and SQL Comparison and Synchronization Toolkit, which provides access to command lines and APIs in SQL Compare, SQL Data Compare, and SQL Packager. The newest release of the tools includes new command lines in the SQL Toolkit that let developers and DBAs produce repeatable and configurable synchronization tasks that can run alone or from inside other applications. Common uses for the new command lines include scheduling synchronizations and integrating database comparison and synchronization tasks into build processes. The other major new feature in SQL Bundle Developer Edition is compression in SQL Packager. The new compression algorithms reduce storage overhead and simplify deploying and distributing databases over a network or VPN. Pricing for SQL Bundle Developer Edition starts at $990, and fully functional 14-day trial versions of all the tools are available at Red Gate's Web site. For more information, contact Red Gate Software at 866-733-4283, 44-870-160-0037, [email protected], or [email protected]

  • Monitor Database Performance

  • Imceda announced Speed Coefficient 2.0, software that helps developers and DBAs monitor SQL Server 2000 and 7.0 performance by providing reports that evaluate database activity. The product uses a dedicated work database on each server to store all required functions and trace tables. In the newest release, the product installs all functions in the work or shared databases, separate from production data. The new Trace Activity screen lets users easily see all traces running on a server, whether those traces originate from Speed Coefficient or another tool such as SQL Server Profiler. Users can examine, start, pause, and stop traces. All traces for a server reside in a unified object store for the server, not with production data. And the new release lets DBAs run simultaneous traces against the same or different databases. In addition, Speed Coefficient 2.0 traces now include a snapshot of system-table metadata, so you can run analyses of system tables at any time; express modes for the traces and analysis wizards speed up those functions; the product's reports display in XML format; and a new SQL Health section monitors CPU and performance counters and makes query-tuning recommendations. A free evaluation copy of Speed Coefficient 2.0 is available at Imceda's Web site. For pricing or other information, contact Imceda at 888-763-7685, 781-229-6300, or [email protected]

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