SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, November 17, 2005--Prowling with the SQLCAT

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November 17, 2005

EDITOR'S NOTE: Just a reminder that next Thursday is Thanksgiving Day, so SQL Server Magazine UPDATE will take a holiday! Look for the next issue on December 1.

1. Perspectives

  • Prowling SQL Server Territory with the SQLCAT
  • 2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

  • Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Advisor Tool Streamlines Upgrades
  • 3. News & Views

  • Microsoft Announces Updated Events and Errors Message Center
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Open Source for SQL Server
  • New Instant Poll: Learning About BI
  • 4. Events and Resources

  • Get the facts about deploying SQL Server 2005!
  • New SQL Server 2005 Express Email Newsletter!
  • Accelerate Time to Recovery with Minimal Data Loss
  • Get the Most from Your Infrastructure by Consolidating Servers and Storage
  • 5. Featured White Paper

  • Protect and Manage Instant Messaging
  • 6. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Simulating Parallel Plans
  • Hot Article: Easily Missed SQL Server 2005 Features
  • In a Nutshell: Market Reaction to the Launch of SQL Server 2005
  • Hot Threads
  • 7. Announcements

  • VIP Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers
  • SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, & Forums
  • 8. New & Improved

  • Monitor Changes to Data and Database Environment
  • Simplify Design-Time Experience
  • Sponsor: Free Disaster Recovery Toolkit for the SQL DBA
    Written by SQL Server expert Brian Knight, this handy, "how-to" toolkit contains comprehensive first-hand advice and scripts for SQL Server DBAs that need to build and implement a successful disaster recovery plan. With his tips and quips, Brian walks the DBA through real-world scenarios using an easy, step-by-step approach. And as part of the download, you'll receive four scripts, which will greatly speed your recovery time! Download it today, compliments of Lumigent:

    1. Perspectives

  • Prowling SQL Server Territory with the SQLCAT

  • by Brian Moran, [email protected]

    One of the most valuable SQL Server resources on the face of the planet was launched a few weeks ago; alas not many folks seem to know about it yet. The Microsoft SQL Server Customer Advisory Team blog at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=19E6C:285886 is a resource you need to bookmark and browse often.

    Have you ever heard of the SQL Server Customer Advisory Team (SQLCAT)? Probably not, although you might recognize some of the team members' names as you browse through the list of current team members at the end of this commentary. The SQLCAT's mission is to travel the world to support highly advanced SQL Server projects and make them successful. To accomplish this mission, team members interact with the development and product support teams at Microsoft to share knowledge and best practices gleaned from the good, the bad, and the ugly they observe in the real world.

    Not surprisingly, fixing the world's toughest SQL Server projects requires some of the world's smartest SQL Server people. The SQLCAT has some of the best available any where in the world, and I don't say that lightly. Many people in the SQL Server community look to MVPs, speakers, and writers for answers and guidance. The smartest of those experts look to people on the SQLCAT for answers and guidance.

    Until now, it was hard for the average DBA to get access to SQLCAT members. No, they probably didn't visit your customer site, and no you probably didn't have their direct email addresses. Instead regular folks relied on the experts who did have access to the SQLCAT to disseminate the knowledge and best practices that the team acquired. But now, you can get regular, useful tips yourself by reading the team's blog.

    I won't spend any time this week diving into any of the cool items I've already found on the SQLCAT blog. But trust me, it's top notch stuff. Most important, it should turn out to be a key resource for learning about new SQL Server 2005 best practices as they're uncovered live in the field rather than waiting for the information to filter out months later in Microsoft white papers.

    SQL Server Customer Advisory Team Members:

    Mark Souza--More than 23 years working on RDBMS technology with more than 12 years on Microsoft SQL Server. He manages the team.
    Tom Davidson--More than 25 years working with database technology with more than 10 years on SQL Server. He specializes in performance and tuning.
    Prem Mehra--More than 35 years in the database industry specializing in IO technologies and high availability.
    Bren Newman--More than 12 years working with SQL Server and a former member of the replication development team.
    Stuart Ozer--More than 25 years of database experience. He has built more TB+ data warehouses than I can count.
    Prakash Sundaresan--More than 7 years on the SQL Server Engine development team. Knows the Query Processor inside and out.
    Kevin Cox--New to the SQLCAT unit, he brings 25 years of industry experience and strong SSIS and OLTP skills.
    Howard Yin--Another newbie SQLCAT guy, he comes from Oracle originally, but we let him join us anyway. All-around great skills with the product.
    Lubor Kollar--More than 17 years of database-engine development and more than 9 years with SQL Server. Currently a member of SQLCAT with ongoing background responsibility as Group Program Manager on the SQL Server Engine development team.
    Gert Drapers--Has recently moved to the Visual Studio team to create cool database development tools but is allowed lifelong membership to SQLCAT. Also the best SQL Server developer in the world.

    Learn SQL Server 2005 Now--Get a FREE training CD!
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    2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Advisor Tool Streamlines Upgrades
    To improve the SQL Server 2005 upgrade experience, Microsoft provides a tool called SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Advisor Analysis Wizard. You can use the Upgrade Advisor during the upgrade-planning phase to analyze SQL Server 2000 and 7.0 instances, including components such as DTS, Analysis Services, scripts, and trace files. The tool also identifies deprecated features and configuration changes that might affect your upgrade, and it provides links to documentation that describes each identified issue and how to resolve it. Using the Upgrade Advisor can help you make the right choices for a successful upgrade. You can read an overview of how to use the Upgrade Advisor tool in Darshan Singh's November SQL Server Magazine article "Leverage the Upgrade Advisor Tool" at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=19E5F:285886 . To download the tool, visit the Microsoft Web site at

    Sponsor: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Migration
    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services offers many performance improvements and benefits for existing SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services users. If you are planning a migration to Analysis Services 2005, you can't afford to ignore this paper! Download your free copy now and get all the tips and real-world examples you need to make migration faster and easier.

    3. News & Views

  • Microsoft Announces Updated Events and Errors Message Center
  • Microsoft has launched a newly revised and expanded Events and Errors Message Center that can help you more easily find descriptions of what event and error codes mean. Changes include a new Advanced Search page, a Basic Search page, and a revised Message Detail page. On the site, you can find detailed message explanations, recommended user actions, and links to additional support and resources. The site even features an advanced search feature that lets you enter parameters such as Event Id, event source, message text, and file name. You can find the Events and Errors Message Center at

  • Microsoft Stakes Claim to x64 Future

  • by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

    Tuesday, at the IT Forum in Barcelona, Spain, Microsoft made several announcements about its future server products. The most important was that Microsoft plans to move its server products off the 32-bit x86 platform and on to the new 64-bit x64 platform.

    Many Microsoft customers might find this news somewhat shocking. But in reality, most new server systems shipped today are already x64-based and support 32-bit OSs and applications. That's one of the great features of the x64 platform--it's backward compatible with x86-platform software. Thus, most 32-bit Windows software will run on x64 systems and provide better performance and will access to more system memory.

    Still, Microsoft's transition to the x64 platform in the server space will seem aggressive. Longhorn Server (due in early 2007) will be one of the few upcoming Microsoft server products that will ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The following product editions will be available only for the x64 platform:

  • Windows Compute Cluster Server (due in the first half of 2006)
  • Exchange 12, the next major version of Exchange (due in late 2006 or early 2007)
  • Longhorn Small Business Server (SBS)
  • Centro, a new medium-sized-business server product
  • Longhorn Server version R2
  • "Remember that we will be supporting the 32-bit versions of Longhorn Server until 2012, and extended support will be available through 2017," Sam Distasio, a group product manager at Microsoft, told me during a briefing yesterday. "So we're not abandoning customers that choose to stick with 32-bit systems. They will have the option to continue with 32-bit." Distasio confirmed that Microsoft will provide service packs for both the 32-bit and x64 platform versions of Longhorn Server, but that 32-bit customers will not get Longhorn Server version R2.

    The company did not provide any information about the future of its desktop products. The last time I discussed this topic with Microsoft, I was told that Windows Vista will ship in versions that support both x64 and x86 platforms.

    Additionally, Microsoft announced at the IT Forum that it just released the R2 version of Virtual Server 2005 to manufacturing. Product pricing has changed significantly--the Standard Edition of Virtual Server R2 will be just $99, and the Enterprise version will be $199. Finally, Microsoft previewed Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) 3.0, an update to MOM 2005, at the show.

    Results of Previous Instant Poll: Open Source for SQL Server
    "Do you use any open-source language when programming applications for SQL Server?" Here are the results from the 36 votes:

  • 17% Yes, I use them for the flexibility they give my applications
  • 0% Yes, I learned to code in an open-source language and still prefer it
  • 11% Sometimes, but I mostly use T-SQL/.NET languages
  • 72% No, I only use T-SQL/.NET languages
  • New Instant Poll: Learning About BI
    "Which of the following BI-related topics are you most interested in learning about?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=19E6F:285886 ) and submit your vote for

  • Developing BI applications
  • Data mining/Analysis Services
  • Creating/designing cubes
  • Reporting
  • 4. Events and Resources

  • Get the facts about deploying SQL Server 2005!

  • SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you put SQL Server 2005 into practice and use its new capabilities to improve your database-computing environment. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now at:

  • New SQL Server 2005 Express Email Newsletter!

  • Get up to speed fast with useful database projects and tips that illustrate the fundamentals of Microsoft's new free database offering. Download sample applications and code, get quick tips to help you work with SQL Server 2005 Express, learn about the latest patches, service codes and updates for SQL Server 2005 Express, and more!

  • Accelerate Time to Recovery with Minimal Data Loss

  • Learn how to meet RPO (Recovery Point Objectives) and RTO (Recovery Time Objectives) with a continuous, realtime backup system. In this free, on-demand Web seminar, you'll discover how to roll back data to any point in time--not just to the last snapshot or backup!

  • Get the Most from Your Infrastructure by Consolidating Servers and Storage

  • Improved utilization of existing networking resources and server hardware lets you allocate money and time where they're needed most. In this free Web seminar, learn to optimize your existing infrastructure with the addition of server and storage consolidation software and techniques. You'll get the jumpstart you need to evaluate the suitability and potential of your computing environment for the added benefits that consolidation technology can provide.

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

  • http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=19E6A:285886

    5. Featured White Paper

  • Protect and Manage Instant Messaging

  • 85% of businesses use IM to improve communication and reduce email usage. In this free white paper, learn how to protect your company and implement a managed IM security solution! Download your free copy now at

    6. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Simulating Parallel Plans

  • by Brian Moran, [email protected]

    Q. I want to learn how to analyze parallel query plans but I don't have access to a multi-processor server. Is there a way to simulate a parallel plan on a uni-processor server for testing and development purposes?

  • Read the answer to this question today at

  • http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=19E59:285886

  • Hot Article: Easily Missed SQL Server 2005 Features

  • Everybody's heard of SQL Server 2005's big new features: CLR integration, database mirroring, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), and the new SQL Server Reporting Services with Report Builder. With so many changes, it's easy to miss less obvious features. In his November SELECT TOP(X) column "Easily Missed SQL Server 2005 Features," Michael Otey highlights five easily overlooked features that add significant functionality to the new release. Read this article today and post your comments at

  • In a Nutshell: Market Reaction to the Launch of SQL Server 2005

  • Ten days after the launch of SQL Server 2005, it's easier to sit back and read the reaction of the media with a little perspective. On launch day, Kevin Kline posted a collection of media stories about the event in "Market Reaction to the Launch of SQL Server 2005." Read the blog, take a look at the links, and let Kevin know what you think now that you have a little perspective at

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

    Administration: SP3a Issue on a Cluster
    T-SQL: Datetime Column Not Showing Seconds
    Performance: Referring to Tables in Other Databases Via Views
    Tools: SQL Server Documentation
    Replication: The RPC Server is Unavailable
    DTS: File Paths Stored in Flat File

    Hot Spot

  • Protect and Ensure Your Data's Integrity

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    7. Announcements

  • VIP Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers

  • Sign up for a VIP Monthly Online Pass and get online access to ALL the articles, tools, and helpful resources published in SQL Server Magazine, Windows IT Pro, Exchange and Outlook Administrator, Windows Scripting Solutions, and Windows IT Security. You'll have 24 x 7 access to a database of more than 25,000 articles that will give you all the answers you need, when you need them. BONUS--Includes the latest issue of Windows IT Pro each month. Sign up now for just US$29.95 per month:

  • SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, & Forums

  • Hundreds of free tips and articles on SQL Server performance tuning and clustering. And get quick and accurate answers to your performance- and cluster-related question in our forum. All from the SQL Server performance and clustering authority: SQL-Server-Performance.com.

    8. New & Improved

    by Blake Eno, [email protected]

    Monitor Changes to Data and Database Environment
    Lumigent announced support for SQL Server 2005 with new features in its Information Security Management (ISM) Suite. ISM Suite lets your organization manage security and compliance risk by protecting valuable information assets. Vulnerability Manager DB 3.0, the first product added to ISM Suite, identifies vulnerabilities in your enterprise database and application deployments, classifies them according to severity, and produces measurements of their relevant risk. Audit DB 3.0, the second product added to ISM Suite, provides a solution for auditing database activity by letting you know what data has been accessed by what user or application, how data was modified and when, and who has viewed certain data. For further information, contact Lumigent at 866-586-4436, 978-206-3700, or [email protected]

    Simplify Design-Time Experience
    ComponentOne announced ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2005 3.0 for Visual Studio 2005. Studio Enterprise is a component toolset for developing all layers of Windows, Web, and mobile applications for Visual Studio. Updated features of this release include Chart for .NET and True DBGrid for .NET. These features provide designers and wizards to reduce the time needed to learn component object models and let you focus on application development. SmartDesigners and SmartFramework, new productivity technologies, provide new visual design interfaces and framework that let you set components' most common properties without leaving the design surface. This release also includes a redesigned review for .NET feature that includes an enhanced object model, a more robust, modular design, and improved performance. Also included in this release are WebMenus and WebBars for ASP.NET, which add new C1WebTreeView and C1WebTabStrip components and functionality not available in the box with Visual Studio 2005. Pricing for ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2005 3.0 starts at $599.95. For more information, contact ComponentOne at 800-858-2739, 412-681-4343, or [email protected]

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