SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, October 5, 2006--SQLCLR: The Barbarian at the Gate

SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, October 5, 2006--SQLCLR: The Barbarian at the Gate

In This Issue:
Does the SQLCLR give devious barbarian developers a way to overrun our relational database strongholds? We don’t know yet because few customers are using the SQLCLR. Why?

Solve your database interoperability problems! Two inexpensive, single-day events are coming to you this month! Check out the Managing Your Cross Platform Data roadshow and the TechX World show to get real solutions that help your Oracle and SQL Server databases work together.

New Instant Poll: Keeping the SQLCLR Closed for Business
"Why have you chosen NOT to implement the SQLCLR?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://www.sqlmag.com ) and submit your vote for:

  • I don’t know enough about CLR executables to expose the SQLCLR to my developers.
  • My developers don’t know enough about CLR executables to use them wisely or appropriately.
  • Too many of the operations my developers want to perform require “UNSAFE” mode.
  • I heard that it’s easy to turn on (enable), but tough to turn off (at least once developers start using it).
  • I’m concerned that the cost/benefit ratio is too high—CLR executables might cost more to develop and support than they’re worth.
  • I don’t have any extended stored procedures, so I don’t have any obvious candidates for conversion to CLR executables.

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October 5, 2006

1. Perspectives

  • SQLCLR: The Barbarian at the Gate

2. SQL Server Watch

  • TechX World Covers Four Key Interoperability Topics/li>
  • Roadshow Session Compares Data Mirroring Scenarios for Oracle and SQL Server

  • Product Watch: Lumigent Technologies and Decision Support Panel

3. Hot Articles

  • Q&A: Accessing Web Services in SQL Server 2005/li>
  • Feature: Build a Simple ETL System with SSIS
  • Puzzled by T-SQL: SQL Hike
  • In a Nutshell: Cross Platform Database Roadshows
  • This Month’s Theme: High Availability: Running SQL Server in a VM
  • Hot Threads: Administration and SQL Server 2005 General Discussion

4. Events and Resources

  • Windows Protection
  • Uncover Essential Windows Knowledge Through Excavator
  • Achieve Your Database High-Availability Goals
  • Learn SQL Server and Oracle Database Mirroring, BI, 64-Bit Databases, and High-Availability

5. Featured White Paper

  • Defend Against Inappropriate Content

6. Announcements

  • Monthly Online Pass—only $5.95 per month!
  • Save $40 On Windows IT Pro

7. Web Community

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1. Perspectives

SQLCLR: The Barbarian at the Gate
by Brian Moran, [email protected]

Readers who live in the United States are probably familiar with a long-running series of Capital One Services commercials in which a horde of barbarians gleefully prepare to pillage an unsuspecting consumer’s finances. But then, the consumer pulls out a Capital One card. The barbarians are defeated and the consumer goes on with life, blissfully unaware of his or her close call with the apocalypse. Lately, that commercial makes me think of the SQLCLR.

Years before the release of SQL Server 2005, the general consensus among SQL Server experts and pundits alike was that the SQLCLR had the potential to rain doom and destruction of epic proportions upon the unsuspecting heads of the world’s DBAs and their carefully maintained relational databases. Presumably, the sanctity of the world’s SQL Server databases had long been protected by these DBAs in shining armor who successfully kept the hordes of barbarian developers from overrunning their relational database strongholds. Needless to say, any self-respecting DBA knows that a barbarian developer must never be allowed to run amok within the core relational engine. Anarchy would surely result. Sure, a few moderately enlightened developers might be able to figure out how to write stored procedures, but the saintly DBA would always have the ability to fix code that didn’t meet the company’s high performance standards.

Egads! Might the SQLCLR provide those devious barbarian developers an effective way to ford our relational moats, destroying the peace and tranquility of our relational villages and subjecting our kinfolk to a life of servitude under the draconian rule of illiterates unable to chant the key tenets of relational theory?

Fast forward. It’s almost a year since the release of SQL Server 2005. Harmony still exists. In fact, I don’t see many customers using the SQLCLR at all. Perhaps those barbarian developers are more cunning than the noble DBA gave them credit for? Perhaps they’re biding their time, hoping that the DBA will grow complacent and say, “Sure, we can turn on the SQLCLR.”

Okay, arguably, the danger is real. The SQLCLR does have the potential to be used poorly. But I’m still a bit surprised by the low number of customers who seem to be dabbling with it. We had a SQL Server Magazine editor’s conference call the other day, and I raised the topic to make sure I wasn’t all wet in wondering about this apparent slow adoption. Most of my colleagues confirmed my observation, and most of us thought that the fact that the SQLCLR doesn’t seem be getting much use might be a good thing. But in some circumstances, the SQLCLR would be a wonderful tool. (No, I’m not going to tell you what it’s good for this week. Writing a weekly editorial is pretty hard, and I need to save something interesting to write about in upcoming weeks.)

I’m glad the SQLCLR isn’t being used poorly, but I wonder why it’s not being used for good. Perhaps you, our faithful readers, know the answer. Please share your stories about why you are or aren’t using the SQLCLR and your opinions about why it doesn’t seem to be getting more use in the SQL community. And yes, your responses will give me interesting fodder for yet another weekly editorial, so I’m coming out way ahead in my writing schedule this week!

Send your thoughts to me at [email protected]

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2. SQL Server Watch

TechX World Covers Four Key Interoperability Topics
Are your interoperability problems taking over your life? Check out TechX World, an OS-agnostic event designed to give you insider tips on coping with your “Windows Plus” world. Designed by people who understand that the world you live in never fits the textbook IT infrastructure, TechX is for IT professionals who work in a “Windows Plus” environment.

This four-track, one-day event features information about OS interoperability, data interoperability, directory and security integration, and virtualization. The content will focus on interoperability tips to help make disparate systems work well together and will be presented by technical experts Michael Otey, Gil Kirkpatrick, Dustin Puryear, and Randy Dyess.

Between October 24 and November 2, the regional event series will visit four cities: Washington, DC; Chicago; Dallas; and San Francisco. At $129 per person for four tracks and a full day of learning, it’s worth sending your entire team to make sure you cover all the sessions. For complete agenda and speaker details, go to http://www.techxworld.com.

Roadshow Session Compares Data Mirroring Scenarios for Oracle and SQL Server
Oracle and SQL Server DBAs looking for the optimal high-availability solutions will get a crash course in failover clustering, database mirroring, and transactional replication from Scalability Experts at the "Managing Your Cross-Platform Data" roadshow coming to San Francisco next Tuesday, October 10. Sponsored by Oracle Magazine, Windows IT Pro, HP, Intel, and Microsoft, the show features information about the Windows 64-bit platform for database computing, an under-the-hood tour of Oracle and SQL Server, an overview of deploying highly available Oracle and SQL Server databases, guidelines for using SQL Server business intelligence on the Oracle platform (presented by Douglas McDowell of Solid Quality Learning), and a research-based session about how IT professionals can prepare for the changing database job market.

This coming Tuesday, October 10, the roadshow visits San Francisco. There’s still time to get in, so sign up today! Between now and October 24, you can also catch the roadshow in Phoenix; New York; Atlanta; and Seattle. For complete agenda and speaker information, go to: http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqloracle/.

Product Watch
by Blake Eno, [email protected]

Cut Costs for IT Auditing and Compliance
Lumigent Technologies announced Lumigent Audit DB 5.5, a security solution that reduces the time required for compliance and IT audit preparation. Audit DB features new policy and reporting capabilities that let you streamline control processes, easily prove compliance, and tailor audit results for individual users. Audit DB features push-button delivery and reports that classify events and audit conditions by severity. Audit DB's Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Section 404 reporting pack tracks financial data access, data use, historical perspective, and suspicious activities. For more information, contact Lumigent at 978-206-3700 or 866-586-4436 or http://www.lumigent.com.

Integrate BI Into SharePoint Environments
Decision Support Panel (DSP) International announced DSP Portal Edition 4.3, a business intelligence (BI) solution that creates portals, dashboards, and scorecards in Microsoft SharePoint environments by using SQL Server data. DSP's wizard-driven technology lets you create and customize dashboards and scorecards without programming. DSP Web Parts integrates with the Microsoft Business Scorecard Manager as an additional report view type. New functionality such as Table Symbols facilitates communication and business decision making by letting you visualize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). For more information, contact DSP at 703-286-6459 or http://www.dspanel.com.

Sponsor: PolyServe
Special Report: Perspectives on SQL Server Sprawl

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3. Hot Articles

Q&A: Accessing Web Services in SQL Server 2005
by Microsoft’s SQL Server Development Team, [email protected]


Q: Why can’t you natively access Web services in SQL Server 2005? You can access Web services in a CLR procedure and call them in SQL Server 2005. If the XML HTTP supports 2-way Web-service access, why doesn’t Microsoft provide the same 2-way communication for SQL Server 2005? I suspect Microsoft left this feature out as a security precaution, but if I need to get around this problem, I can get the XML and form the Web services connection on my own by using a managed procedure. If I need to implement Web services without using a managed procedure, what’s the best approach?

A: Read the answer to this question today.


Feature: Build a Simple ETL System with SSIS
How do you use SSIS to build an ETL system to populate a data warehouse? Here's your primer on basic package design and construction. Read this article today and post your comments at http://www.sqlmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/93114/93114.html.

Puzzled by T-SQL: SQL Hike
In this week’s blog, Itzik shares highlights of his hike along the Pacific Crest Trail. Check out the gorgeous scenery and post your comments today at http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/93607/93607.html.

In a Nutshell: Cross Platform Database Roadshows
In this week’s blog, Kevin Kline talks about working with both Oracle and SQL Server and gives you a link to a great, inexpensive resource for learning to make the two platforms work together better. Read the blog and post your comments today at http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/93716/93716.html.

This Month's Theme: High Availability: Running SQL Server in a VM
by Michael Otey

Get five tips for maximizing SQL Server performance in a virtual machine. Read this article today at http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/46018/Running_SQL_Server_in_a_VM.html.

To learn more about virtualization in a heterogeneous environment, check out TechX World at http://www.techxworld.com. And to learn more about consolidating your SQL Server infrastructure, download PolyServe’s free whitepaper at http://www.windowsitpro.com/whitepapers/polyserve/dataclustering/index.cfm?code=1005sqlupdate.

Hot Threads:

4. Events and Resources

Your business, like most today, relies upon its computing systems to store financial information, house proprietary data, and maintain communications channels. This increasing reliance also increases the dangers to your systems from security breaches, including viruses, spyware, spam, and hackers. Visit the Windows Protection Site at http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/protection for the latest tips on safeguarding your system.

Uncover Essential Windows Knowledge Through Excavator
Try out the ultimate vertical search tool—Windows Excavator. Windows Excavator gives you fast, thorough third-party information while filtering out unwanted content. Visit http://www.winexcavator.com today!

Achieve your database high-availability goals. Learn how Microsoft's Clustering Services can be used to improve SQL Server availability, and get guidelines for how clusters can assist with your disaster recovery strategy. Also learn to upgrade and manage your existing clusters. Register today for this free Web seminar! Live Event: October 19

Join experts Douglas McDowell from Solid Quality Learning and Andrew Sisson from Scalability Experts, as well as Intel insiders and other database professionals, to learn the latest about SQL Server and Oracle database mirroring, BI, 64-bit database computing, and high-availability. Coming to cities across the US in this fall. Visit http://www.windowsitpro.com/roadshows/sqloracle/?code=1004emailannc

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

5. Featured White Paper

Examine the threats of allowing unwanted or offensive content into your network and learn about technologies and methodologies for defending against inappropriate content, spyware, IM, and P2P.

Hot Spot: Neverfail
SQL Server Guide to Clustering Alternatives

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6. Announcements

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7. Web Community


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