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October 6, 2005
2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
3. News & Views
4. Events and Resources
5. Featured White Paper
6. Peer to Peer
8. New & Improved
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by Brian Moran, [email protected]
SQL Server 2005 Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) might not be as important to humankind as the invention of the wheel or the taming of fire, but in the life of a SQL Server professional, they'll probably rank pretty high on the scale of significant advancements. I've been excited about DMVs since I first learned about them a few years ago. At face value, DMVs might seem to be nothing more than a new-and-improved version of system tables--and who can get too excited about system tables? But during last week's Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit, I attended some really cool Microsoft presentations that helped me have a much better appreciation for the effect DMVs will have on my ability to support, manage, tune, and otherwise interact with SQL Server.
DMVs essentially make your server more transparent. SQL Server 2000 and earlier editions don't make it easy to solve important tuning, troubleshooting, and supportability problems. As a consultant, I think that's wonderful, so I have mixed feelings about DMVs.
I always knew that DMVs would eventually be a huge leap forward in solving practical problems, but I honestly thought the initial DMV model would be sorely lacking in real-world practicality. No offense to product development teams at Microsoft and elsewhere, but sometimes it can be easy to build something really cool but that doesn't necessarily solve a problem for a front-line DBA in the field.
However, I was pleasantly surprised that Microsoft has made DMVs quite practical. I'm a performance-tuning geek at heart, so that's the DMV use I explored most at PASS. I was pleased with what I saw. I suspect that Microsoft did such a good job of hitting the target because it relied on input from two teams--Microsoft Product Support Services (PSS) and the SQL Server Customer Advisory Team--that truly understand the most pressing real-world problems that high-end customers face. Most people are familiar with PSS and its role in solving customer problems, but many customers have never heard of the SQL Server Customer Advisory Team. This team works to solve the biggest-of-the-big and hardest-of-the-hard SQL Server problems around the world. I know some of the smartest SQL Server people in the world, and every member of the SQL Customer Advisory Team is on that short list.
PSS, the SQL Server Customer Advisory Team, and the SQL Server development team have done a great job of making DMVs practical instead of just cool. Think about how hard it is to figure out what indexes SQL Server isn't using; it's really hard in SQL Server 2000. But it's really easy with SQL Server 2005 DMVs. Are you interested in knowing the aggregate cost of a query, the affect of parallelization versus serialized query plans, or the cost of query compilations? Answering those questions is really hard today and really easy in SQL Server 2005 because of DMVs and supporting technology in SQL Server 2005.
I could go on and on--and I probably will because I plan to make understanding DMVs inside and out one of my core specialties. For now, I'll simply paraphrase a quote from SQL Server Customer Advisor Team member Tom Davidson. In one of his PASS Summit presentations, Davidson summarized the possibilities of DMVs by saying, "Transparent servers are a reality in SQL Server 2005." I couldn't agree more. With DMVs, it's surprisingly easy to see what's really happening inside SQL Server 2005, and this visibility greatly improves supportability, manageability, and tenability. Although I understand that many of the DMVs won't be documented until RTM, all of them are included in the September CTP. So do yourself a favor and dive into the new DMV model.
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2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
Microsoft Provides SQL Server 2005 Learning Opportunities
As part of its ongoing educational efforts for SQL Server 2005, Microsoft has created a special Web site, Microsoft SQL Server TechCenter, where you can find SQL Server 2005-related articles, Webcasts, Virtual Labs, and e-learning courses. Each month, the site's landing page features information about a particular SQL Server 2005 topic. The October theme, Mission Critical High Availability, highlights the new SQL Server 2005 database-engine technologies that are designed to reduce planned and unplanned downtime, provide solutions for disaster recovery, and provide greater system availability to database users. To learn how SQL Server 2005 can help you improve the availability and reliability of your database solutions, visit the SQL Server TechCenter at
Sponsor: Quest Software--Quest Central for SQL Server
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3. News & Views
BIDS Can Regenerate a Duplicate SSIS Package ID
When you create a package in SQL Server 2005 Integration Services, SSIS generates a 16-byte GUID and stores it as the package's PackageID property. After you run the package, you can write the package ID to a log file by using the SSIS log provider. This package ID differentiates log entries for different packages. However, you might encounter some confusing package behavior. For example, when an SSIS package is copied in a file system, the new copy might contain the same package ID as the original SSIS package. You might be able to successfully run the package that has the same package ID. However, you can't differentiate the two packages by using the logging data because the package IDs are the same. To learn how to regenerate a new package ID for each package, read the Microsoft article "How to use SQL Server Business Intelligence Development Studio or the dtutil utility to regenerate the package ID of an SSIS package that was duplicated" at
Results of Previous Instant Poll: User Groups
"What user group are you a member of?" Here are the results from the 46 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):
New Instant Poll: DBA Activities
"How much time do you spend on DBA activities?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=3D1:7B3DA ) and submit your vote for
4. Events and Resources
In this free half-day event, you'll learn how the top new features of SQL Server 2005 will help you create and manage large-scale, mission-critical enterprise database applications and make your job easier. Find out how to leverage SQL Server 2005's new capabilities to best support your business initiatives. Register today!
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the future of telecommunications, and many companies are already enjoying the benefits of transporting VoIP networks to significantly reduce telephone and facsimile costs. Join industry expert David Chernicoff for this free Web seminar to learn the ins and outs of boardless fax in IP environments, tips for rolling out fax and integrating fax with telephony technologies, and more!
Back By Popular Demand--Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005! SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now.
See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.
5. Featured White Paper
In this free white paper, you'll get the tools you need to provide a scalable, highly available CIFS file service. You can use inexpensive, industry-standard servers that you can add to incrementally as demands require while retaining the management simplicity of a single server and a single pool of exported file systems.
6. Peer to Peer
by Carl Rabeler, [email protected]
Do ADO MD.NET and XMLA clients communicate differently with a SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services instance than with a SQL Server 2005 Analysis Service instance?
Read the answer to this question today at
SQL Server 2005 introduces two enhancements to the TOP clause. You can specify an expression as an input to the TOP keyword, and you can also use TOP in modification statements (INSERT, UPDATE, and DELETE). In his September T-SQL 2005 column, Itzik Ben-Gan looks at sample uses of these enhancements. Read this article today and post your comments at
The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) saw record attendance at its 2005 Summit, and Kevin Kline had to defeat the butterflies in his stomach to introduce the keynote speaker, Microsoft Group Program Manager for Business Intelligence Bill Baker. Kevin details the keynote's highlights in this week's blog "PASS Summitt 2005: Day 3 for Me, Day 1 of Conference." Get a link to streaming video of the speech, and tell Kevin what you think today at
Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
SQL Server General Discussion: Linked Server Issues
Administration: SP4 Backout Plan
T-SQL: My Stored Procedure Returns Repeated Records
Performance: Race Conditions and Configuration Options
Security: Authentication Mode Switched from SQL Server to Windows Security
Development: Pattern Matching
SQL Server Magazine readers honor sqlSentry as the Best Job Automation and Scheduling Tool and the Best Alerting/Notification Software. Try it now and see how you can significantly reduce the time spent on daily operational tasks. See why Brian Knight, SQL Server MVP says, "You'll never know how you lived without sqlSentry."
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8. New & Improved
by Dawn Cyr, [email protected]
Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Tell us how your favorite product solved a SQL Server problem for you, and if we print your submission in the magazine's Hands On department we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your email today to [email protected].com!
SoftTree Technologies announced DB Audit Expert 2.7, a complete set of auditing solutions for SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, and Sybase database environments. The solutions provide complete access control and realtime actionable information that you need for effective enterprise security operations and IT governance requirements. You implement the solutions on the database back-end, thus eliminating backdoor access to the database. Then, the solutions let database and system administrators, security administrators, auditors, and operators track and analyze database activity, including data creation, change, or deletion. The latest release of the software provides transparent system-level and data-change auditing of existing applications without requiring application changes. In addition, the new release includes several new tools for database penetration testing, vulnerability assessment, and security auditing in heterogeneous environments. And the product's enterprise edition includes a new Alert Center, which automates checking of database audit-trail records. Pricing for DB Audit Expert 2.7 starts at $299 per server, and the new release is offered as a free upgrade to existing customers For more information, contact SoftTree Technologies at 800-289-9256 or [email protected]
Application Security announced AppDetective 5.2, a database vulnerability-assessment scanner that includes new distributed-management and granular security-change auditing capabilities. The AppDetective Distributed System comprises two main components, the Distribution manager and the Remote Engines, which work together to let you standardize and centralize reporting and analysis. In addition, the product's Security Change Auditing tracks and analyzes all database modifications. The latest release of the product lets you centrally track and log the precise location of database changes and triggers alerts in the event of a security breach. You can use the product to centrally manage patch levels of all databases. And the product lets you ensure database integrity by validating planned changes and tracking and reporting unintended or unauthorized changes. A free evaluation version of AppDetective 5.2 is available for download. For more information, contact Application Security at 866-927-7732 or [email protected]
Mike Murach and Associates announced "Murach's ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader's Guide: VB Edition," a book that focuses on the practical aspects of upgrading to the new features of ASP.NET 2.0. Written for experienced developers, the book gives examples of how and when to apply the new ASP.NET features in everyday Web applications. Chapters cover key features such as SQL Server, Microsoft Access, and XML data sources; the GridView, DetailView, and FormView controls; object data sources that allow binding to custom business objects; login and site navigation controls; profiles; the MultiView and Wizard controls; themes; Web parts for building portals; and tools for configuring and deploying new applications. "Murach's ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader's Guide: VB Edition" costs $39.50, and a free sample chapter is available at the publisher's Web site. For more information or to buy the book or its predecessor, "Murach's ASP.NET 2.0 Upgrader's Guide: C# Edition," contact Murach and Associates at 800-221-5528 or [email protected]
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