Windows & .NET Magazine UPDATE-- Microsoft Ships SQL Server 2005 Beta 2--July 27, 2004

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1. Commentary: Microsoft Ships SQL Server 2005 Beta 2

2. Hot Off the Press
- Microsoft Launches Web Messenger Beta

3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT
- A First Look at Windows Firewall

4. Resource
- Tip: How can I start the local Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from the command line?

5. New and Improved
- Find and Fix Registry Problems
- Simultaneously Control 32 Systems
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Microsoft Ships SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 ====
by Paul Thurrott, News Editor, [email protected]

And you thought it would never happen: On Monday, Microsoft issued its long-awaited beta 2 release of Microsoft SQL Server 2005, the linchpin of the company's Yukon wave of products. SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 is available now to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Universal, Professional, and Enterprise subscribers. The big news with this release is the number of new features Microsoft has added since beta 1.

First, Microsoft has verified that SQL Server 2005 will ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit variants, as Microsoft Senior Vice President of the Windows Server Division Bob Muglia noted in a meeting earlier this year. "We'll have a native 64-bit SQL Server when the new version \[SQL Server 2005\] ships next year," Muglia said. The company will release separate 64-bit versions for AMD64 and Intel's Extended Memory 64 Technology (EM64T)-based platforms and for Intel's sagging Itanium.

The big news here is Microsoft's continued support for AMD64. With this release, Microsoft is touting SQL Server 2005's compatibility with the Direct Connect Architecture that AMD created for its AMD Opteron processor. This technology helps address some of the performance bottlenecks in modern computers by connecting memory and I/O directly to the CPU and by supporting more linear symmetrical processing on multiprocessor systems (currently, 4-way Opteron-based servers are widely available, and 8-way servers are in the works). Furthermore, in multiprocessor Opteron systems, each CPU can have its own dedicated memory. In other words, AMD, once an also-ran in the processor space, is suddenly in the pole position. It's been an amazing turn around for the company.

But back to SQL Server 2005. In beta 2, Microsoft debuts its new SQL Server Management Studio, an integrated management console that replaces the previously separate SQL Server Enterprise Manager, SQL Server Query Analyzer, and SQL Server Analysis Manager, while adding new support for SQL Server Reporting Services, SQL Server Notification Services, XML, and SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition. According to Microsoft, this integrated console will make SQL Server easier to manage.

SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 features many Data Transformation Services (DTS) improvements as well. This functionality lets database administrators programmatically transfer data back and forth between SQL Server and other data sources. In SQL Server 2005, DTS is more scalable, manageable, and reliable thanks to new enterprise-level extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) capabilities, and it's now compatible with data obtained via Web services and XML.

Also new in beta 2 is a set of improvements to data mining, including a new neural network algorithm, a text-mining feature, Data Mining and Exploration (DMX) query enhancements, and Reporting Services integration. According to Microsoft, the first two features let administrators tackle analytical problems containing nonlinear relationships and unstructured data. The latter two features let developers apply models against data from new types of data sources.

On the programmability side, SQL Server 2005 will, naturally, be integrated with Visual Studio (VS) 2005, another core part of the Yukon wave. In beta 2, Microsoft supports cross-language debugging--remember, T-SQL is no longer the only native language in SQL Server 2005. Microsoft is also creating a new version of SQL Server aimed at developers. Dubbed SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, this product will be free and replaces the Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE). On a related note, another new edition, SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition, will target Tablet PCs, Pocket PC-based PDAs, and Windows powered smart phones; this version replaces SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition (SQL Server CE).

SQL Server 2005 also includes a slew of previously announced functionality. The product ships with a default configuration that's "secure by default," thanks to its public key infrastructure (PKI)-supported data encryption. Microsoft is also pursuing the government's Common Criteria (CC) certification for SQL Server and will ship the product with a tool that advises customers about setup and configuration best practices.

If you're not an MSDN customer and you're wondering how you can get SQL Server 2005, I've been told that a beta 3 release will be publicly available. The beta version of SQL Server Express 2005, however, is available now from the Microsoft Web site.

Microsoft Ships Office 2003 SP1

And speaking of product updates, you might want to evaluate the Service Pack 1 (SP1) release of Microsoft Office 2003 and OneNote 2003, the latter of which represents a major upgrade over the initial version. For more information about these releases, please refer to the WinInfo Daily UPDATE Web site:


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==== 2. Hot Off the Press ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Launches Web Messenger Beta
Microsoft is beta testing a Web-based MSN Messenger client that will let its hundreds of millions of users talk online with friends in real time by using only a Web browser. Microsoft created the client because certain companies block Instant Messaging (IM) traffic or lock down software installations on corporate PCs and because many users want to chat when they're away from their highly configured PCs. The MSN Web Messenger client will work from any shared computer, Microsoft says, whether it's at school, work, a friend's house, or anywhere else users can't install the MSN Messenger software. To read the complete story, visit the following URL:

==== 3. Keeping Up with Win2K and NT ====
by Paula Sharick, [email protected]

A First Look at Windows Firewall
After plowing through more than 200 pages of documentation about the extensive changes in Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), I wasn't optimistic about testing the XP SP2 beta. With the introduction of a real firewall; security controls for Distributed COM (DCOM), remote procedure call (RPC), and WWW Distributed Authoring and Versioning (WebDAV) operations; secure wireless networking; the ability to kill pop-ups; and hands-on management of Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) plug-ins, SP2 has more in common with a new OS than a service pack with bug fixes. The upgrade also changes the open access paradigm to limited or no access, which in theory can wreak havoc with network connectivity and server-based operations. To read the rest of the article, visit the following URL:

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==== Instant Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: Switching to Another Web Browser
The voting has closed in Windows & .NET Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Is your organization considering moving from Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) to another Web browser?" Here are the results from the 420 votes:
- 19% We've already moved to another Web browser
- 22% Yes, we're considering moving to another Web browser
- 60% No, we'll stick with IE

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Instant Poll: Network Security
The next Instant Poll question is, "Do you think that your organization's network is more secure or less secure than it was a year ago?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine home page and submit your vote for a) More secure, b) Less secure, c) I don't know.

==== 4. Resource ====

Tip: How can I start the local Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from the command line?
by John Savill,

To start the local Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in from the command line on a Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 Server system, enter the command

control userpasswords

To start the snap-in from the command line on a Windows XP Professional Edition system, enter the command

control userpasswords2

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==== 5. New and Improved ====
by Angie Brew, [email protected]

Find and Fix Registry Problems
Elcor Software released Advanced Registry Doctor Pro 3.0, software that scans for, diagnoses, and fixes registry problems and improves computer performance speed. The product features registry defragmenting, a built-in scheduler, backup and restore capabilities, a history log, and a registry toolkit. Advanced Registry Doctor can find and repair invalid shortcuts. The product also is available in a lite version, which doesn't have defragmentation features. Advanced Registry Doctor Pro 3.0 costs $24.95, and Advanced Registry Doctor Lite costs $19.95. Contact Elcor Software at [email protected]

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