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May 26, 2005

1. Perspectives

  • Ramp Up Your Data-Mining Skills
  • 2. News & Views

  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: SQL Server 2000 SP4
  • New Instant Poll: Business Intelligence
  • 3. Events and Resources

  • Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe
  • Successful Help Desk: Working With Internal Customers
  • Safeguard Your Exchange Servers--Plus Receive a Free eBook
  • Here's Your Chance To Earn $100!
  • 4. Featured White Paper

  • Test Your Security Configuration
  • 5. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Executing Queries on Remote Servers
  • Hot Article: Better Together
  • In a Nutshell: More XML, CLR, XPath, and XQuery Resources
  • Hot Threads
  • 6. Announcements

  • SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, & Forums
  • SQL Server Magazine Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers!
  • 7. New & Improved

  • Capture User Behavior
  • Learn Practical Database Theory
  • Sponsor: Free Performance Monitor for SQL Server from Idera Do you know what's happening on your SQL Server right now? Do you know if it's running at optimum performance? Find out now! Get Idera's SQLcheck for real-time performance monitoring of your SQL Server, hardware and operating system. Run it on demand or as a secure screensaver. In seconds, you'll have critical diagnostic information at your fingertips. Start managing SQL Server more effectively today. Download Idera's SQLcheck now!
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF72:7B3DB

    1. Perspectives


  • Ramp Up Your Data-Mining Skills

  •     by Brian Moran, brian@sqlmag.com

    Have you ever thought about what data mining can do for you? My data-mining expertise is limited to spelling the words (and that would be at risk without a spell checker ). I've read SQL Server Books Online (BOL), done a few demonstrations, perused a few Web sites, but have never done an end-to-end data-mining implementation. Data mining sounds cool, but I'm not sure what to do with it. I'm sure most of you feel the same way. So, what is data mining and how does it compare to traditional business intelligence?

    Business intelligence basically means OLAP in today's market. I see OLAP as a presentation and data-aggregation technique that lets me visualize and interact with my data in ways that traditional SQL reporting environments often can't match. But I still need to know what questions to ask to make OLAP effective. A great OLAP tool connected to a world-class OLAP cube lets me browse my data in fascinating ways, but it doesn't magically find my data's interesting highlights for me. In my mind, the treasure of data mining is the ability to do just that. Data mining should automatically tell me what's interesting and important about the data so that I can make better decisions. Data mining should help me sift through the data and find the interesting highlights in the first place. OLAP can help me look at the interesting data once I've found it. Data-mining connoisseurs will probably pick that explanation apart, but it's how I categorize the two topics.

    Sounds great! Where do I sign up? Unfortunately, data mining is more often fiction than fact as far as most users of real business systems are concerned. Data-mining technology in today's market simply tends to be too hard and or expensive to use. Most serious data-mining environments require a firm foundation in advanced statistical techniques just to make heads or tails of what the applications are doing.

    SQL Server 2000 ships with data-mining capabilities, but most of my customers haven't done much with it. The current product isn't feature-rich enough. The new-and-improved data-mining capabilities in SQL Server 2005 might be the first time that data-mining technology from Microsoft will begin to see mass-market adoption and will be practical for many business to use. Time will tell, but now might be the time to start familiarizing yourself with data mining. I recommend starting with Douglas McDowell's commentary "Data Mining in SQL Server 2005" at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF6E:7B3DB .

    Another great resource for ramping up on data-mining skills is http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF77:7B3DB . People from Microsoft directly associated with the data-mining research and development team launched and run this site. You can sign up for a monthly newsletter and the site offers a ton of great content, including demos, white papers, FAQs, links to other sites, and newsgroups. Why isn't this information at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF7D:7B3DB if Microsoft people run it? Beats me. Sometimes the legal team at Microsoft can make it prohibitively difficult to publish content without spending months and months in review. That might be the reason for a separate site. In any case, it's a great resource--straight from the folks writing the product-that you won't want to miss out on.


    Find & Fix Bad SQL with Quest Software
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        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF6D:7B3DB


    2. News & Views


  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: SQL Server 2000 SP4

  • "Have you deployed SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4)?" Here are the results from the 135 votes:

  • 20%   Yes
  • 65%   No, but I plan to
  • 15%   No, and I don't plan to
  • New Instant Poll: Business Intelligence
  • "Which SQL Server business intelligence (BI) tools are you using?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF80:7B3DB ) and submit your vote for
  • OLAP
  • Reporting Services
  • Data Mining
  • More than one of the above
  • None of the above
  • 3. Events and Resources


  • Get Ready for SQL Server 2005 Roadshow in Europe

  • 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 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF69:7B3DB

  • Successful Help Desk: Working With Internal Customers

  • Course for IT HelpDesk professionals 6/7-- enroll now!
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF81:7B3DB

  • Safeguard Your Exchange Servers--Plus Receive a Free eBook

  • Managing storage growth, providing application resiliency, and handling small errors and problems before they grow are all important aspects of boosting your Exchange Server uptime. In this free Web seminar, discover how storage and application management techniques for Exchange can be used to improve the resiliency and performance of your Exchange infrastructure. Register now and get a free eBook!
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF66:7B3DB

  • Here's Your Chance To Earn $100!

  • If you're going to TechEd 2005, we want you! Now's the time to tell us what you think--click here to see if you qualify to participate in this exclusive focus group opportunity.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF70:7B3DB

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

  •     http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF79:7B3DB


    4. Featured White Paper


  • Test Your Security Configuration

  • Today, vulnerability-scanning hackers, Internet-traveling worms, and roving bots are common. You should conduct regular vulnerability and penetration testing audits to validate your security policy. In this free white paper, learn how to identify and fix vulnerabilities, discover and use vulnerability assessment tools, evaluate your security investment, and more. Download your free copy now!
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF5F:7B3DB


    5. Peer to Peer


    Hot Tip: Executing Queries on Remote Servers
    by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team, questions@sqlmag.com

    Q. I have two servers, and I want to call a stored procedure with the server name as the parameter and have the stored procedure's T-SQL query run against the appropriate server. How do I execute the procedure's T-SQL query on the correct server by using the server parameter (the ## part of the object name) and without converting the T-SQL code to a string or using an EXECUTE statement? Does SQL Server provide an object for server name that I can use in place of the server's name? Or can I map @prmServer to an alias such as TempServer, then run my T-SQL code?

  • Read the full tip today at

  •     http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF6A:7B3DB

  • Hot Article: Better Together

  • SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 are designed to work together. In his June focus article "Better Together," Bill Sheldon teaches you how to start developing applications now that will take advantage of the teamwork of these new products. Read this article today at
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF68:7B3DB

  • In a Nutshell: More XML, CLR, XPath, and XQuery Resources

  • The Microsoft SQL Server Development team's white paper "Processing XML Showplans Using SQLCLR in SQL Server 2005," on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) showcases combinations of several new SQL Server 2005 features providing an innovative means of catching expensive queries before they're executed. The features covered in the white paper are: XML showplan, Common Language Runtime (CLR) stored procedures, XPath, and XQuery. Kevin is still on the fence about whether I like the CLR overall. There are some cases in which the CLR is undoubtedly more effective than T-SQL. Once you've learned how to use them to your advantage, you might appreciate the CLR and XML enhancements. You can read the white paper today athttp://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF67:7B3DB . Let Kevin know what you thought of the white paper today at
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF6C:7B3DB

    Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF73:7B3DB

    Administration: Recover From Data and Log Files
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF64:7B3DB
    T-SQL: Help With Optimizing an UPDATE Statement
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF65:7B3DB
    Performance: Urgent Performance Monitor Problem
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF60:7B3DB
    OLAP/Data Warehousing: Changing Data Source in Pivot Table
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF61:7B3DB
    Replication: Log Shipping File Fails to Copy to Secondary
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF63:7B3DB
    General Discussion: Cleaning Up Transaction Log From Previously Replicated Database
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF62:7B3DB

    Hot Spot


    Tableau Software
    Tableau is Business Intelligence software that helps people visually query and interpret the information in databases. We call this process "visual analysis." It enables users to transform raw data into smart decisions using a drag and drop process that creates vivid, interactive visualizations.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF7A:7B3DB

    6. Announcements


    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 questions in our forum. All from the SQL Server performance and clustering authority: SQL-Server-Performance.com.
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF76:7B3DB

    SQL Server Magazine Monthly Online Pass = Quick Answers!
    Sign up today for your Monthly Online Pass and get 24/7 online access to the entire SQL Server Magazine article database, including exclusive subscriber-only content. That's a database of over 2300 SQL Server articles to help you get all the answers you need, when you need them. Sign up now for just $5.95 per month:
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF6B:7B3DB

    7. New & Improved


        by Dawn Cyr, products@sqlmag.com

    Praise a Product, Get a T-Shirt!
    Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Tell us about it! If we print your story in the Hands On department, we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your product success story to handson@sqlmag.com.

    Capture User Behavior
    IPLocks announced IPLocks Information Risk Management Platform 5.0, an enterprise information-risk-management solution. The platform detects vulnerabilities and suspicious changes to your data and automatically sends alerts, reducing the time and resources needed to manage risks. Designed for high-volume environments, IPLocks provides a non-intrusive, heterogeneous database-monitoring, assessment, audit-analysis, and reporting platform that addresses all key database security layers and helps you ensure data security, confidentiality, integrity, and availability for regulatory compliance. The software automates risk management by protecting against abused valid user permissions, automating database vulnerability assessments, proactively monitoring for inappropriate READ, SELECT, and WRITE statements, and auditing negligent and malicious user behavior. New features in IPLocks 5.0 include a high-speed data collector, which helps organizations understand what user activities occur by capturing full SQL statements that define the user activity and pinpoint when the activity took place. The new release also features a command-line interface that lets administrators use an external program or scheduler to create, schedule, and scan databases, automating large deployments of the IPLocks platform. For more information, contact IPLocks at 408-383-1037 or info@iplocks.com.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF7F:7B3DB

    Learn Practical Database Theory
    O'Reilly announced "Database in Depth," a book by Chris Date, who was a colleague of E. F. Codd and is a pioneer of database technology. In "Database in Depth," Date writes for experienced database practitioners or other database professionals who "are honest enough to admit they don't understand the theory underlying their own field as well as they might, or should." The fundamental ideas of the theory are simple, according to Date, but they're also frequently misrepresented or underappreciated. To underscore this point, Date dispels many commonly held misconceptions about the relational model, explaining that the term "relational" has nothing to do with relating two tables on a common set of columns; relations are multidimensional, not flat or two-dimensional; nulls aren't values, even though the SQL standard calls them so; attributes of a relation can contain values of arbitrary complexity, including such things as arrays, XML documents, and even other relations; base relations don't necessarily have to be physically stored; and SQL isn't a set-oriented language, but rather bag-oriented. An advanced text, the book puts forth the premise that relational theory isn't theory for its own sake; the purpose of theory is to let people build systems that are 100 percent practical. "Database in Depth" is 208 pages long and costs $29.95. For more information, contact O'Reilly at 800-998-9938 or 707-827-7000.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=AF7E:7B3DB

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