SQL Server Magazine UPDATE—brought to you by SQL Server Magazine and SQL Server Magazine Connections


THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY

Quest Software, Inc.

Bring Business Intelligence To More Users Faster

Dig a Little Deeper


January 29, 2004—In this issue:

1. SQL SERVER PERSPECTIVES

  • Do-It-Yourself SQL Server Answers

2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS

  • Reporting Services Delivers BI
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Deploying Hotfixes
  • New Instant Poll: Jumping Into Reporting Services

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Get 2 Sample Issues of Windows & .NET Magazine!
  • Need a SQL Server Time-Saver?

4. RESOURCES

  • What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Improving Analysis Services Query Performance
  • Hot Thread: Slow Application Loses Connectivity
  • Tip: Tracking Extended Stored Procedures in Profiler

5. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Simplify XML Document Description
  • Develop and Manage Your Database from One Interface

6. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

Sponsor: Quest Software, Inc.

Is database contention affecting the performance of your SQL Server environment? Are you experiencing performance degradation in your SQL Server applications due to contention? With more concurrent users on the same system, you run the risk of being forced to wait for each other or reading inconsistent data due to in-progress changes. The trade-off between accuracy and throughput is critical; it can have a major impact on your SQL Server performance. Get a solid strategy to diagnose and correct SQL Server contention issues. Improve your overall system performance. Download the "SQL Server Contention: Diagnosing and Resolving Blocking Problems" white paper at:
http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BFEA0AK


1. SQL SERVER PERSPECTIVES

  • Do-It-Yourself SQL Server Answers

  • (by Brian Moran, brianm@sqlmag.com)

    SQL Server professionals are fortunate to have SQL Server Books Online (BOL) as a resource. BOL covers basic syntax, best practices, and implementation concepts, and provides a surprising amount of detailed internals and architectural information. A quick keyword search of BOL will often provide the answers to your SQL Server questions, and finding your own answer is the best way to learn. The information you retrieve for yourself will stick with you longer and be more valuable than information a colleague spoon-feeds you.

    Microsoft has released an update of BOL that includes the complete documentation that shipped with SQL Server 2000 plus revisions. The latest BOL edition is available at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=a6f79cb1-a420-445f-8a4b-bd77a7da194b&displaylang=en#filelist . The updated documentation includes corrections of documentation errors reported after the release of the last update, new and updated error messages, additions to BOL for SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) functionality, and suggestions that customers sent to Microsoft. Each BOL topic that contains new material has a tag at the top of the page that says, "Topic last updated-January 2004." Searching for that tag returns a list of 202 new or modified topics. The installation program lets you upgrade the SQL Server installation media's original version of BOL or install a separate standalone copy. Be aware that you can't have two standalone copies. BOL's installation program will detect the existing copy and give you the option of upgrading only the standalone copy, only the original version, or both. Being a SQL Server MVP means that I make the effort to answer as many questions on the public newsgroups as possible. There are no stupid questions, especially when they come from novices who are genuinely trying to improve their skills. I'll help anyone who asks—regardless of skill level—but I want to encourage you to help yourself whenever possible. Too often I provide support when a quick search of BOL using the obvious keywords would give the exact answer the user is looking for. Kudos to those of you who've already developed a taste for browsing BOL. To the rest of you, do yourself a favor and explore the rich resources BOL contains. Happy reading!

    Bring Business Intelligence To More Users Faster

    How effectively does your management make decisions? It's just a question of delivering the right information to the right people at the right time. But how do you bring business intelligence (BI) to the desktop of every decision-maker, when employees are scattered across multiple locations, time zones and even continents? It's simple-just combine flexible analytic tools like MIS Plain with the robust infrastructure and distribution mechanisms of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services. To learn how your company can bring BI to more users faster with MIS Plain, take a guided tour or download your free, thirty-day trial version.
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BFEB0AL


    2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS

  • Reporting Services Delivers BI

  • On Tuesday, Microsoft released SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services, a server-based platform for creating, managing, and delivering both traditional paper reports and interactive, Web-based reports. An integrated part of the Microsoft business intelligence (BI) framework, Reporting Services combines the data-management capabilities of SQL Server and Microsoft Windows Server with Microsoft Office System applications to deliver information to business decision makers.
    Reporting Services supports various data sources, including OLE DB and Open Database Connectivity (ODBC), as well as multiple output formats such as Web browsers and Office System applications. By using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework, developers can work with existing information systems and connect to custom data sources, produce additional output formats, and deliver information to a variety of devices. Report developers can publish reports to the Report Server by using Microsoft or third-party design tools that use the XML-based Report Definition Language (RDL). Reporting Services publishes and manages report definitions, folders, and resources as Web services, and the software supports both on-demand (pull) and event-based (push) delivery of reports.
    Microsoft is offering a 120-day evaluation edition of the software. For more information or to view a demonstration of the product, visit Microsoft's Reporting Services home page at
    http://www.microsoft.com/sql/reporting/default.asp

  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Deploying Hotfixes

  • The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's Instant Poll for the question, "How do you handle hotfix deployment?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 158 votes (deviations from 100 percent are due to a rounding error):
    • 15% We use Automatic Updates
    • 6% We roll out fixes the day they come out
    • 23% We roll out fixes within 1 week/LI>
    • 22% We roll out fixes within 1 month
    • 34% We roll out fixes more than 1 month after they come out

  • New Instant Poll: Jumping Into Reporting Services

  • The next Instant Poll question is "Do you plan to use SQL Server Reporting Services?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) Yes, we're already using it 2) Yes, but we're trying the evaluation edition first, 3) Maybe, but not right away, 4) No, we use another reporting method, or 5) No, we don't produce reports.
    http://www.sqlmag.com

    Dig a Little Deeper

    Discover SQL Server solutions. Delve into real-world success stories. Drill down into building highly available database servers. Go to the SQL Server Magazine Special Reports section online. Valuable tools are only a click away.
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BEkP0AC


    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS


    (brought to you by SQL Server Magazine and its partners)

  • Every issue of Windows & .NET Magazine includes intelligent, impartial, and independent coverage of security, Active Directory, Exchange Server, and more. Our expert authors deliver content you simply can't find anywhere else. Try two no-risk sample issues today, and find out why 100,000 IT professionals read Windows & .NET Magazine each month!
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BEuX0AU

  • Need a SQL Server Time-Saver?

  • SQL Server Magazine is a valuable treasury of SQL Server tools and content. As a subscriber, you'll receive 12 print issues and gain access to the entire online article archive, endless code listings, valuable tips and tricks, and more. Bonus—the System Table Map Poster and Subscriber Benefits Card. Subscribe today!
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BEph0Af

    4. RESOURCES

  • What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Improving Analysis Services Query Performance

  • When your analytical or statistical queries are simple or have pre-aggregations, Analysis Services makes your job easier. But when such queries become complex, Analysis Services can bog down. Optimizing Analysis Services with proper cube partitioning can greatly improve your query performance. In his February Focus article, "Improving Analysis Services Query Performance," Herts Chen gives you some cube-partitioning techniques to help you get your queries running effectively. Read this article today at
    http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=41230

  • Hot Thread: Slow Application Loses Connectivity

  • Ajay_k73 has a pair of problems with a Visual Basic (VB) application that he developed in SQL Server 2000. He used ADO MD to connect the application to the database, and although it works well on one of his clients, the application runs significantly slower on his other client. Both clients are on the same network and have the same available CPU and RAM. Ajay-k73 also installed an updated Service Pack 3a (SP3a) file—ptsfull.exe—on the slow client. After the installation of the new file, TCP/IP stopped working and the client can now connect only through a named pipe. Are the two problems related? What might be the solution? Offer your advice and see what other people have said on SQL Server Magazine's OLAP/Data Warehousing forum at
    http://www.sqlmag.com/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=10&threadid=22480

  • Tip: Tracking Extended Stored Procedures in Profiler
  • Q. I want to track the usage of extended stored procedures within a particular application. The Object Type data column sets a filter within SQL Server Profiler. And the Help file entry for the Object Type data column filter says that the value in the column represents "the types of the object involved in the event," which I assume corresponds to the Object Type column in sysobjects. So, a value of 'X' (the extended stored procedure's value for the sysobjects.type column) should represent an extended stored procedure. However, if I enter 'X' into Profiler's Object Type filter, I receive the error "This filter accepts numeric entries only." What value do I need to use to make the filter track my extended stored procedures?

    A. For the answer to this question and a table containing Object Type filter values for SQL Server Profiler, see
    http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40964

    Send your technical questions to Brian Moran at savvy@sqlmag.com.

    5. NEW AND IMPROVED


    (contributed by Dawn Cyr, products@sqlmag.com)

  • Simplify XML Document Description

  • O'Reilly announced "RELAX NG" by Eric van der Vlist, a book that introduces the Regular Language Description for XML Core-New Generation (RELAX NG). Designed to solve a variety of common problems in the creation and sharing of XML vocabularies, RELAX NG is less complex than the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C's) XML Schema Recommendation and more powerful and flexible than Document Type Definitions (DTDs). The book explores this new schema vocabulary and describes best practices and integration with other data-description approaches. Chapters cover such topics as how use RELAX NG to create W3C XML schemas or DTDs, using W3C XML schema data types with RELAX NG, and working with XML namespaces in RELAX NG. The 506-page book costs $29.95. For more information or to order, contact O'Reilly at 800-998-9938, 707-827-7000, order@oreilly.com, or
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BEJB0AP

  • Develop and Manage Your Database from One Interface

  • Laplas-soft announced SQLExecMS 2.1, a tool that lets you develop your database, manipulate data, and manage and tune your database from an all-in-one interface. The tool lets developers mangage all aspects of development, including executing T-SQL statements, reviewing execution plans, managing triggers and indexes, comparing SQL scripts, and reviewing object properties and dependencies. DBAs can perform tasks such as navigating database objects; monitoring connections, transactions, and performance counters; managing files and filegroups; backing up and restoring the database, analyzing table fragmentation and wait statistics, and managing stored procedures, logins, and users. Even end users can use the interface for tasks such as filtering, searching, and exporting data. SQLExecMS 2.1 works with SQL Server 2000 and 7.0 and Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE). Laplas-soft is offering the tool at a special promotional price of $59.95 for a personal license or $359.99 for a corporate license. A free trial version is available for download. For more information, contact Laplas-soft at master@laplas-soft.com or
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/eeQz0FgQMn0BRZ0BFEC0AM

    6. CONTACT US


    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — brianm@sqlmag.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — kathy@sqlmag.com
      (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.sqlmag.com/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@sqlmag.com
    • QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR SQL SERVER MAGAZINE UPDATE SUBSCRIPTION?
      Customer Support — sqlupdate@sqlmag.com
    • WANT TO SPONSOR SQL SERVER MAGAZINE UPDATE?
      Contact Richard Resnick at rresnick@sqlmag.com or 800-949-4007.

    SQL Server Magazine UPDATE is brought to you by SQL Server Magazine, the only magazine devoted to helping developers and DBAs master new and emerging SQL Server technologies and issues. Subscribe today.
    http://www.sqlmag.com/sub.cfm?code=ssei211x1y

    Receive the latest information about the Windows and .NET topics of your choice. Subscribe to our other FREE email newsletters.
    http://www.winnetmag.net/email