IT professionals can easily be overwhelmed by the mass of technical information that's available on the Web and in myriad other formats, and separating the informational wheat from the chaff can be a real challenge. You have to figure out how to meld together a jumble of random white papers, Microsoft articles, and newsgroup discussions to create a cohesive body of information that will help you do your job effectively. Often, the only difference between an expert and other technical professionals is that an expert has more time to hunt down arcane information.

I've beat this drum many times in the past, and although I don't fault Microsoft for providing too much information, I do think the company could provide more best-practices–style information to knit together the wealth of information that's spread across numerous Microsoft knowledge sources. So I was pleased when I recently stumbled across an MSDN site that seems to pull much of this information together, and I thought I'd share the resource with you. You can find the home page of the .NET Architecture Center at http://msdn.microsoft.com/Architecture/default.asp.

Don't let the .NET moniker fool you. This site includes plenty of valuable technical information related to SQL Server and data-centric needs. The site's welcome message says the Architecture Center is "devoted to business, software, and infrastructure architects." The Center includes content from Microsoft product teams, MSDN, TechNet, and Microsoft's new Architecture Review Board and serves multiple perspectives of enterprise architecture. The Center also provides a way for Microsoft to provide architectural guidance, announce new architectural content on MSDN and TechNet, and highlight community events such as architecture Webcasts.

The vision of the site's developers is ambitious, and keeping the site up-to-date with relevant best practices won't be easy. I'm taking an I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it approach. But I applaud Microsoft for recognizing the need for a site such as this one. At first glance, the content seems strong. I'll point out nuggets of interest to the SQL Server community in future editions of SQL Server Magazine UPDATE. Does the site live up to the lofty goals outlined above? Spend some time at the site when you have a chance and let me know what you think.