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April 17, 2003—In this issue:
- 64-Bit SQL Server Hits the Streets
2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Releases Hotfixes and Problem Notices
- Visual Studio .NET 2003 Available on MSDN Subscriber Downloads
- Framework 1.1 Now Available
- Authentication Bypass Vulnerability in Oracle E-Business Suite
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: SAN Usage
- New Instant Poll: Business Intelligence
- T-SQL Solutions Available Free Online
- Storage World Conference 2003, May 5-7, Anaheim
- What's New in SQL Server Magazine: MSDE and SQL Server
- Hot Thread: Creating a Name Scrambler
- Tip: Tracking Uptime
5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)
- Join the SQL Server Magazine Research Panel
- Find Answers to Your SQL Server Questions
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Compare 2 SQL Server Databases
- View a SQL Server Presentation
7. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a watershed event for SQL Server, Microsoft has released to manufacturing the 64-bit version of the database management system. SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition (64-bit), which should be available in the retail channel by the time you read this, might not see the inside of your company anytime soon—if ever. But just the fact that such a powerful version exists is noteworthy.
SQL Server scalability has always been limited to the hardware platform that Windows could run on. This limitation has been a stumbling block in the past. Although SQL Server has efficiently used the processors and memory that WinTel machines offered, UNIX platforms have had an overwhelming advantage because they could offer significantly more hardware processing power to the database. But the recent releases of 64-bit versions of SQL Server, Windows, and Intel hardware have begun to level the playing field. The days of UNIX-based hardware advantages, are rapidly disappearing if not already gone.
SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) running on a 32-way server recently posted a Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) TPC-C score that topped the highest scores that Oracle or DB2 have ever posted on any UNIX-based platform, regardless of cost. The argument that "SQL Server can't scale, therefore I can't use it" is a thing of the past. SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) opens up a new world of competition in the corporate data center, even if companies don't need to immediately deploy a 64-bit hardware solution. Simply knowing that the platform can scale to the same heights as a UNIX platform will now give many new customers the confidence to deploy 32-bit SQL Server.
But don't expect SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) to have much immediate impact on the real-world database servers you're using today. High-powered 64-bit database server solutions are best for implementations that require the processing of very large data sets in single-query operations. Usually, this description applies to some sort of data warehousing environment, although certain types of online transaction processing (OLTP) applications can also benefit. For example, the Microsoft press release for 64-bit SQL Server notes that SAP R/3 buffers each user's context into main memory. And because SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) can buffer many more user contexts than the 32-bit version, it can support SAP R/3 implementations with high numbers of concurrent users.
SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) will be an incredible boon for the select number of customers who can leverage up to 512GB of main memory. However, most of us will spend more time reading about the product than working with it. On the other hand, not long ago, 4-way multiprocessor systems were extravagant luxuries and a 100GB database was massive. Today, almost every customer I visit views a 4-way box as a standard, commodity server. And I've seen low-end desktops hosting 100GB data sets. Eventually, most companies will be mining and analyzing their rich customer-level data assets, terabyte-range warehouses will be common, and 64-bit technology will trickle down to Joe DBA. For now, it' nice to know that such database power is there if you need it. You can read more about SQL Server 2000 (64-bit) at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/evaluation/64bit/overview.asp.
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2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
Microsoft has released a hotfix for SQL Server 7.0 and for Visual Studio 6.0 Service Pack 5 (SP5) and Visual SourceSafe 6.0c (see the following links). The company has also posted articles about a problem installing a named instance of SQL Server 2000 Virtual Server on a Windows Server 2003 system and about an error message when you're restoring a SQL Server 7.0 backup to SQL Server 2000.
- FIX: SQL Server 7.0 Scheduler May Periodically Stop Responding During Large Sort Operation
- FIX: When You Edit Stored Procedures Under Source Control, Spaces Are Removed
- PRB: You Cannot Successfully Install a Named Instance of SQL Server 2000 Virtual Server on a Windows Server 2003-Based Computer
- PRB: You Receive Error Message: "The log file for database 'Database Name' is full" While Restoring a SQL Server 7.0 Database Backup on SQL Server 2000
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com)
Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers can now download Visual Studio .NET 2003, the most recent version of Microsoft's developer suite, which the company will launch in 2 weeks with Windows 2003. Which edition you can access depends on your subscription level: MSDN Professional subscribers get Visual Studio .NET 2003 Professional, MSDN Enterprise subscribers get Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Developer, and MSDN Universal subscribers have access to Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect. In addition, versions of the MSDN Library April 2003 edition are also available for download; this three-CD-ROM image set provides the online help for Visual Studio .NET 2003.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The most recent release of the Windows .NET Framework—version 1.1—is available for download from the Microsoft Web site. The Framework provides the runtime environment for Microsoft .NET applications and Web services; this version will ship with Windows 2003. Framework 1.1 is available for XP Professional Edition, Windows 2000, and Windows NT 4.0. New releases just don't get any more exciting than this!
Stephen Kost of Integrigy discovered that a vulnerability in the communications protocol that Oracle Applications FND File Server (FNDFS) uses lets an attacker bypass any OS, database, and application authentication to retrieve files from Oracle Applications Concurrent Manager servers. If the attacker has direct access to the Concurrent Manager server through SQL*Net, he or she can retrieve sensitive data or files (e.g., any file that the oracle or applmgr accounts can access) that contain critical passwords. Oracle has released a security bulletin regarding this vulnerability and recommends that affected users download and apply the appropriate update.
The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "Do you use a Storage Area Network (SAN) in your environment?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 277 votes:
- 47% Yes - 19% No, but we're considering it - 34% No, and we're not considering it
The next Instant Poll question is "Which SQL Server business intelligence (BI) tools are you using?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and submit your vote for 1) OLAP, 2) Data mining, 3) SQL Server Accelerator for Business Intelligence, 4) More than one of the above, or 5) None of the above.
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SSMU e-Learning Center, partnering with Scalability Experts, is offering a LIVE online advanced-level training course titled, "Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Security Bootcamp." DBAs, developers and IT managers will learn how to leverage the security features of SQL Server 2000 to build intelligent, flexible and secure database access. The Bootcamp will meet online for nine 60- to 90-minute sessions, beginning Monday, May 5, at 11:00am ET. Course dates will include May 5-8 and 12-16. Go to:
(brought to you by SQL Server Magazine and its partners)
The T-SQL Solutions Web site is now available at no charge to registered users. To access new articles, tips, archived articles, and associated code, simply complete an online registration form. The site features columns by SQL Server gurus, as well as an active T-SQL forum and regular Instant Poll. Register today!
Attend the key event of the year for the Storage Networking Industry. Hear keynote addresses from leading companies, attend tutorials on strategic issues, participate in a hands-on storage clinic, see the inaugural 2003 SWC Awards Ceremony, and get certified! Don't miss out, SWC 2003 is only 3 weeks away! Register Now:
Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE) is a local database engine that's based on the same core database engine as SQL Server. Developing applications for MSDE is the same as developing applications for SQL Server, and this similarity causes confusion—especially about the differences between MSDE and SQL Server 2000 Personal Edition. In his April 2003 SQL Server Magazine article "MSDE and SQL Server," Michael Otey lists seven important differences between MSDE 2000 and SQL Server 2000. You can read this article online at
Nsmith is new to SQL Server and is looking for a procedure that changes vowels in a string to other vowels—a sort of name scrambler. For example, if he has the name Jones, he wants to replace the "o" with a "u" and the "e" with an "o" to create Junos. The replace function performs these changes one at a time, but he wants to scramble the name in one operation (like Oracle's translate function does). Offer your advice, and read other users' suggestions on the SQL Server Magazine forums at the following URL:
(contributed by Brian Moran, email@example.com)
Q. I need to track uptime to manage a service level agreement (SLA). How can I determine how long a particular instance of SQL Server has been running?
A. SQL Server doesn't offer a built-in system function that will return this information, but uptime is easy to track if you know a little about SQL Server's internal workings. SQL Server uses several connections to manage its internal processes. The SPID=1 connection to SQL Server is always a system connection established when SQL Server starts up. The master...sysprocesses table contains valuable information about all connections, including a column called login_time. According to SQL Server Books Online (BOL), this column contains the "time at which a client process logged into the server. For system processes, the time at which SQL Server startup occurred is stored."
Run the following T-SQL query for a reliable indicator of how long SQL Server has been running in minutes:
SELECT datediff(mi, login_time, getdate()) FROM master..sysprocesses WHERE spid = 1
This is another example of why understanding the information in SQL Server system tables is important. Sometimes, querying the system tables is the only way to get the information you need.
You can retrieve this same information in other ways. For example, the first line of the SQL Server error log tells you when SQL Server was started. So you could get the information you seek by running sp_readerrorlog and parsing out the date from the first line of output. Or, you could simply open the error log and view it by using a text viewer, which is an especially good option if you can't run a query to collect the information.
Send your technical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
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6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, email@example.com)
Adept SQL Tools released AdeptSQL Diff, an application that lets you visually compare two SQL Server databases, then produce and execute synchronization SQL scripts for a chosen part of or for the entire schema. AdeptSQL Diff scans both databases and displays the combined schema tree view. The application marks the differences with color. You can compare SQL definitions such as tables, views, and stored procedures side by side in a large panel to the right of the schema tree. If you have only one database, you can reverse-engineer your database schema. AdeptSQL Diff runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 98 systems and supports SQL Server. Pricing starts at $240 for a personal license. LAN packs and site licenses are also available. Contact Adept SQL Tools at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At the Black Hat Windows Security Conference, Application Security gave a presentation that illustrates many new SQL Server vulnerabilities. The presentation, "Hunting Flaws in Microsoft SQL Server," is available for no charge at Application Security's Web site. Contact Application Security at 212-420-9270 or 866-927-7732.
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