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October 20, 2005

1. Perspectives

  • Upgrading: Who Wants to Be First?
  • 2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

  • Write Secure Applications with Visual Studio 2005
  • 3. News & Views

  • Microsoft Touts 64-Bit Migration
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Developer Activities
  • New Instant Poll: Home Databases
  • 4. Reader Challenge

  • October Reader Challenge Solution: Consolidating Data from Various Sources
  • November Reader Challenge: Grouping Sequential Changes
  • 5. Events and Resources

  • Discover SQL Server 2005 for the Enterprise. Are you prepared--In New York!
  • Do You Know What "High Availability" Really Means?
  • Get the Maximum Return on Software Investments by Optimizing Every Dollar Spent on Software
  • Compliance Vs Recovery: Can You Have Your Cake and Eat It Too?
  • 6. Featured White Paper

  • Can You Afford to Have Anything Less Than 100% Uptime for Your Mission Critical E-mail?
  • 7. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Configuring Log-File Backup
  • Hot Article: Using Dynamic Filters in Queries
  • In a Nutshell: Stupid Developer Tricks
  • Hot Threads
  • 8. Announcements

  • Get Access to Every SQL Server Magazine Article on CD
  • SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, & Forums
  • 9. New & Improved

  • Get Intelligent Standby Capability for SQL Server
  • Experience SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Functionality
  • Sponsor: Free Disaster Recovery Toolkit for the SQL DBA
    Written by SQL Server expert Brian Knight, this handy, "how-to" toolkit contains comprehensive first-hand advice and scripts for SQL Server DBAs that need to build and implement a successful disaster recovery plan. With his tips and quips, Brian walks the DBA through real-world scenarios using an easy, step-by-step approach. And as part of the download, you'll receive four scripts, which will greatly speed your recovery time! Download it today, compliments of Lumigent:
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171DB:285886

    1. Perspectives


  • Upgrading: Who Wants to Be First?

  •     by Brian Moran, brian@solidqualitylearning.com

    This week, I want to talk about the SQL Server Front Runner program and a funny story about penguins that I heard at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit. Oddly enough, they're related.

    First, the penguin story. Microsoft General Manager for the SQL Server Engine David Campbell shared the story during his keynote. According to Campbell, when Microsoft was launching SQL Server 7.0, the company sent several senior technologists to convince key customers to upgrade from SQL Server 6.5 to 7.0. During one visit, one of the engineers asked the customer, "Have you ever watched a nature program about penguins?" Apparently, when penguins return to the sea after breeding, they all congregate at the sea's edge, waiting to see who goes into the water first. No one wants to be the first one in because a sea lion might be waiting to eat them. However, the crowd of penguins gets bigger and bigger until either someone gets pushed in or some brave soul jumps in. The first one in either gets the most fish or gets eaten. The engineer told the customer, "You should be the first one in so that you can get the most fish."

    Funny thing was, PASS President Kevin Kline was the customer who first heard the penguin story all those years ago. You can read his account of the story in his In a Nutshell blog at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171D0:285886 . (In case you're wondering, Kevin wasn't devoured by sea lions, orcas, or any other marine life during his upgrade process.) Of course, the point of the story is that someone does need to be first.

    So how does this relate to the Microsoft Front Runner challenge? The SQL Server 2005 Front Runner home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171D7:285886 ) explains that participating Microsoft Partners will get help in being among the first Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) to get their SQL Server 2005 applications to market. The site lists other benefits, including 10 hours of BetaOne Services pre-launch technical support; a VeriTest voucher to take the SQL Server 2005 Platform Test (an $800 value); and marketing offerings, including use of the Front Runner stamp, a press-release kit, and more. In addition, 200 eligible Front Runner ISVs will receive $5000 in marketing funds.

    So, it would be easy to end by saying, "Who wants to be the first penguin?" But you know what? By the time the SQL Server 2005 release to manufacturing (RTM) happens, dozens of SQL Server 2005 applications will have already gone live inside and outside of Microsoft. And although it's easy to poke fun at Microsoft for pulling Database Mirroring at the last minute, that decision was a brave move that prevented you from being eaten by an orca. Upgrade to SQL Server 2005 right away? You'll hear many reasonable arguments for and against. But if you choose to upgrade soon, you won't be the first penguin. Microsoft and dozens of other customers have already scared away the orcas.


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    2. SQL Server 2005 Watch


  • Write Secure Applications with Visual Studio 2005

  • Visual Studio 2005 makes it easier for developers to write secure applications without spending great amounts of time learning about securing their applications. Microsoft has released a white paper, "New Security Features in Visual Studio 2005," that details the security enhancements in the upcoming Visual Studio release. The paper helps developers understand the security implications of the decisions they make. The tools developers use to build and ship applications can make it much easier to ship secure applications. You'll learn that most of the tools and enhancements in Visual Studio 2005 require little extra work and can greatly improve the overall security of your applications. You can read the entire white paper at
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C5:285886

    Sponsor: Protect and Ensure Your Data's Integrity With the heightened awareness around national security and protecting important human and physical assets, having solutions that also protect your data's integrity is extremely critical. In this free white paper you'll learn the important ways you can ensure the integrity of your application's data, particularly with intradependent field like SQL Server and Oracle.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171CD:285886

    3. News & Views


    Microsoft Touts 64-Bit Migration Microsoft announced the 64-Bit Computing Advantage Migration Program, a free program that helps independent software vendors (ISVs) move their applications to 64-bit systems. The program includes a 3-day 64-bit migration lab; high-level, ongoing technical support; an executive summit series; and ISV business and marketing opportunities for participants. Microsoft is offering the program in partnership with Intel. To register and get more information, visit the program Web site at
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171DD:285886

    Results of Previous Instant Poll: Developer Activities "How much of your time do you spend on application-developer activities?" Here are the results from the 58 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):

  • 10 % All of my time
  • 36 % Most of my time, but I also have other duties
  • 10 % Half of my time
  • 33 % Some of my time, but developer activities aren't my primary job
  • 10 % None
  • New Instant Poll: Home Databases "What do you use at home for a database?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171DF:285886 ) and submit your vote for - SQL Server Express

  • MSDE
  • Microsoft Access
  • Another database
  • I don't use databases at home
  • 4. Reader Challenge


    October Reader Challenge Solution: Consolidating Data from Various Sources by Umachandar Jayachandran, challenge@sqlmag.com

    Congratulations to Narcissa Ramich, a Senior Database Developer for Cheapflights Limited in London. Narcissa won first prize of $100 for the best solution to the October Reader Challenge, "Consolidating Data from Various Sources." Only one submitter met the expectations set by the problem for the October challenge. You can read a recap of the problem and the solution to the October Reader Challenge at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C8:285886

    November Reader Challenge: Grouping Sequential Changes Now, test your SQL Server savvy in the November Reader Challenge, "Grouping Sequential Changes"(below). Submit your solution in an email message to challenge@sqlmag.com by October 27. Umachandar Jayachandran, a SQL Server Magazine technical editor, will evaluate the responses. We'll announce the winner in an upcoming SQL Server Magazine UPDATE. The first-place winner will receive $100, and the second-place winner will receive $50.

    Here's the challenge: Steve is a systems analyst in an IT department for a midsized company. As part of a batch process, data is extracted from his production database, which logs activity into a table at periodic intervals. Each activity entry contains a flag that indicates a particular state. The batch process performs two operations in an infinite loop. As part of the logging, the process includes the time when the operation was started and a flag indicating the state. A sample schema with data is shown below.

    CREATE TABLE Activity ( CreateTime smalldatetime not null, Flag bit not null );
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:00', 0);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:01', 0);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:02', 0);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:03', 1);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:04', 1);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:05', 0);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:06', 0);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:07', 1);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:08', 0);
    INSERT INTO Activity values( '2005-10-01 06:09', 1);
    SELECT * FROM Activity;

    In our example, let us assume that the Flag column is a bit data type and the values toggle from 0 to 1 and vice versa. The CreateTime column is a smalldatetime value that's always increasing. Steve is trying to do the following:

    1. Group changes in the Flag column in the sequence in which they occur based on the CreateTime value2. Determine the start and end values of CreateTime for each group

    The expected output of the query should be:

    StartTime              EndTime              Flag
    -------------------   -------------------   ------
    2005-10-01 06:00:00   2005-10-01 06:02:00   0
    2005-10-01 06:03:00   2005-10-01 06:04:00   1
    2005-10-01 06:05:00   2005-10-01 06:06:00   0
    2005-10-01 06:07:00   2005-10-01 06:07:00   1
    2005-10-01 06:08:00   2005-10-01 06:08:00   0
    2005-10-01 06:09:00   2005-10-01 06:09:00   1

    Help Steve write a query that will get the expected results showing the changes in the Flag column value in the order in which they occurred and the start and end times when the changes occurred.

    5.

    Events and Resources


  • Discover SQL Server 2005 for the Enterprise. Are you prepared--In New York!

  • In this free half-day event, you'll learn how the top new features of SQL Server 2005 will help you create and manage large-scale, mission-critical enterprise database applications, making your job easier. Find out how to leverage SQL Server 2005's new capabilities to best support your business initiatives. Register today for the new show added in New York!
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171CC:285886

  • Do You Know What "High Availability" Really Means?

  • In this free Essential Guide, learn what high availability really means and the different strategies that you can use to improve your email systems' availability and resiliency.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171CF:285886

  • Get the Maximum Return on Software Investments by Optimizing Every Dollar Spent on Software

  • Often software applications are over-licensed by one department and under-licensed by another, resulting in denial of some end users the access to software they need or overspending on additional licenses that go unused. In this free Web seminar, get the 5-step plan for quickly implementing a license management program today!
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171CB:285886

  • Compliance Vs Recovery: Can You Have Your Cake and Eat It Too?

  • In this free, on-demand Web seminar, discover the issues involved with integrating your compliance system with backup and recovery, including backup schedules, the pros and cons of outsourcing your backup media storage and management, the disaster-recovery implications of having to back up all that compliance data, and the possibility of using alternative backup methods to provide backup and compliance in a single system. You'll learn what to watch out for when combining the two functions and how to assess whether your backup and restore mechanisms are equal to the challenge.
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C7:285886

  • See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.
  •      http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171DA:285886


    6. Featured White Paper


  • Can You Afford to Have Anything Less Than 100% Uptime for Your Mission Critical E-mail?

  • E-mail has become mission critical to the functioning of business and every hour of downtime can cost thousands of dollars in lost productivity and revenue. In this free white paper, learn how to address challenges such as: making e-mail truly available 24x7x365, securing email against viruses, comprehensively backing up e-mail data, and more. Download your copy now!     http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C6:285886

    7. Peer to Peer


  • Hot Tip: Configuring Log-File Backup

  •      by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team, questions@sqlmag.com

    I've configured my SQL Server 2000 database maintenance plan so that everything works--except the transaction-log backups. Why will full backups work but not transaction-log backups?

  • Read the answer to this question today at

  •      http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171CA:285886

  • Hot Article: Using Dynamic Filters in Queries

  • One of the most fundamental aspects of T-SQL querying is filtering data. Besides logically limiting the rows that a query returns, filters can affect a query's performance. A filter is one of the most important query elements that SQL Server's optimizer examines to determine whether to use an index and to determine the access method to apply in the execution plan. But some of the most frequently implemented solutions for filtering data in stored procedures have serious performance problems. In his October T-SQL Black Belt column, Itzik Ben-Gan looks at two common implementations, discusses those implementations' performance problems, then explores a better implementation. Read this article today and post your comments at
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C9:285886

  • In a Nutshell: Stupid Developer Tricks

  • In this week's blog, "Stupid Developer Tricks," Kevin Kline reports that his clients have recently been complaining about developers who lack adequate skills. Kevin recounts some scary developer stories and wonders whether they are indicators of a widespread problem. Read the blog and send Kevin your "developer tricks" today at
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171CE:285886

    Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171D4:285886

    SQL Server 2005 General Discussion: Deploying Reporting Services Without IIS
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C1:285886
    Replication: Pull Subscription--Validate Does Not Work
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C2:285886
    Data Transformation Services: DTS Package Crossover Access Through Trigger
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171BF:285886
    Development: Patindex Mystery
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C4:285886
    Data Access: Stored Procedure to Reduce Network Traffic
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C3:285886
    Tools: Viewing Variable Values in SQL Server Profiler
    http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171C0:285886

    8. Announcements


  • Get Access to Every SQL Server Magazine Article on CD

  • Get the SQL Server Magazine Master CD and get portable, high-speed access to the entire SQL Server Magazine article database--more than 2500 articles on CD! The newest issue includes BONUS SQL Server 2005 Tips and if you sign up now, you'll SAVE 25%. Offer ends 10/31/05, so order now:
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171D1:285886

  • SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, & Forums

  • Get 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=171D6:285886

    9. New & Improved


        by Dawn Cyr, products@sqlmag.com

  • Share Your Story and Get a T-Shirt!

  • Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Tell us how your favorite product solved a SQL Server problem for you, and if we print your submission in the magazine's Hands On department we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your email today to handson@sqlmag.com!

  • Get Intelligent Standby Capability for SQL Server

  • Sonasoft announced the addition of intelligent standby capability to its SonaSafe for SQL Server, backup-and-recovery software that provides unique capabilities including automated backup and point-of-failure or point-in-time recovery. Users can back up and recover one database, multiple databases, one SQL server instance, or an entire server. Key benefits of the product include a template-driven automated backup plan; the ability to recover from anywhere; compression, which reduces storage costs by up to 85 percent; a Web-based interface; an automated, policy-based purging functionality; the ability to manage multiple servers through a management console; and excellent diagnostic capability. SonaSafe supports SQL Server 2000 and 7.0, and a free evaluation copy is available on request. For more information, contact Sonasoft at 408-927-6200.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171DE:285886

  • Experience SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services Functionality

  • ProClarity announced the public beta of ProClarity 6.1, the next major release of the ProClarity Analytics Platform. Interested parties can download the beta to take advantage of new features that include advanced support of the Unified Dimensional Model (UDM), a redesigned dashboard, and a new charting engine. In addition, ProClarity offers organizations working with Microsoft buisiness intelligence solutions resources including Webcasts and white papers. To download the beta of ProClarity 6.1 or for more information, contact ProClarity at 208-344-1630 or info@proclarity.com.
        http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=171D5:285886

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