It’s fun to talk about SQL Server 2005, but you’re not alone if you’re still running SQL Server 2000. I don’t have specific numbers, but my personal experience tells me that a large percentage of SQL Server customers are still running SQL Server 2000, even if they’ve migrated some applications and servers to SQL Server 2005. Many customers still haven’t invested much time and energy at all in upgrading. If you’re itching to upgrade but simply haven’t had the time to invest in learning all the ins and outs of the process, you’re in luck. Early adopters have reaped many benefits, but if you’re just planning your upgrade now, you can use a growing body of information to help smooth out the rough edges of a migration.

Microsoft recently published the SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Technical Reference Guide. This guide is wonderful place to start and is available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=3D5E96D9-0074-46C4-BD4F-C3EB2ABF4B66&displaylang=en . This document is much more than just another white paper. The 350-page guide contains a vast amount of valuable information that covers the full spectrum of the SQL Server 2005 product suite. The guide is an essential resource for those of you planning an upgrade.

Need some hands on practice? You’ll want to review the SQL Server 2005 TechNet Virtual Lab for IT pros ( http://www.microsoft.com/technet/traincert/virtuallab/sql2005.mspx ) and the MSDN Virtual Labs for developers ( http://msdn.microsoft.com/virtuallabs/sql ). These labs don’t require Virtual PC; Internet Explorer is all you’ll need to interact with more than 30 labs. Each lab takes about 90 minutes to complete.

You might also want to review the TechNet Upgrade to SQL Server 2005 site at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sql/themes/upgrade.mspx . You’ll find links to a large number of white papers and Web seminars that provide valuable upgrade information.

I also highly recommend Microsoft’s SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Resource Kit. Alas, I have not yet found a way to download or order the kit, but Microsoft representatives have been distributing it widely to customers. The kit doesn’t provide much information that isn’t available somewhere else on the Microsoft site, but it’s lovely to have all of the information available in one place. I’ve been checking with Microsoft to track down how the kits can be ordered or downloaded. I’ll let you know the answer as soon as I find out!

Regardless of whether you’re planning your upgrade soon or you’re still some time out, these resources will help you make the most of the experiences of those early adopters.