Have you deployed SQL Server technology in a creative and innovative way to solve a thorny technical or business problem? Do friends walk into your server room and sigh, "Wow, I wish I had a SQL Server setup like that"? Do you yearn to stand on top of your server, arms out stretched, and proclaim, "I'm king of the SQL Server world"? Would you like to win $1 million and your own private Caribbean island?

I can't help out with the million bucks or the island, but you might still be interested in entering the first annual SQL Server Magazine Innovator Awards. SQL Server Magazine and Microsoft are jointly sponsoring this year's SQL Server Innovator Awards. Outstanding entries will receive a cool pewter mug trophy that can be filled with the beverage of your choice. In addition, the top prizewinner will receive bragging rights, an all-expenses-paid round-trip to the SQL Server Magazine LIVE! Fall 2002 conference in sunny Orlando, Florida, and the prestigious SQL Server Innovator's Cup traveling trophy for an entire year. Who cares about the World Cup when you can take home this beauty!

So how do you win? If you work with SQL Server and have created a technical solution to a problem or enhanced a program or system feature to improve performance or Return on Investment (ROI), you qualify to enter this awards program. Entering is easy. SQL Server Magazine is accepting entries until August 15. Select members of the SQL Server Magazine editorial staff and Microsoft representatives will evaluate the entries and will contact finalists for in-depth phone interviews. You'll find more information and an entry form at http://www.sqlmag.com/awards .

What are we interested in? Here are a few of the sample, guiding questions we've posted on the entry form to give you some ideas:

  • Are you scaling out your system with SQL Server 2000's federated database support?
  • Are you scaling your SQL Server system beyond eight processors to handle large workloads or data warehouses or to consolidate multiple servers on a single system and ease administration?
  • Are you implementing OLAP or data mining to give your company's decision makers the power to analyze the wealth of data you've collected?
  • Are you using SQL Server's XML functionality to develop Web services and platform-independent applications?
  • Are you using tricks to squeeze the best performance out of your SQL Server database or to get the answers you need?

But heck, these are the Innovator Awards. Innovation means that you might be the only person who's thought of the solution. That's why all applicants need to summarize in 300 words or fewer (No. 2 pencil optional) the problem you solved, key points of your solution, and the measurable benefits from the solution. Go ahead, impress us.