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March 18, 2004—In this issue:
1. SQL Server Perspectives
- Yukon Delays
2. News and Views
- Share Your Feedback About SQL Server Communities
- XP SP2 Training for Developers
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: Time with Data-Modeling
- New Instant Poll: Yukon Delay
- Get Your Hands Wrapped Around SQL Server
- SqlJunkies Has What Developers Need
- What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Injection Protection
- Hot Thread: Ntext
- Tip: Using Profiler to Display T-SQL Queries
5. Events Central
- SQL Server Magazine Connections: Win a Harley
- IDUG 2004—North America Conference, Orlando, FL
6. New and Improved
- Passively Audit SQL Server's Transaction Log
- Construct Better BI Applications
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1. SQL Server Perspectives
(contributed by Brian Moran)
Last week in SQL Server Magazine UPDATE, Paul Thurrott reported that Microsoft officially delayed the commercial release of Yukon—tentatively named SQL Server 2005—until the first half of 2005. My best educated guess is that the current timeline looks something like this: SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 will ship during the first half of this year. Given that it's March and Microsoft still isn't talking about a ship date, Beta 2 will be available by June. Microsoft says Beta 3 will ship during the second half of this year. Assuming Beta 2 ships in June (as the current calendar suggests), Beta 3 will probably ship in late 2004. Furthermore, Microsoft says that SQL Server 2005's production version will ship "when it's ready" in the first half of 2005. If my timeline estimates for Beta 2 and Beta 3 are correct, it's safe to assume you won't be playing with production bits while watching the Rose Bowl next year.
So what does this delay mean to SQL Server professionals? The delay will mostly affect how people perceive Microsoft. I suspect that Microsoft's competitors will use this opportunity to question the company's ability to deliver enterprise software. Competitors might also use the delay to promote their own database products while questioning the value of a version of SQL Server that's five years old. If customers believe that the delay reflects negatively on Microsoft and that other vendors have fresher solutions, those perceptions might become the basis for software decisions.
However, the reality is that because SQL Server 2000 has been around for so long, it has become a stable code base. SQL Server 2000 has the performance and scalability power to handle the needs of today's enterprise database customers. SQL Server 2000 has some weaknesses in the high availability area, but you can easily get enough 9s to keep your bosses and customers happy. SQL Server 2000 is a mature and feature-rich platform that customers can use with confidence for the next year.
Do I think that Microsoft will lose potential customers because of the delay? Yes. Some customers who might have switched from UNIX to SQL Server will probably stay on UNIX for another product generation. Do I think that Microsoft will lose existing customers? No. SQL Server 2000 is a solid database platform, and many customers chose SQL Server because of large price differences between Wintel and UNIX database solutions. In my opinion, it would be silly to change systems because a vendor releases a shiny new bauble to play with. But what do you think? What effect will the Yukon delay will have on your organization?
I'll share your thoughts next week and further explore whether Microsoft has done the right thing by allowing SQL Server 2005's feature set to grow so large that the delay is necessary. I'll also discuss the thorny problem of Software Assurance customers, whose assurances will expire before the new version of SQL Server ships.
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2. News and Views
Do you participate in Microsoft-sponsored or other SQL Server newsgroups, Web forums, message boards, or listservs? Have you attended online seminars or Webcasts about SQL Server-related topics? Do you participate in SQL Server user groups or attend SQL Server technical conferences? Whether your answer to these questions is yes or no, Microsoft wants to know. Microsoft's SQL Server team has launched a new survey to help it and its community partners, including SQL Server Magazine, better understand your needs and improve your experience with SQL Server. The survey also asks whether by participating in SQL Server communities, you're getting solutions to your SQL Server issues and questions more effectively and faster than you did before, whether your image of and confidence in Microsoft's support for SQL Server has improved, and whether you feel that Microsoft is doing a better job of taking into account your needs and feedback and incorporating them into SQL Server. Let Microsoft know how satisfied you are with the availability of SQL Server information and peer support in the SQL Server communities by taking the survey at
Microsoft said that Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) might break functionality of existing applications. In an effort to help developers understand the implications of SP2, the company is now offering an XP SP2 training course that covers the changes slated for the new service pack.
The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's Instant Poll for the question, "How much time do you spend on data-modeling activities?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 151 votes (deviations from 100 percent are due to a rounding error):
- 3% All of my time
- 4% Most of my time, but I also have other duties
- 13% Half of my time
- 56% Some of my time, but they aren't my primary focus
- 23% None
The next Instant Poll question is "Will the delay of SQL Server's next version affect you or your organization?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) yes, it will have a positive effect, 2) yes, it will have a negative effect, 3) yes, but it won't be a major problem, or 4) no, it won't have any effect.
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SqlJunkies is your online community resource for original tutorial and how-to articles for developing applications with SQL Server 2000 and Yukon; peer-to-peer help and networking through discussion forums and newsgroups; technology tips and pointers from expert bloggers; and the latest in SQL Server-related events and news.
All relational databases—including SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, and MySQL—are susceptible to SQL-injection attacks. You can buy products that protect your system from SQL injection, but for most businesses, the defense against SQL-injection attack must be code-based. In his March SELECT TOP(X) column, "Injection Protection," Michael Otey provides four steps that you can take to protect your Web applications from SQL-injection attacks. Read this article today at
Iainh has a table that contains a column that has a text data type that he needs to change to an ntext data type. The ALTER TABLE command isn't working; Iainh gets the error message "Cannot alter column 'MyTextColumn' because it is 'text'." Iainh has a large amount of data, so copying the data from an ntext column isn't a practical solution. Do you know how to change a text column's data type to ntext? Offer your advice and see what other people have said on SQL Server Magazine's Development forum at
(contributed by Brian Moran)
To list which files belong to which filegroups for a particular database, you can run sp_helpfile, which shows information about the files in a database. But if you want to use the T-SQL SELECT queries for a custom application, look at the T-SQL code in the sp_helpfile procedure. You'll be amazed at how much advanced T-SQL you can learn by reading system procedures.
Another way to get file information is to let SQL Server Profiler find the answer for you. When you want a particular piece of information from Enterprise Manager but don't know a T-SQL query that will display the information, simply run Profiler while you perform your task in Enterprise Manager. Profiler will display the T-SQL queries that Enterprise Manager generates to provide the information. Enterprise Manager issues T-SQL queries to get information about the filegroup that a file belongs to, then displays that information in the Properties dialog box for the database you're working in.
5. Events Central
For a complete guide to Web and live events, see
SQL Server Magazine Connections conference will be held April 18-21 with concurrently running events Microsoft ASP.NET Connections and Visual Studio Connections. Register early and receive access to all three conferences for one low price, plus get a chance to win a Harley. Register online or call 203-268-3204 or 800-438-6720.
Plan now to attend IDUG 2004—North America, taking place May 9-13 in Orlando, Florida. Learn from IDUG's diverse educational programs and expert speakers, share your IBM DB2 knowledge and challenges with peers, and obtain the latest IBM DB2 products and services information. Register by April 9 for early-bird savings!
6. New and Improved
(contributed by Dawn Cyr, firstname.lastname@example.org)
ApexSQL announced ApexSQL Log 1.1, a transaction log-auditing tool that lets you analyze and display information about data changes. ApexSQL Log lets you passively review the contents of your SQL Server transaction log and transaction log backups. The tool lets you audit activity without using triggers or other mechanisms that require overhead, and you can audit changes that occurred before you installed the tool. The most recent release of the product includes support for UNDO and REDO and for reading detached files. Filters let you group and sort data, and you can produce output in XML or Microsoft Excel. ApexSQL Log works with SQL Server 2000 and 7.0. Pricing for a single-user license starts at $499. For a free trial version, other pricing options, and more information, contact ApexSQL at 866-665-5500, email@example.com, or www.apexsql.com.
Charles River Media announced "Building Business Intelligence Applications with .NET," a book by Robert Ericsson that teaches developers how to use .NET technologies to build applications for data mining, statistical analysis, or OLAP. The book explains the steps for creating business intelligence (BI) applications and how to integrate them with existing transactional applications. Topics include data warehousing, working with OLAP cubes, using ADO MD.NET, and working with Windows SharePoint Services and Crystal Reports. The book comes with a CD-ROM that contains all the source code in the book and URLs for standard documents related to topics including XML and Web services. "Building Business Intelligence Applications with .NET" costs $49.95, and you can read a sample chapter at http://www.charlesriver.com/chapters.html. For more information or to order, contact Charles River Media at 800-382-8505 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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