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May 12, 2005
2. News & Views
3. Reader Challenge
4. Events and Resources
5. Featured White Paper
6. Peer to Peer
8. New & Improved
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by Brian Moran, email@example.com
Last Friday, after an unexpectedly long wait, Microsoft released SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4). The relational part of SP4's fix list has 285 entries. I encourage you to peruse SP4's readme files and plan your upgrade sooner rather than later because it's important to remain as up-to-date as possible when it comes to SQL Server service packs. SQL Server 2000 SP4 is available as a free download today at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=9CA3:7B3DB .
SP4 is a comprehensive service pack that includes SQL Server fixes from SP1, SP2, and SP3a, as well as enhancements to security, performance, and serviceability. The big news is improved 64-bit support. SP4 adds platform support for Microsoft Windows Server 2003 x64 Edition, which lets 32-bit SQL Server 2000 applications run on 64-bit platforms using the Windows on Windows emulator (WOW64). However, 32-bit SQL Server tools still aren't supported on WOW64 for IA64.
In my opinion, SP4's most important feature is support for 64-bit options from AMD and for Intel's EMT-64. Both hardware platforms let you boot a machine natively in 32-bit or 64-bit configurations. This capability will probably be popular with customers who might not be ready to commit to 64-bit today, but want to ensure they have the option to move to 64-bit in the near future without throwing away their existing hardware. More information about specific 64-bit platforms that Windows 2003 x64 Edition supports is available at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=9C9F:7B3DB .
SP4 also includes a new version of MSXML 3.0 SP6. With SP4, the OPENXML statement is updated to use a custom-built XML parsing technology designed to be backward compatible with MSXML 2.6. And the new SQL Server service pack includes Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 (except for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 platforms, which include the MDAC update in their OS service packs.
SP4 improves performance on 64-bit systems with 32 or more processors. Refreshed, more secure Visual Database Tools (Table Designer, Database Diagrams, and Query Designer) and new registry entries provide additional control over security, metadata, and memory management. SP4 introduces new serviceability functionality that lets you remove hotfixes applied to SP4 and later versions of SQL Server 2000 running on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Also, you can enable error reporting for selected instances during the SP4 installation.
Like earlier SQL Server service packs, SP4 isn't easy to uninstall, so plan your upgrade carefully. You'll need to upgrade your Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE) versions to SP4 based on how you installed MSDE's original instance. SP4's home page, which I mentioned earlier, will help you navigate that process.
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2. News & Views
Time is running out to cast your vote in SQL Server Magazine's 2nd annual Readers' Choice Awards! By voting for outstanding products, companies, and services, you'll have the opportunity to reward excellence and make your voice heard. The September 2005 issue of SQL Server Magazine will feature your favorite products and your choice of companies that provide the best products and services. All participants will be entered to win one of 2 iPod Shuffles (512MB versions) and 10 SQL Server Magazine t-shirts. Voting ends May 15, so cast your vote today!
"When do you plan to see Star Wars: Episode 3--Revenge of the Sith?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=9CB1:7B3DB ) and submit your vote for
3. Reader Challenge
Congratulations to Ahmad Mohamed, a DBA and developer for CGI-AMS in Cleveland, Ohio, and Daniele Pierasco, a DBA for Brain Force Software Italia in Milan, Italy. Ahmad won first prize of $100 for the best solution to the April Reader Challenge, "Query Performance On Partitioned Tables." Daniele won second prize of $50. You can read a recap of the problem and the solution to the May Reader Challenge at
Here's the challenge: Harry develops products that help build data warehouses and have SQL Server 2000 back-end databases. He's trying to develop a set of stored procedures that will perform data transformations for the product and run long-running batch jobs. Harry wants to modify his stored procedures so that he can easily capture vital data-transformation or batch-job information and statistics, which will let him monitor a batch job's progress or provide counters about certain events the application defines. Help Harry provide a mechanism to raise events with an event description and the associated data without significantly modifying the application code. Also, monitor the events outside the database using tools or scripts as needed. For an example of the data Harry wants to return from his stored procedure, which invokes a series of jobs, go to
4. Events and Resources
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Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Attend and receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now!
Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005. SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Receive a 1-year membership to PASS and 1-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register Now!
5. Featured White Paper
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6. Peer to Peer
by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
For starters, don't assume that Address Windowing Extensions (AWE) is working in SQL Server unless you verify that it's enabled and using the amount of memory you expect. I've seen more than a dozen customer installations in the last year in which SQL Server wasn't using more than the default 2GB user-process address space even though the server had substantially more than 4GB of memory and the customer assumed that SQL Server was using the full amount of memory. This might happen for common reasons: the 'AWE enabled' option isn't set in SQL Server, the Microsoft Windows account that the SQL Server service is running under doesn't have the "lock pages in memory" permission granted (you'll see an explicit message in the SQL Server error log when SQL Server starts if this problem occurs), or the /PAE switch isn't set in the boot.ini file. If AWE is correctly enabled, you'll see the message "Address Windowing Extensions enabled" in the SQL Server error log. AWE isn't enabled if you don't see that confirmation.
Assigning row numbers has many practical applications, but what if your table has non-unique rows? You don't have to give up on the idea, but you do need to flex your logic muscles a bit. In his May T-SQL Black Belt column "Assigning Row Numbers for Non-Unique Rows," Itzik Ben-Gan adds a twist to calculating row numbers: dealing with non-unique rows. This twist makes the task more complex and requires you to apply more sophisticated logical deduction. Read this article today at
DBAs often try to use dynamic SQL to support Web searches. It's common practice to capture search data from Web pages and pass that data as parameters to a SQL Server stored procedure. The stored procedure then builds dynamic SQL and returns a result set. This approach provides flexibility for all dynamic searches but can expose SQL Server to malicious SQL commands called SQL injection. This security vulnerability occurs in the database layer when variables embedded in SQL statements escape and lets nefarious users retrieve data, alter server settings, or even take control of the server. In this month's Reader to Reader tip "How to Avoid SQL Injection," Raj Rathi shows you how dynamic SQL execution can be avoided by converting it to a static SQL search. Read this article today at
After a long, trans-Atlantic flight for the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) European conference in Munich, Kevin Kline was too jetlagged for a deep, technical discussion, so in this week's blog "Star Wars Ship Primer," he ventures off topic to share a cool Web site with readers who are anxiously awaiting the Star Wars Episode 3 release next week. If you're one of those people, check out http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=9CB2:7B3DB . This Web site shows the relative size of all the most famous space ships and star ships from popular science fiction. If you've ever wondered how an Imperial Star Destroyer stacks up against the Enterprise NCC-1701D, this is the Web site for you. Check it out and let Kevin know what you think today at
DTS: Incorrect Parameter Error Message
Performance: Monitoring CPU Usage
Administration: Contention Problem on Tempdb
Development: Need Help Writing SQL Statement
Administration: SQL Server CPU Usage at 100%
T-SQL: Incompatibility Between SQL Server 2000 64-Bit and 32-Bit Versions
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Your favorite products are on trial in the SQL Server 2005 Readers' Choice Awards. Cast your vote now and you could win an iPod Shuffle or a SQL Server Magazine T-shirt. Voting ends May 15, so don't miss out!
8. New & Improved
by Dawn Cyr, email@example.com
Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Tell us about it! If we print your story in the Hands On department, we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your product success story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fair Isaac announced Blaze Advisor 6.0, rules-management software that lets developers and business users easily create and modify automated decision processes. Organizations in such industries as insurance, telecommunications, banking, health care, and pharmaceuticals need to standardize and automate decision making across the enterprise. Blaze Advisor gives business users the ability to manage policies and business decisions through rule-maintenance applications. With business users in charge of managing business rules, IT professionals can concentrate on optimizing system resources and facilitating future IT system maintenance and upgrades. And by using a centralized enterprise repository of stored rules and practices, organizations can replicate their decision strategies across business systems to improve business operations. Enhanced query and management properties in the latest release give enterprises an extensive set of preconfigured queries that they can customize to meet specific user needs. Users can learn which rules are affecting a particular business process, and users can predict what rules and systems will be affected by system changes. Historical analyses of rule sets help in rules maintenance as well as regulatory compliance. Pricing for starting installations of Blaze Advisor begins at $50,000, and typical installations range in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. For more information and specific pricing, contact Fair Isaac at 800-342-6336, 408-535-1500, or email@example.com.
Sonasoft announced a new UI for its SonaSafe Point-Click Recovery Solution, which automates the backup and recovery process for SQL Server. Designed to simplify and eliminate human error in the backup and recovery process, SonaSafe solutions centralize the management of multiple servers and provide a cost-effective, turnkey disaster-recovery strategy for companies of all sizes. The new Web UI is easy to learn and use and eliminates the need to execute tasks from the command line. Built-in backup, restore, and recovery tasks eliminate the need for custom programming, reduce training costs, and minimize human error. The application also contains enhanced Help capabilities and includes best practices for backup and recovery in a Windows environment. For pricing or to request a free test drive of the software, contact Sonasoft at 408-927-6200.
O'Reilly announced "Access Hacks," a book by Ken Bluttman that takes users beyond the familiar tables, forms, and reports in Microsoft Access and offers new insights into making database applications more valuable and exciting. The book includes hacks to tickle every fancy, whether it's running Union queries, playing video files in Access, viewing Web sites within Access, or even controlling Access from another product. Each chapter explores a different facet of Access, beginning with the basics, then delving into tables, users' needs, and presentation. Later chapters deal with more advanced topics such as running queries, multi-user issues, external programs and data, programming, and third-party applications. The book contains 100 hacks that teach a variety of skills, including how to personalize Access applications with customized functionality; create slideshows, play videos, and view embedded reports in Access forms; use Microsoft Excel's function library in Access, use Word to find discrepancies in data, and automatically send Access data through Microsoft Outlook; and import and export XML data, provide XML content to any version of Access, or use Access as an XML database. "Access Hacks" is 333 pages long and costs $24.95. For more information or to order, contact O'Reilly at 800-998-9938, 707-827-7000, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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