Must-reads for database aficionados

Whether or not your job description includes data security, you can take a crash course in information warfare by picking up Dorothy Denning's Information Warfare and Security (Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1998). This book provides a readable overview of offensive and defensive information warfare, including methods and technologies, actors, policies, and laws. Denning, an internationally known pioneer in cryptography, is a professor at Georgetown University and has written more than 100 papers on computer security. But don't expect a Windows NT-specific focus, nor detailed descriptions of cryptography algorithms such as the ones in Bruce Schneier's classic Applied Cryptography (John Wiley & Sons, 1995).

While you're at it, subscribe to the NT security discussion list. Send an email to majordomo@iss.net with the message "subscribe ntsecurity" or "subscribe ntsecurity-digest," depending on the version you'd like to receive (all messages as they're posted or a daily digest). This list is for NT administrators, but even if you only skim the daily digests, you're bound to pick up ideas that will help you protect your company's SQL Server data.

Another top choice for your bookshelf: the new third edition of Toby J. Teorey's Database Modeling & Design (Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 1994). Teorey originally wrote this 300-page book for the academic market, so it includes chapter-end exercises (try them!) and fairly copious bibliographic references. But the University of Michigan professor's explanations of entity-relationship modeling, normalization, and data-access methods (how B and B+ trees work, for example) are the most readable I've found. This third edition has been updated to cover OLAP and star schema.

And, finally, I recommend—of the few books I've seen so far about SQL Server 7.0—SQL Server 7 Developer's Guide (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1999) by SQL Server Magazine senior technical editor Michael Otey and coauthor Paul Conte. And Kalen Delaney's rewrite of Ron Soukup's Inside Microsoft SQL Server 6.5, Inside Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 with CDROM (Microsoft Press, 1999), promises to be a classic.


Hot Tips, Resources, and News

SIZE IT RIGHT
You can download the 1.8MB ProLiant Sizer for Microsoft SQL Server (6.5 or 7.0) from Compaq's activeAnswers site (http://www.compaq.com/activeanswers/about/lobby.html). This site also reports on Compaq's impressive backup and restore throughput performance: "the best Windows NT average ever recorded, 609GB/hour for online backup and 536GB/hour for restore throughput for Microsoft SQL Server, Enterprise Edition 7.0." The benchmark used an eight-processor Compaq AlphaServer 8400 with 625MHz processors attached to 2.2TB of StorageWorks disk drives and 32 Compaq AIT tape drives running a 263GB SQL Server 7.0 database on NT Server Enterprise Edition 4.0.

BUY 7.0 TO GET 6.5
Want to install a new copy of SQL Server 6.5? You'll have to buy a SQL 7.0 license and then contact Microsoft's Worldwide Fulfillment Center for SQL 6.5 media. However, if you already have SQL Server 6.5 and plan to continue using it through the infamous Y2K boundary, plan to apply Service Pack 4.0, which also includes support for the Euro (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/topics/year2k/ product/product.htm).

THE SAP/MICROSOFT COMBO
SAP and Microsoft announced that SAP customers can acquire SQL Server 7.0 with SAP R/3 solutions under a single license. SAP and Microsoft have had this deal in the works for more than two years (SAP can even export its components to the Microsoft Repository), and five major organizations, including Microsoft, beta tested the product and had the combo in production by January 1999.

SERVICE PACK: START DROOLING
The new SQL Server 7.0 resource kit might be shipping by the time you read this, but if not, here's news to whet your appetite. We've heard that the service pack will include utilities that generate decent sample data, provide graphical SQL object namespace browsing, support remote command line start/stop of SQL services, provide OLAP trace services, and more. No promises, mind you.