A few months ago, I highlighted the SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide, a handy document designed to help operations teams that are responsible for managing SQL Server's day-to-day operations. The guide offers a wealth of valuable SQL Server information, but I like it for another important reason.

As I've said before, it's easy to feel as though you're drowning in a sea of information. The Web contains an unimaginable, indigestible amount of free technical information. Unfortunately, that overwhelming fount of information can make it difficult to find the answer you're looking for. In addition, a lot of technical information that Microsoft publishes is task oriented and focuses on narrow areas of technology, making it difficult to understand how everything fits together when you're building a real-world solution. One way to address this information-overload problem is to create a best-practices guide, and that's exactly what Microsoft has done with the SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide.

Microsoft is making considerable effort to produce more of these kinds of documents and is funding several internal groups to address this need. In addition to the SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide, here are some best-practices documents from these groups that target the back-end IT professional:

Other reference guides, such as the following, are geared to the professional developer:

  • Reference Arch for Commerce (Version 1).
    Microsoft will pull this guide when it posts the final version sometime in December.
  • Reference Architecture for Commerce: Business to Consumer(Version 2-Beta)
  • Microsoft .NET/COM Migration and Interoperability
  • Monitoring in .NET Distributed Application Design
  • Exception Management in .NET
  • Authentication in ASP.NET: .NET Security Guidance
  • Besides the SQL Server 2000 Operations Guide, SQL Server professionals will probably be most interested in the Reference Arch for Commerce documents and the Internet Data Center Guide. The Internet DataCenter Guide describes how to design a secure, scalable, highly available, and manageable Internet data center based on Microsoft products. One chapter, which contains more than 60 pages of text, is dedicated to SQL Server implementation concerns and provides valuable insights into areas such as securing SQL Server, optimizing SQL Server performance, scaling out with SQL Server federations, and clustering SQL Server for high availability.

    Let me know how you're faring in the face of information overload and how valuable you find best-practices guides. I'm in the process of talking with Microsoft about the best-practices topics that are most valuable to the SQL Server community, and I'd love to pass along your suggestions. I'm a big fan of the Microsoft groups producing these types of documents because I think the guides are invaluable to the community if properly done. If you agree, I encourage you to express your support for these initiatives to the people you work with at Microsoft.