In This Issue:
Four key concepts in Microsoft's "Your Data, Any Place, Any Time" vision emphasize the importance of SQL Server's shift from database to data platform.

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April 20, 2006

1. Perspectives

  • SQL Server: From Database to Data Platform
  • 2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

  • Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2005 SP1
  • 3. News & Views

  • MDAC Critical Security Vulnerability Uncovered
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: Microsoft BI
  • New Instant Poll: What is BI?
  • 4. Events and Resources

  • SQL Server Pop Quiz
  • Storage Alternatives
  • Leverage Your Mobile and Wireless Infrastructure
  • Gain Control of Your Messaging Data
  • 5. Featured White Paper

  • Secure Your Online Data Transfer with SSL
  • 6. Peer to Peer

  • Hot Tip: Executing Statements in a User Database
  • Hot Article: The Challenge of Complexity
  • In a Nutshell: Anything New on the Horizon for BPA
  • Hot Threads
  • 7. Announcements

  • SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, and Forums
  • Exclusive Spring Savings
  • 8. New & Improved

  • Automatically Create Test Data
  • Compare SQL Server Databases

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    1. Perspectives

    SQL Server: From Database to Data Platform
    by Brian Moran,

    Paul Flessner, senior vice president of server applications at Microsoft, recently released an open letter to the SQL Server community describing Microsoft's database platform vision for the next decade. Today we'll explore a few of the topics Flessner covered, but I encourage you to read the entire letter at Perhaps one of the most interesting items in Flessner's letter is the move towards viewing SQL Server and related technologies as a data platform instead of just a database.

    The letter outlines Microsoft's vision of "Your Data, Any Place, Any Time," the company's cohesive strategy for dealing with the ever-expanding amount of data that needs to be tracked, stored, and seamlessly accessed. In his letter, Flessner says, "Today, the cost of storage continues to be on an amazing trajectory; one could reasonably expect that the cost of a terabyte will be reduced from about $1000 today to $100 in 2007...and the petabyte will be a standard measure of personal storage."

    Wow! That's a lot of storage. Honestly, it's hard to imagine ever needing that amount of space at a personal level, but then again, there is a lot of junk in my desk.

    "Your Data, Any Place, Any Time" is a catchy slogan, and I suspect it will be getting a lot of air time at Microsoft events, briefings, and strategy sessions. Over the next several releases of SQL Server, Microsoft plans to invest heavily in the following four key areas:

    • Continuous Availability and Automation
    • Beyond Relational
    • Dynamic Applications
    • End-To-End Insight

    What kind of timeframe can we anticipate for Microsoft's vision to unfold? Flessner's letter says, "We will work on this vision over the next several releases of SQL Server, which we expect to deliver on a anticipated schedule of one release approximately every 24-36 months." If Microsoft is planning on new releases every two to three years, then we can assume the company will be strategically working on SQL Server for the next decade. Assuming that these ideas aren't a flash in the pan, it probably pays to start becoming aware Microsoft's vision, especially if you're a SQL Server professional. Of course, if you're not a hard-core SQL Server jock, you might still be wondering how and when you're going to upgrade to SQL Server 2005, and worrying about the next decade might be a bit beyond your timeline for now.

    The term data platform might be a subtle change, but I think the platform emphasis says a lot about Microsoft's plan for "Your Data, Any Place, Any Time" over the next decade. How does this vision affect us today? Well, in the short-term, I don't think we'll see a lot of changes in the day-to-day operations of SQL Server, at least in terms of new features not already delivered in SP1. Mirroring is the only feature in SQL AlwaysOn sub-branding that is actually delivered now. Stick around, as I'm going to explore that angle in a lot more detail next week. In future editions of SQL UPDATE, we'll be reviewing what Microsoft means when they say they plan to invest in the four key areas mentioned above. Today, these ideas are more vision than meat.

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    2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

    Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2005 SP1

    Yesterday, Microsoft announced the availability of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1). The service pack includes Database Mirroring, SQL Server Management Studio Express, and additional options for independent software vendors (ISVs). The new production-ready version of Database Mirroring is part of SQL Server Always On Technologies, a new high-availability feature. SQL Server Management Studio Express is a management tool that offers management dialog boxes; graphical designers for databases, tables, views, and queries; and graphical query execution plan display.

    In addition to the standard SQL Server 2005 Express download, a new option, SQL Server 2005 Express with Advanced Services, is available with SP1 for customers who want additional functionality. This new option includes SQL Server Management Studio Express, Reporting Services, and Full-Text Search.

    Finally, SQL Server Reporting Services is now better able to support SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence with two new components in SP1: a Microsoft .NET provider for SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence and a new MDX Query Designer. This new functionality lets SAP customers benefit from SQL Server enterprise reporting.

    The release of SQL Server 2005 SP1 follows last month's Community Technology Preview (CTP), which gave customers a preview of the new technology and let Microsoft use customer feedback to enhance the release. The SP1 CTP was part of the new SQL Server customer collaboration model, which provides more consistent feature and security updates and increases opportunities for customers to provide feedback. You can download the service packs for SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express editions at

    3. News & Views

    MDAC Critical Security Vulnerability Uncovered

    Microsoft confirmed a vulnerability in the RDS.Dataspace ActiveX control that's distributed with the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) function in the Windows OS. An unspecified error in the behavior of RDS.Dataspace ActiveX control could allow remote code execution such as installing programs; viewing, changing, or deleting data; or creating new accounts with full user rights. Accounts configured with more administrator user rights are at the greatest risk. All versions of MDAC have a critical severity rating. Microsoft has issued a security update to deal with the vulnerability. To learn how to download and deploy this update, see Microsoft Security Bulletin MS06-014,"Vulnerability in the Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) Function Could Allow Code Execution (911562)" at

    Results of Previous Instant Poll: Microsoft BI
    "Are you using Microsoft BI?" Here are the results from the 72 votes:

  • 24% Yes, Microsoft BI is core to our business.
  • 8% We use BI regularly, but we don't use Microsoft BI tools.
  • 18% We've begun to roll out Microsoft BI solutions.
  • 15% We'd love to start using BI, but don't know where to begin.
  • 35% BI? What's BI?
  • New Instant Poll: What is BI?
    "To me, business intelligence is..." Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( ) and submit your vote for:

  • Getting information to high-level executives who plan our business strategy
  • Getting information to sales staff so that they can improve our sales
  • Setting up automated reporting so that business users can get reports without bugging IT
  • All of the above
  • An oxymoron

  • 4. Events and Resources

    Are you a SQL Server Superhero? Take our free pop quiz to prove that you are, and you'll be entered to win a PSP!

    Learn about the advantages of each alternative to traditional file servers and tape storage solutions, and make the best choice for your enterprise needs.

    Industry guru Randy Franklin Smith helps you identify what you should do to leverage your mobile and wireless infrastructure, how to pick devices that are right for you, and more!

    Gain control of your messaging data with step-by-step instructions for complying with the law, ensuring your systems are working properly, and ultimately making your job easier.

    See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.

    5. Featured White Paper

    Secure Your Online Data Transfer with SSL
    Increase your customers' confidence and your business by securely collecting sensitive information online. In this free white paper, you'll learn about the various applications of SSL certificates and how to deploy them appropriately, along with details about how to test SSL on your Web server.

    6. Peer to Peer

    Hot Tip:
    Executing Statements in a User Database

    by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team,

    This month, we look at how to execute statements in the context of a user database. We know that we can't embed GO statements because they aren't a T-SQL language construct, but we need to execute some statements (e.g., DBCC CHECKTABLE) in the context of the database. How can we write a routine that does this for all user databases?

    Read this tip today at

    Hot Article:
    The Challenge of Complexity

    With all its enhancements, SQL Server 2005 is a prime example of increasingly complex software. Although you can't control the increasing complexity of your operating environment and the products that you use as a DBA and developer, there are a couple things you can do to avoid passing complexity on to your end users. In his April editorial "The Challenge of Complexity," Michael Otey examines the rising tide of complexity in IT. Read this article today and post your comments at

    In a Nutshell:
    Anything New on the Horizon for BPA

    This week, Kevin Kline tells you how you can send Microsoft your ideas for improving the SQL Server Best Practice Analyzer. Read the blog and let Kevin know your opinions at

    Hot Threads:
    Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.

    • Administration: Disabling a Database's Constraints and Table Keys All at Once
    • T-SQL: Cleanup Parameters
    • Performance: INSERT Performance Problem
    • Development: Creating Excel Report from Dynamic Table

    Hot Spot
    Learn the 12 critical capabilities needed in your virtual lab automation solution to meet the increasing demands from virtualization technology.

    7. Announcements

    SQL Server Performance Tips, Articles, and Forums
    Hundreds of free tips and articles on SQL Server performance tuning and clustering. And get quick and accurate answers to your performance- and cluster-related questions in our forum. All from the SQL Server performance and clustering authority:

    Exclusive Spring Savings
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    8. New & Improved

    by Blake Eno,

    Automatically Create Test Data
    Grid-Tools announced GT Datamaker 1.9, a database-testing tool that now supports IBM DB2 and MySQL in addition to its existing support for Oracle and SQL Server. GT Datamaker provides test data for different cases in your production environment. The product can either model your existing data or build new sets of test data. You can also create standard test cases for the base of all new test cases, providing data inheritance capabilities. Any changes made to standard cases will be applied to all inheriting test cases. You can also build a test-data repository so that you can control and reuse test cases. For more information, contact Grid-Tools at 914-595-1710 or

    Compare SQL Server Databases
    Kentico Software announced Kentico Compare SQL, a tool that lets you compare table definitions, table views, stored procedures, and functions between your SQL Server 2005, 2000, and SQL Server 2005 Express databases. When you compare databases through Compare SQL's UI, you specify the source and target databases. Compare SQL then reads the structure of both databases and displays any differences. A free trial is available for downloading. Pricing for Kentico Compare SQL starts at $49 for a single-user license. For more information, contact Kentico Software at 888-225-2767 or

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