In This Issue:
The "spreadmart" phenomenon harms businesses by creating multiple, unreliable versions of data. Can Microsoft's solutions—or other alternatives—stop the uncontrolled spread of data?

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June 15, 2006

1. Perspectives

  • Spread the Love: The Challenge of Corralling Scattered Data

2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

  • Just in Time: Microsoft Releases JDBC Driver Fix
  • Product Watch: ComponentOne and Altova

3. Hot Articles

  • Q&A: Define Attribute Relationships for Better Performance
  • Editorial: SQL Server 2005 SP1
  • In a Nutshell: SQL Down Under with Gert Drapers

4. Events and Resources

  • Win the a new iPod (for Mac or PC)
  • Maximize Your VoIP Environment
  • Use a SQL Server Database Utility to Lower Operational Costs
  • Learn About Application Errors and Methods
  • Attend TechDays 2006

5. Featured White Paper

  • Extend Windows Rights Management Services

6. Announcements

  • Summer Special—Save 58% On SQL Server Magazine
  • June Special—Save $80 On the Windows IT Security Newsletter

7. Web Community

  • http://www.sqlmag.com

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1. Perspectives

Spread the Love: The Challenge of Corralling Scattered Data
by Brian Moran, brian@solidqualitylearning.com

I took my first database class at Penn State back in 1987. I still remember one of the first lectures, in which we tried to debate and define what a database is. We agreed that a well-organized metal file cabinet had characteristics of a database, and I remember the professor quoting statistics to highlight that the vast majority of corporate data was stored in loosely structured electronic formats such as spreadsheets rather than the "real" databases that we would be studying. The more things change the more they stay the same. I suspect that wide swaths of the global business community still store huge amounts of data outside of "real" databases.

The Double-Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary ( http://www.doubletongued.org ), a fun site that records undocumented or under-documented words from the fringes of the English language, provides a quotation from the Info-Tech Research Group article "Spreadmarts Bad for Business." The article explains a spreadmart as follows:

When spreadsheets containing valuable corporate data are duplicated uncontrollably, and then modified differently by different users, each file becomes a separate version of the "truth." Each one of these fractured versions of the truth is called a "spreadmart." Coined by Wayne Eckerson in 2002, spreadmart is a word meaning both spreadsheet and data mart.

I plan to explore the spreadmart idea in multiple upcoming columns. I'm also going to take the liberty of expanding the term spreadmart to include sources of data that might not be traditionally viewed as business intelligence (BI) data. For example, some colleagues, a member of the SQL Server Development team, and I recently had a conversation about real-time BI, and we wondered whether building tools on top of RSS feeds would be real-time BI. This idea might not traditionally fit into the BI arena, but it's arguably an interesting way to use BI tools.

I know that the spreadmart phenomenon is a data-management problem that various groups at Microsoft have been trying to address, and numerous tools in the current Microsoft suite--such as Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server, and Microsoft Office InfoPath—can address spreadmarts in different ways. Microsoft's pending Office 2007 release includes several interesting server-based technologies, and improvements to existing products will further the goal of dealing with spreadmart. At TechEd this week, Microsoft is making several BI-related announcements that I will cover in upcoming articles. And just last Tuesday, the company announced Microsoft Office PerformancePoint Server 2007, an integrated BI platform that will tie together all the company's BI tools.

What do you think about spreadmart? Is it a problem that we can ever really solve? I think this will be an interesting topic for on-and-off debate over the next few months, and I look forward to hearing from you on the subject. Send your thoughts to me at brian@solidqualitylearning.com.


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2. SQL Server 2005 Watch

Just in Time: Microsoft Releases JDBC Driver Fix
Microsoft released a hotfix that addresses an error that occurs when you're using the SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver. The error occurs when you use the getTimestamp(,,Calendar) method or the setTimestamp(,,Calendar) method in a prepared statement. The prepared statement runs on the SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver connection, but the SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver may not return the correct dates. Typically, this problem occurs in geographical areas that are on the boundary of daylight-saving time. Microsoft provides a hotfix to resolve the problem, as well as steps for reproducing the problem, in the article "FIX: The SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver may not return the correct dates when you use the getTimestamp(,,Calendar) method or the setTimestamp(,,Calendar) method in a prepared statement" at
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/917055/en-us

Product Watch
by Blake Eno, products@sqlmag.com

New Components Enhance Development Experience
ComponentOne announced ComponentOne Studio Enterprise 2006 2, a component toolset for Windows, Web, and mobile application development. The product features Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (AJAX)-enabled components—including WebGrid, WebReports, WebTreeView, WebTabStrip, and WebTopicBar—to help you build Web interfaces. New productivity technology, SmartDesigners, helps you set components' most common properties without leaving the design surface. In addition, Studio Enterprise features new visual elements to WinForm and WebForm charts. For more information, contact ComponentOne at 412-681-4343 or 800-858-2739.
http://www.componentone.com

Altova Upgrades XML Product Line
Altova announced upgrades to its XML tools product line, which includes StyleVision 2006, Authentic 2006, XMLSpy 2006, and MapForce 2006. StyleVision 2006, a visual style sheet designer, now includes Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and JavaScript support, in addition to numerous usability enhancements. XMLSpy 2006, an XML editor and IDE for modeling, editing, transforming, and debugging XML-related technologies, now includes XML validation and error-tracking capabilities. MapForce 2006, a graphical data-integration and Web services implementation tool, now features integration with Microsoft Visual Studio .NET. For a complete list of new features and pricing information, contact Altova at 978-816-1600 or sales@altova.com.
http://www.altova.com


3. Hot Articles

Q&A: Define Attribute Relationships for Better Performance
by Douglas McDowell, Douglas@solidqualitylearning.com

When you're architecting a Unified Dimensional Model (UDM) to enhance processing or query performance, one item to consider is how to define (or not define) the relationships between key and non-key attributes in your dimensions. If you build a dimension on a single table, as you would with a star schema, all of your non-key attributes will automatically be related to the key attribute. If you build a dimension on multiple tables, as you would with a snowflake schema, the non-key attributes will automatically be related to the key attribute in each table and to the key attribute and foreign key attribute. Attribute relationships can become complex, so it's important to understand how they operate so that you can make the necessary changes

Read this complete tip today at
http://www.sqlmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/49696/49696.html

Editorial: SQL Server 2005 SP1
It took Microsoft five years to come out with the SQL Server 2005 release but only five months for the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1). At first glance, it seems like Microsoft rushed out a buggy product with SQL Server 2005 and the company's now rushing to try and patch all the holes left in last November's release. However, Michael Otey believes the first service pack wasn't driven by a bug issue. Instead, it's a push to deliver the features missing from the initial release of SQL Server 2005—most notably database mirroring, an important feature in the very first CTPs of SQL Server 2005. Read Otey's May Editorial "SQL Server 2005 SP1" and post your comments at
http://www.sqlmag.com/Articles/ArticleID/50015/50015.html

In a Nutshell: SQL Down Under with Gert Drapers
This week, Kevin Kline provides a link to SQL Down Under Show 17, which features SQL Server Development Team guru Gert Drapers discussing Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals. Follow the link and let Kevin know what you thought of the show today at
http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/50545/50545.html


4. Events and Resources

Win the a new iPod (for Mac or PC)
Download a Windows IT Pro podcast on Windows IT Pro Radio by your favorite author, editor, or industry figure. You'll automatically be entered to win!
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Maximize your VoIP environment by integrating FoIP technology to increase ROI and streamline processes.
http://www.windowsitpro.com/go/toolkit/faxback/?code=0614emailannc

Learn to use a database utility for SQL Server to lower operational costs, simplify management, and increase the availability of your SQL Server deployment. Live event: Tuesday, June 20.
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Attend TechDays 2006—two days of technical training for IT Professionals on Microsoft and Cisco Technologies. Friday 6/23 and Saturday 6/24 from 9am-4pm (both days). Located at Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA. Price is $1299. Your cost is $299 and includes lunch, drink, snacks and all the information your mind can hold! Enter code PENTON when you register at
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See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.
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5. Featured White Paper

Extend Windows Rights Management Services (RMS) to support enterprise requirements for protecting information, including proprietary business data.
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6. Announcements

Summer Special—Save 58% On SQL Server Magazine
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7. Web Community

Hot Threads
http://sqlforums.windowsitpro.com/web/forum/default.aspx?forumid=10

Reader-to-Reader
http://www.sqlmag.com/Departments/DepartmentID/731/Reader%20to%20Reader.html

New Instant Poll
http://www.sqlmag.com/

In a Nutshell Blog:
http://www.sqlmag.com/Departments/DepartmentID/965/965.html


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