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May 6, 2004—In this issue:

1. SQL Server Perspectives

  • Are Your Backups Useless?

2. News and Views

  • Got a Question? Ask Microsoft!
  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: BI Tools
  • New Instant Poll: Storage Spending

3. Announcements

  • Try a Sample Issue of Windows Scripting Solutions
  • Vote in Readers' Choice and Enter to Win a T-Shirt

4. Resources

  • What's New at sqlmag.com: Calculating Row Numbers in SQL Server 2005
  • Hot Thread: Transfer Logins Task
  • Tip: Understand the Role of MDX

5. Events Central

  • SQL Server Magazine Connections: Fall Dates

6. New and Improved

  • Access Developer and Connectivity Information

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SQL Server Magazine is a 360-degree resource loaded with must-read information covering database modeling, ADO.NET, XML, performance tuning, security and the latest topics that SQL Server database developers, administrators, and business intelligence architects need to know. Our expert authors deliver content that includes endless code listings, valuable tips, Web exclusive articles, active forums and all-around useful SQL Server information you can't find anywhere else. Try two (no-risk) sample issues today, and discover the value and timesaving qualities SQL Server Magazine has to offer. Order today:
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1. SQL Server Perspectives

  • Are Your Backups Useless?

  • (contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, brianm@sqlmag.com)

    SQL Server backups are useless if you can't recover them. Backups are simply big disk files unless you have a recovery mechanism that puts those bits back into SQL Server when you need them. So when was the last time you tested your restore strategy? I'm not asking whether you've performed a backup and run the RESTORE command manually to see whether the media is valid. I'm asking whether you've tested your restore methodology to make sure it works the way you think it does. Can you get your production database back up and running after a disaster? You must have a planned and tested restore methodology to be sure.

    Two weeks ago at SQL Server Magazine Connections in Orlando, Florida, I sat in on Kimberly Tripp's talk about SQL Server backup and restore. Kimberly presented a number of interesting tips, but her fundamental backup tenet is that the backup is useless without the ability to restore it. And you don't know that you can restore your backup unless you've fully tested your plan.

    I suspect that many of you don't have a well-tested backup and recovery plan. Testing backup and recovery plans can be difficult, especially if you don't have the hardware resources to do a complete dry run of a failure and recovery. For example, properly testing your restore methodology is hard to do if your production system is a one-tier warehouse and you don't have a test server of equal capacity. But budgeting for adequate testing and quality assurance equipment should be a non-negotiable part of an efficient data center. If you haven't planned how to recover your data and tested that plan, when a true disaster happens, you're asking for trouble.

    If you haven't tested your backup and recovery plan, your backups might not be as valuable as you think they are. Backing up is easy; getting the data back can be the hard part.


    2. News and Views

  • Got a Question? Ask Microsoft!

  • SQL Server Magazine is joining with members of Microsoft's SQL Server development team to bring you a new column that answers your most pressing questions. We've set up a new email address, askmicrosoft@sqlmag.com, and the following members of the development team are waiting for your SQL Server queries: Patrick Conlan (Project Server team), Donald Farmer (Data Transformation Services—DTS), Euan Garden (tools), Amrish Kumar (SQL engine), Ariel Netz (Analysis Server), Vaqar Pirzada (replication), Michael Raheem (tools), and Richard Waymire (business intelligence—BI—services). So don't delay, send in your technical questions on everything from T-SQL, DTS, server internals, replication, MDX programming, and management tools to ADO.NET, Common Language Runtime (CLR) programming with SQL Server, and architecting applications for performance and security. And as the development team helps answer your questions, it will also be helping another community by donating payment for the column to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
        askmicrosoft@sqlmag.com

  • Results of Previous Instant Poll: BI Tools

  • The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's Instant Poll for the question, "Which SQL Server business intelligence (BI) tools are you using?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 161 votes:
    • 22% OLAP
    • 12% Reporting Services
    • 1% Data mining
    • 19% More than one of the above
    • 46% None of the above

  • New Instant Poll: Storage Spending

  • The next Instant Poll question is "How much does your company plan to spend on storage products during the next 12 months?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) less than $10,000, 2) $10,001 to $50,000, 3) $50,001 to $100,000, 4) $100,001 to $500,000, or 5) more than $500,000.
        http://www.sqlmag.com

    3. Announcements

  • Try a Sample Issue of Windows Scripting Solutions

  • Windows Scripting Solutions is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to automate time-consuming, administrative tasks by using our simple downloadable code and scripting techniques. Sign up for a sample issue right now, and find out how you can save both time and money. Click here!

  • Vote in Readers' Choice and Enter to Win a T-Shirt

  • Vote for your favorite SQL Server products, and we'll enter you in a drawing for a free SQL Server Magazine t-shirt! The Readers' Choice Awards are your chance to make your voice heard and reward companies that provide excellent products and the best overall services. The September 2004 issue of SQL Server Magazine will feature the winners you pick. Click here

    4. Resources

  • What's New at sqlmag.com: Calculating Row Numbers in SQL Server 2005

  • One of SQL Server 2005's major new features is its integration of the .NET Framework, which will let you write stored procedures, triggers, and user-defined functions (UDFs) in any supported language, such as C# or Visual Basic .NET. But don't assume that T-SQL will be obsolete. Given the wealth of new T-SQL features and enhancements in SQL Server 2005, Microsoft obviously believes in T-SQL's future. In his new monthly Web-exclusive column, T-SQL Yukon, Itzik Ben-Gan will focus on T-SQL development in SQL Server 2005, and compare SQL Server 2000's T-SQL techniques with SQL Server 2005's techniques. In "Calculating Row Numbers in SQL Server 2005," Ben-Gan discusses the new ROW_NUMBER() function, which is one of four new analytical ranking functions that SQL Server 2005 implements. Read this article today at
         http://www.sqlmag.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=42302

  • Hot Thread: Transfer Logins Task

  • DocX needs to transfer login information from a SQL Server 7.0 box to a SQL Server 2000 box. DocX used the Data Transformation Services (DTS) Transfer Logins Task, left the Copy option on the default setting "all server logins detected at package runtime", and kept the destination on local. When DocX clicks Execute Task, the task fails with an unspecified error. Have you experienced something similar? Offer your advice and see what other people have said on SQL Server Magazine's Data Transformation Services (DTS) forum at
         http://www.winnetmag.com/sqlserver/forums/messageview.cfm?catid=1672&threadid=120485

  • Tip: Understand the Role of MDX

  • by Tom Chester

    Did you ever try to swim without getting wet? For all but the simplest of databases, that's what it's like when you try to design an OLAP solution without using MDX. Because shrink-wrap client software often negates the need to write MDX SELECT statements, many developers think they can successfully avoid MDX. This is folly. Sure, not every project requires MDX SELECT statements; commercial software is adequate for many situations. But MDX calculations should play an important role in most Analysis Services solutions, even those that aren't calculation-intensive on the surface.

    Perhaps the most common example is a virtual cube that's based on two or more source cubes. Calculated members are usually required to "glue" the virtual cube together into a seamless whole. Although the MDX isn't necessarily complex, developers unaware of the role of MDX wind up making costly mistakes. Either they avoid virtual cubes entirely, or they shift logic that's easily implemented in MDX to the extraction-transformation-load (ETL) process, where it's more complicated and rigidly set.

    5. Events Central


    For a complete guide to Web and live events, see
       http://www.winnetmag.com/events

  • SQL Server Magazine Connections: Fall Dates

  • The SQL Server Magazine Connections conference is coming to Las Vegas, Nevada, November 7-10 along with concurrently running events, Microsoft ASP.NET Connections and Visual Studio Connections. Register early and receive access to all three conferences for one low price and get the best early-bird discount. Call 203-268-3204 or 800-438-6720.
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/efmm0FgQMn0BRZ0qSH0AY

    6. New and Improved


    (contributed by Dawn Cyr, products@sqlmag.com)

  • Access Developer and Connectivity Information

  • DataDirect Technologies launched its Developer Center, a portal site that provides developers with information about connectivity standards and DataDirect products. The site includes product analyses, technical articles, interactive forums, and information about upcoming events and Webcasts. In addition, the site provides developers with technical information about DataDirect Technologies' data connectivity products and related standards-based interfaces such as ODBC, JDBC, and ADO.NET, as well as XML query technologies. You can access the Developer Center free at http://www.datadirect.com/techzone/index.ssp.
         http://lists.sqlmag.com/cgi-bin3/DM/y/efmm0FgQMn0BRZ0BHyI0Ac

    CONTACT US


    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • About SQL Server Perspectives — brianm@sqlmag.com
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      (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)
    • About technical Questions — http://www.sqlmag.com/forums
    • About Product News — products@sqlmag.com
    • About your subscription — sqlupdate@sqlmag.com
    • About sponsoring SQL SERVER MAGAZINE UPDATE? — Kate Silvertooth (ksilvertooth@sqlmag.com

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