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November 6, 2003—In this issue:
- MCDBA Does Have Value
2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
- Help SQL Server Magazine Celebrate Its 5th Anniversary
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: MSDN
- New Instant Poll: CLR Programming
- Looking for a New SQL Server Resource?
- A Grass-Roots Database Resource for You
- New in SQL Server Magazine: King of the Hill
- Hot Thread: Backup Failure
- Tip: Turn to Profiler First
5. HOT RELEASES (ADVERTISEMENTS)
- Win $25,000 with Insider Training
- PolyServe Matrix Server Clustering Software
- 2004 Date Announced: SQL Server Magazine Connections
- Need Fast Answers to Your SQL Server Questions?
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Manage .NET Development Projects
- Build Programming and Development Skills
7. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Where should SQL Server novices start if they want to gain mastery of the product? Working towards becoming a Microsoft Certified DBA (MCDBA) is a great place to begin. This advice might seem to contradict comments I made last week, but I want to make a distinction. Passing the test is meaningless unless you want to learn and understand the MCDBA program's content. A dedicated MCDBA candidate will learn a great deal about SQL Server. The MCDBA certification process is a good map for beginners who are trying to take their understanding of SQL Server to the next level. Novices can learn about SQL Server without worrying about certification, but the MCDBA program provides a framework for accomplishing specific knowledge objectives.
I've written a lot about the MCDBA certification process over the last few weeks, and I still believe that the current MCDBA isn't an adequate measure of SQL Server expertise (or even competence). However, I received several reader emails that asked, "I'm new to SQL Server and was planning to get certified. Now I'm confused; should I pursue the certification?" So, I wanted to address the aspects of the MCDBA certification process that are worthwhile.
Getting an MCDBA isn't like passing the bar exam to become a lawyer or spending a good part of your life becoming a doctor. That doesn't mean that the MCDBA certification has no merit. I do think it's a worthwhile process for individuals who are serious about learning the technical content that the exams include and assess.
Going to the gym every day won't make you stronger, faster, or slimmer unless you work hard while you're there. You can buy a fancy set of workout clothes and impress people by going every day, but you won't see much improvement without some sweat and pain. Likewise, just having an MCDBA doesn't prove anything, but you'll learn a lot if you take the MCDBA process seriously and sweat a bit along the way. I congratulate everyone who's passed the MCDBA the right way. You should be proud of the time and energy you've invested in your career!
P.S. I'd still like to hear from you about what Microsoft can do to create a masters-level certification that will do a better job of evaluating an individual's level of SQL Server expertise.
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2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
Our 5th birthday's coming up, and we're inviting you to help us celebrate. Let us know which favorite, classic SQL Server tips from the magazine you still keep handy, or send in valuable, time-saving techniques that you've discovered on the job. We'll share the best design, administration, development, and OLAP tips and techniques with other readers in our March 2004 issue. Let us know what you've found useful! Submit your nominations and tips to email@example.com by December 1, 2003; be sure to include your name, email address, and daytime phone number.
The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's Instant Poll for the question, "Do you subscribe to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN)?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 239 votes:
- 54% Yes, and I find it valuable
- 6% Yes, but I don't find it valuable
- 14% No, but I plan to
- 26% No, and I don't plan to
The next Instant Poll question is "Which CLR-compliant language will you use to write server-side code when Yukon is deployed?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and vote for 1) Visual Basic .NET, 2) C#, 3) C++, 4) Other, or 5) None—we're sticking with T-SQL for server-side code.
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(brought to you by SQL Server Magazine and its partners)
The SQL Server Magazine article archive is an endless library of helpful SQL Server content. Take advantage of the search box and navigation toolbar on the site to access new articles or archived articles and get the most up-to-date SQL Server tips and expertise. Don't waste any more time—click here:
Visit SSWUG.org (SQL Server Worldwide User's Group) and get an immediacy of SQL Server support and information. By becoming a member, you will have access to latest news, tips, security bulletins and immediate responses to issues with SQL Server, Oracle and XML technologies. Click here today and view the benefits:
This year's Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) TPC-C benchmarks prove that while getting to the top is tough, staying there is even tougher. In his editorial "King of the Hill," Michael Otey asserts that even in the face of fierce competition for the top non-clustered TPC-C score, Microsoft has proved that SQL Server performance rivals that of any other database solution. Read this November SQL Server Magazine article at
Rashd60 has been using a job in a backup file to back up SQL Server. Although the job has worked for several months, recently the job has failed with the error message
BackupDiskFile::CreateMedia: Backup device
'e:\MSQL2k\MSSQL\BACKUP\CD_DB_BKP.BAK' failed to create.
Operating system error = 32(The process cannot access the file
because it is being used by another process.).
What has happened to make the job fail? Read what other people have said, and offer your suggestions on SQL Server Magazine's Administration forum at
(contributed by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q. How can I use T-SQL to programmatically determine the number of processors that my SQL Server machine has?
A. The following command will return the information you need:
However, I'm a big fan of teaching people how to fish instead of giving them a plate of frozen fish sticks, so I can't possibly stop with that simple answer. When a colleague recently asked me this question, I didn't remember the name of the appropriate command. But I know that Enterprise Manager displays a machine's number of processors on the Processor tab of the SQL Server Properties dialog box. I also know that Enterprise Manager gets nearly all of its information by running simple T-SQL commands against the server, and I know that, by running SQL Server Profiler, I can quickly view the commands that Enterprise Manager generates.
I've often used this column to elaborate on the benefits of using Profiler and of learning by watching what SQL Server does, and here's another example that puts that advice into practice. I isolated Enterprise Manager's calls to the xp_msver extended stored procedure in about 3 minutes by using Profiler—the tool I always look to first in situations such as this.
Send technical questions to email@example.com.
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6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Dawn Cyr, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Merant announced Merant Dimensions for Microsoft .NET, change-management software that lets developers working in Microsoft .NET track, manage, and coordinate multiple development projects and teams in realtime without leaving the .NET environment to implement change-management procedures. Merant's change-management framework includes configuration-management features, which let developers manage product versions, design, baselines, builds, and releases; change-management features, which let developers create, manage, track, and audit changes; and lifecycle-management features that let developers define, automate, and enforce processes and align their projects with business and IT needs. The product supports Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2000, and includes a Visual Studio .NET Industry Partner Program- (VSIP) certified add-in for the Visual Studio .NET IDE. For more information and pricing, contact Merant at 800-547-7827, email@example.com, or
Addison-Wesley Professional announced ten new books for developers. The titles address a range of topics of interest to SQL Server developers and include Ken Henderson's "The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Architecture and Internals," Ted Pattison and Joe Hummel's "Building Applications and Components with Visual Basic .NET," Dan Fox and Jon Box's "Building Solutions with the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework: Architecture and Best Practices for Mobile Development," James S. Miller's "The Common Language Infrastructure Annotated Standard," and Alex Homer and Dave Sussman's "A First Look at ASP.NET v 2.0" and "A First Look at ADO.NET and System XML v. 2.0." For pricing and information about all ten new titles, visit the Addison-Wesley Professional Web site at
7. CONTACT US
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