IT professionals are inundated with information that isn't useful for getting their jobs done. Most vendors, including Microsoft, produce in-depth technical information about how things work but fail to produce material that ties all the pieces together. That's why best practices documents that provide the big picture view are so valuable. This month, Microsoft published the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services Operations Guide, available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/sql/maintain/operate/anservog.asp. If you're responsible for building and maintaining an Analysis Services environment, you should read this document. This Analysis Services operations guide is similar to the SQL Server 2000 operations guide that Microsoft published two years ago. The Analysis Services guide includes practical, field-tested advice about how to run and maintain your analysis servers and covers topics ranging from configuration management to security to availability--and more. The Analysis Services operations guide complements the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services Performance Guide that Microsoft published last June. The performance guide deals with topics ranging from data modeling to server design to MDX optimizations. It's available at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/prodtechnol/sql/maintain/optimize/ansvcspg.asp. Both novice and experienced Analysis Services developers and administrators can build or refine their skills with the help of these guides.

Regular readers of my weekly SQL Server Magazine UDPATE commentary should be familiar with my complaints about IT professionals "drowning in a sea of information." I know the importance of macro-level information that explains the best way to make all the puzzle pieces fit together, so I enjoy telling my readers about valuable best practices resources. Learn and enjoy!