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December 19, 2002—In this issue:
- Competitive Analysis, with a Grain of Salt
2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
- Microsoft Delivers Web Services Tool Update
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: Debugging T-SQL
- New Instant Poll: Dodging Downtime
- The Microsoft Mobility Tour Is Coming Soon to a City Near You!
- SQL Server Buyers' Directory—It's All Here
- What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Shutting Down SQL Server
- Hot Thread: Different Recovery Models Within Same Database?
- Tip: Covered Query vs. Covering Index
5. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT)
- SQL Server Magazine Connections 3-for-1 Offer
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- SQL Server Training for Programmers
- Analyze Database Performance Problems
7. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
Editor's note: Because of the holidays, SQL Server Magazine UPDATE will be on hiatus for the next 2 weeks. Look for the next edition January 9. In addition, a special edition of SQL Server Magazine UPDATE will mail on January 6. Have a safe and happy holiday season, and we'll see you next year.
(contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Customers are constantly trying to understand the differences between various databases, seeking price and feature differentiators that can give their organization a competitive advantage. SQL Server Magazine UPDATE readers regularly ask me to compare SQL Server with other databases, and I often see messages like the following on SQL Server newsgroups and forums: "We're currently using Sybase 12.0. Our boss is thinking about switching to SQL Server 2000 but asked me to research the pros and cons of the two database systems first. Can anyone point me to some competitive-analysis information?"
In my years as a consultant, I've learned it's impossible to get a truly unbiased and accurate answer to questions like this from any one source. Most people who are expert enough to answer a deep competitive-analysis question usually have prejudices that can skew their analysis. And most people who can offer a genuinely unbiased answer don't know enough to give a deep analysis of any of the platforms.
I'm not suggesting that people lie when they answer such questions. Take me, for example. I don't say something positive about SQL Server that I don't mean, and I don't hesitate to ping the product in areas where I think it's weak. But I spend my time working with SQL Server because I honestly think it's a valuable product. I filter SQL Server information through my personal lens of reality and tend to have a pro-SQL Server outlook on the world. Talented database professionals in the worlds of Oracle, DB2, and other database products feel passionately about their products and genuinely believe that their particular database is the superior platform. (Of course, I'm right, and they're wrong
So customers with questions about competing products should never accept the first answer they receive. The truth is usually found somewhere between two extremes; you get the best competitive-analysis answers by seeking opinions from both product camps and comparing the relative strengths and weakness noted by both sides.
Finding trustworthy competitive information from a vendor is even trickier. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that such analysis from a Microsoft site will be pro-Microsoft. And http://www.oracle.com probably doesn't have many white papers touting the benefits of SQL Server. That said, I recently discovered a valuable resource for getting Microsoft's view of the competitive database world: the SQL Server Competitive Comparisons site at http://microsoft.com/sql/evaluation/compare/default.asp. You need to study the information with your "it's from the vendor" filter in place and compare it to similar pages that other vendors provide. But you'll find many third-party analyst reports and Microsoft-generated content that contains some valuable, verifiable facts. Such sites give you a great place to start your competitive analysis, but don't stop there. Seek out feedback from people and organizations that are using SQL Server and the other databases you're researching. And remember to keep your salt shaker handy.
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2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com)
This week, Microsoft delivered an update to its Visual Studio .NET software-development tool that lets programmers more easily build advanced, secure Web services. Web Services enhancements 1.0 for Microsoft .NET (WSE) integrates with Visual Studio .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework and supports technologies such as Web Services Security (WS-Security), Web Services Routing Protocol (WS-Routing), and WS-Attachments. This final release follows the tool's April 2002 technical preview.
Hosting companies such as F5 Networks, WestGlobal, and WRQ are already using WSE to help customers build and deploy Web services, Microsoft says. "We are working with Microsoft's WSE and Visual Studio .NET to help customers radically shorten their time to market," said Jim Ritchings, vice president of business development at F5 Networks, a provider of Application Traffic Management solutions. "As a result of WSE, F5 Networks can provide unprecedented network automation and optimization for rapid and secure deployment of XML Web services and applications."
Microsoft says it will update WSE over time to support emerging Web services capabilities. WSE is available now from Microsoft as a free download.
The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What's your primary method of debugging T-SQL code?" Here are the results (+/- 1 percent) from the 415 votes:
- 3% Using the Visual Studio T-SQL debugger
- 14% Using SQL Server Profiler
- 28% Using PRINT statements embedded in the code
- 31% By analyzing the results and rereading the code
The next Instant Poll question is "How much downtime can your environment handle at any one time?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and submit your vote for 1) None, 2) 1-15 minutes, 3) Less than 3 hours, 4) Less than 8 hours, or 5) Availability isn't a concern.
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SQL Server is one of the most reliable database systems available. But no matter how reliable your system is, you occasionally need to shut it down for a variety of reasons, including planned maintenance or relocation. Closing Windows causes SQL Server to shut down, but if that's not an option for you, Michael Otey covers seven other ways that you can shut down SQL Server in his December SQL Server Magazine article "Shutting Down SQL Server," which is available online at
FMR is designing a database and would like to apply different recovery models to different data. For example, changes to data in certain tables are extremely important, so those tables require the Full recovery model. Other tables contain less important data, even though they get several thousand inserts per hour. FMR doesn't want to clog the transaction log with these insignificant inserts, so he would like to use the Simple recovery model for these tables. Can FMR use different recovery models within the same database, or is recovery model a database-level setting? Offer your advice and read other users' suggestions on the SQL Server Magazine forums at the following URL:
(contributed by Microsoft's SQL Server Development Team, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q. What's the difference between a covered query and a covering index?
A. Covered queries and covering indexes are different, yet closely related. A query is covered if all the columns it uses come from one or more indexes. These columns include the columns you want the query to return as well as columns in any JOIN, WHERE, HAVING, and ORDER BY clause. A covered query typically is considered advantageous because data access through indexes can be more efficient. However, the high-speed access that this kind of query facilitates can become costly when you update a table because you must maintain the indexes.
A covering index—which is used in covered queries—can provide some or all of the indexed columns that a covered query uses. If a covering index is also a composite index (i.e., it indexes more than one column in its base table or view), it might contain columns that aren't used in the covered query but are used instead in other queries that have overlapping columns.
Send your technical questions to email@example.com.
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6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mike Murach and Associates announced "Murach's SQL for SQL Server" by Bryan Syverson, a book that provides SQL Server training for programmers. Section 1 teaches you how to use Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE) and the client tools for SQL Server 2000. Section 2 covers how to retrieve data from a database and how to add, update, and delete that data. Section 3 teaches you how to design a database and how to implement that design by using either Data Definition Language (DDL) statements or Enterprise Manager. The last section discusses views, stored procedures, functions, triggers, cursors, and transactions. The 574-page book costs $44.55. Contact Mike Murach and Associates at 559-440-9071 or 800-221-5528.
FMS announced Total SQL Analyzer PRO, software that can document and analyze your database performance and detect design problems. The company says the software can automatically detect more than 95 types of specific performance problems. You can use Total SQL Analyzer PRO to identify tables that don't have clustered indexes. You can also locate cursor usage. You can develop applications faster by viewing interactive diagrams that show you where objects are used and what objects are being used by other objects. Total SQL Analyzer PRO supports SQL Server 2000 and 7.0 and starts at $999 for a one-user license. Contact FMS at 703-356-4700 or 866-367-7801.
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