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Microsoft ASP.NET Connections Conference
September 15, 2005
2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
3. News & Views
4. Reader Challenge
5. Events and Resources
6. Featured White Paper
7. Peer to Peer
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by Brian Moran, email@example.com
Maturity of best practices is one of the benefits of using a product like SQL Server 2000 that's been out for more than 5 years. Sure, we're all anxious to have some fun learning the ins and outs of SQL Server 2005, but let's be honest, there's something nice to be said about having 5 years of best practices to rely on when you're batting around various architectural and development approaches for a new project. I remember the early days of SQL Server 2000, when I was enamored of UDFs and was one of the architects responsible for using them aggressively in a new project my company was working on. Imagine my chagrin a few months later when I was also one of the first people in the industry to begin uncovering the insidious performance problems that UDFs can lead to. I don't want to scare anyone away from reaping the benefits of early adoption of SQL Server 2005. The benefits can be significant if you can really leverage some of the coolest new features. But realistically, even the best of us will make a few false starts in the early days because we don't yet have a large body of SQL Server 2005 best practices.
However, Microsoft is doing a credible job (MUCH better than at SQL Server 2000's release) of getting a ton of valuable information into the market in advance of the SQL Server 2005 release to manufacturing (RTM). I've written about many of those resources, and this week, I want to point out a resource that many customers don't seem to know about. It's called Project REAL. The Microsoft Web site describes the project as follows:
"Project REAL is a cooperative effort between Microsoft and a number of technology partners in the business intelligence (BI) industry to build on actual customer scenarios to discover best practices for creating BI applications based on SQL Server 2005. The term REAL in Project REAL is an acronym for Reference implementation, End-to-end, At scale, and Lots of users."
Project REAL, which provides a complete end-to-end look at building a BI solution that uses the newest SQL Server 2005 features is a joint effort of several Microsoft partners who worked to create a real-life BI solutions for their customer, Barnes and Noble. Historically, most sample solutions on which Microsoft bases SQL Server demos and early white papers are created for fictitious customers. Project REAL is a great change of pace. The data and documentation released on the Project REAL www site has been cleaned to protect Barnes and Noble's trade secrets, but Project REAL is a real BI solution that Barnes and Noble is going live with. This is more than a first stab at evangelizing SQL Server 2005 features; it establishes a set of genuine best practices that the project team gleaned from a long development and architectural planning process. Microsoft strove to make the Barnes and Noble project a huge success.
Project REAL documentation doesn't spend much time on the mistakes that its architects made at various stages, but it would be naive to think that mistakes weren't made. After all, you can't have best practices without knowing what doesn't work. But the Project REAL solution does give you a glimpse into many of the best practices that came from this joint development effort from some of the top people in the SQL Server community. Somebody always needs to make the first mistakes, and it's nice when it doesn't have to be you. Thinking about rolling out a SQL Server 2005 based BI solution? Spend a few hours exploring Project REAL at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=13CDE:7B3DA . Learning and applying just one best practice is well worth the investment of your time and energy.
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2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
Microsoft Releases September SQL Server 2005 CTP
At Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC), the company yesterday released the SQL Server 2005 September Community Technology Preview (CTP). This final CTP for SQL Server 2005 is designed to integrate with the Visual Studio 2005 Release Candidate (RC). SQL Server 2005 September CTP Developer Edition and Express Edition are each available in nine languages: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. The previous CTP was available only in English and Japanese. Five editions of SQL Server 2005 are available for download with this CTP: Enterprise Edition, Standard Edition (32-bit and 64-bit), Workgroup Edition, Developer Edition (32-bit and 64-bit), and Express Edition. You can download the SQL Server 2005 September CTP at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=13CD5:7B3DA ,and you can download a complete copy of SQL Server 2005 Books Online (BOL) at
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3. News & Views
At this week's Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC), the company announced that the November release to manufacturing (RTM) of SQL Server 2005 won't include the much-anticipated Database Mirroring feature. Instead, Database Mirroring will have an extended customer-deployment and testing cycle. In a public letter ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=13CDD:7B3DA ), Microsoft Senior Vice President of Server Applications Paul Flessner explained, "We believe our Database Mirroring feature needs more time in the hands of customers before we make it generally available for production use. The feature is complete, has passed extensive internal testing, and we are committed to making it generally available in the first half of 2006. We will continue to field-test the feature with customers and will release it for general use as soon as you tell us it is ready."
In addition, Microsoft announced that it's developing a scaled-down version of SQL Server 2005 Management Studio for its SQL Server Express edition. The new Express Manager will also see an extended development cycle, and Microsoft expects to release the feature in early 2006.
These announcements came as Microsoft released the September SQL Server 2005 Community Technology Preview (CTP), the final CTP release before the product's official launch on November 7. The September CTP is compatible with the Visual Studio Release Candidate (RC), a reminder of Microsoft's emphasis on integrating all stages of database development and administration. You can download the September SQL Server 2005 CTP at
Results of Previous Instant Poll: WinFS Beta
"Will you participate in the WinFS Beta?" Here are the results from the 38 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):
New Instant Poll: September CTP "Will you download the SQL Server 2005 September CTP?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=13CE8:7B3DA ) and submit your vote for
4. Reader Challenge
by Umachandar Jayachandran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Congratulations to Narasimhan Jayachandran, a senior DBA for First Data Resources in Omaha, Nebraska, who won first prize of $100 for the best solution to the September Reader Challenge, "Defining Extended Properties." You can read a recap of the problem and the solution to the September Reader Challenge at
>October Reader Challenge: Consolidating Data from Various Sources
Now, test your SQL Server savvy in the October Reader Challenge, "Consolidating Data from Various Sources" (below). Submit your solution in an email message to email@example.com by September 22. Umachandar Jayachandran, a SQL Server Magazine technical editor, will evaluate the responses. We'll announce the winner in an upcoming SQL Server Magazine UPDATE. The first-place winner will receive $100, and the second-place winner will receive $50.
Here's the challenge: Gordon is the systems analyst in a company that sells software products. He is currently using SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3 (SP3) to create a data-warehouse solution that consolidates information from various data sources in the company. Some of the data is customer information that comes from an IBM DB2 database. Below is the schema for the staging table containing the customer information with some sample data:
CustID nchar(8) COLLATE SQL_Latin1_General_CP1_CS_AS NOT NULL,
CustName varchar(100) NOT NULL
INSERT INTO Customers_Work (CustID, CustName) VALUES( N'cust0001',
INSERT INTO Customers_Work (CustID, CustName) VALUES( N'Cust0001',
INSERT INTO Customers_Work (CustID, CustName) VALUES( N'cust0002',
INSERT INTO Customers_Work (CustID, CustName) VALUES( N'cust0003',
INSERT INTO Customers_Work (CustID, CustName) VALUES( N'CUST0003',
Gordon is working on eliminating duplicates and other transformations before storing the data in the data warehouse. Help him do the following:
5. Events and Resources
Back By Popular Demand -- Get the facts about migrating to SQL Server 2005! SQL Server experts will present real-world information about administration, development, and business intelligence to help you implement a best-practices migration to SQL Server 2005 and improve your database-computing environment. Receive a one-year membership to PASS and one-year subscription to SQL Server Magazine. Register now.
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7. Peer to Peer
by Carl Rabeler, firstname.lastname@example.org
As an administrator of a SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services instance, how can I monitor the queries my business users submit?
Read the answer to this question today at
SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 4 (SP4) should be considered an essential update for SQL Server 2000 and Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE) systems. In his September SELECT TOP(X) column "SQL Server 2000 SP4," Michael Otey highlights six important updates that SQL Server 2000 SP4 includes. Read this article today and post your comments at
In a Nutshell: LINQ Scares the Heck Outta Me!
At this week's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles, Microsoft announced an attempt at bridging the gap between data and object-oriented programming. The new technology, called .NET Language Integrated Query (LINQ), is available to PDC attendees as a Community Technology Preview (CTP). LINQ is intended to solve the problem of how to integrate various sources of data into applications built with object-oriented programming models. It does this by adding new data-query capability to .NET languages. In this week's blog "LINQ Scares the Heck Outta Me!" Kevin Kline takes a look at the good intentions behind this new technology, but questions whether it's headed in the right direction. Read about LINQ and let Kevin know your opinion of its potential today at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=13CD8:7B3DA
Hot Threads: Check out the following hot threads, and see other discussions in our 30 SQL Server forums.
Celebrate the release of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 at Microsoft ASP.NET Connections, November 7-10, in Las Vegas. Every attendee goes home with a fully-licensed copy of SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition and Visual Studio 2005 Professional. Register now and attend sessions at Visual Studio Connections for FREE!
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9. New & Improved
by Dawn Cyr, email@example.com
Have you used a product that saved you time or made your job easier? Tell us how your favorite product solved a SQL Server problem for you, and if we print your submission in the magazine's Hands On department we'll send you a SQL Server Magazine t-shirt. Send your email today to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Embarcadero Technologies announced DBArtisan 8.1, a cross-platform data and database-management solution that supports the SQL Server 2005 Community Technology Preview (CTP). The solution uses a set of common APIs to provide consistent management capabilities across database platforms, letting DBAs manage SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, Sybase, and MySQL databases through a single, consistent interface. The product provides a layer of abstraction that reduces the amount of code needed to perform core functions across your environment. Thus, the centralization of administrative functions improves performance while letting DBAs more effectively control database security and management. Additionally, support for the SQL Server 2005 CTP lets customers evaluate the latest SQL Server version for their database systems. Embarcadero offers a flexible licensing plan that lets you customize the product for your environment. The base price for DBArtisan 8.1 is $2495, and a free evaluation copy is available for download. For more information, contact Embarcadero Technologies at 415-834-3131 or email@example.com.
DataDirect Technologies announced its Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Early-Access Program, an assistance program for customers who want to implement the DataDirect Connect for JDBC driver on their SQL Server 2005 databases. The program lets customers get an advance start on using and certifying their applications for SQL Server 2005. As part of the program, DataDirect provides JDBC migration guides and limited telephone-based consultations to give customers "how to" approaches to migrating to DataDirect Connect for JDBC drivers on SQL Server 2005. The DataDirect Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Early-Access Program is available to all existing a future customers. For more information, contact DataDirect Technologies at 800-876-3101 or 919-461-4200.
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