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August 29, 2002—In this issue:
- Notification Services Extends SQL Server's Reach
2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
- Visual Studio .NET Updates Will Sync with Other Releases
- Results of Previous Instant Poll: Data Warehousing Hurdles
- New Instant Poll: Notification Services
- Get a Free Digital or Print Sample Issue Today!
- Immediate Access to T-SQL Solutions!
4. HOT RELEASE (ADVERTISEMENT
- iForce Solution for Economical Data Management
- Microsoft ASP.NET Connections
- What's New in SQL Server Magazine: Safe Transit
- Hot Thread: Converting Dates and Times
- Tip: Replicating Referential Integrity
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Manage Your Database
- Build Employee Performance Evaluations
7. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Brian Moran, news editor, email@example.com)
Microsoft released SQL Server 2000 Notification Services on Monday, continuing to extend SQL Server's reach beyond traditional relational database functionality. When I first wrote about Notification Services 5 months ago, the beta version had just rolled out. So what is this newest component of the data-management and integration tools that now comes bundled with SQL Server?
Notification Services is a set of technologies for developing and deploying applications that generate and send personalized notifications to wired or wireless devices. Notification Services scans input events from a variety of sources, matches the events against a user's subscriptions, generates and formats personalized notifications, and delivers the notifications to the subscriber's preferred device. Notification Services grew out of joint development efforts with MSN, which is now using the component in production. MSN Mobile began seeing massive growth in its subscriber base and the events those subscribers wanted to receive notices about. MSN was adding server after server to handle the increasing load, creating a server farm that was quickly becoming expensive and unmanageable. Generating a notification event doesn't seem like a database problem at first glance. But when Microsoft looked at the MSN business need, it realized that matching event data to users' request for data is, at its core, a data issue. Notification Services now helps MSN provide more reliable event notification for subscribers and has let MSN reduce the number of servers handling notification events by more than a factor of 10.
You've probably built alert services before, and you might be thinking, "How hard is it to send someone an email? Do I really need to use a tool like Notification Services, or should I just build my own solution?" Creating your own solution might be reasonable if you're dealing with a few events, a few consumers, and one distribution channel—and you don't need to customize delivery based on intricate rules that users set up. Unfortunately, data integration becomes thorny as the number of events, consumers, and channels grows and the delivery rules become complex. We won't even consider the possibility of needing to scale your homegrown solution to hundreds of thousands or millions of users.
Microsoft is essentially a plumbing and platform company. And its biggest successes happen when it creates a platform that hides the nasty infrastructure and integration problems associated with technology, freeing developers to focus on business logic rather than technological plumbing. Notification Services provides the common plumbing necessary to build a robust event-capture and notification environment. I predict that many customers will find creative and practical ways to use this technology.
Senior Microsoft executives are touting Notification Services as a crucial piece in the .NET initiative to break the barriers of knowledge transfer to information consumers. And although Notification Services is important as an enabling technology, it's also important as a technology that helps extend SQL Server beyond the relational database engine. The trend to expand SQL Server's functional reach started several years ago, when Microsoft rolled out OLAP Services with SQL Server 7.0. SQL Server 2000 added data-mining capabilities. Now, Notification Services extends the core platform to include rich data-integration technology that begins to break down the walls between the database and the middleware technology that uses the database.
Microsoft licenses Notification Services, which is bundled as part of the core SQL Server 2000 data-management platform, the same way it licenses Analysis Services: Notification Services is free as long as the box you want to run it on already has a license for SQL Server. To deploy Notification Services on a new physical machine, you must buy a separate license of SQL Server for that machine. You can download Notification Services at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/ns/default.asp. This page includes links to a white paper, a guide to choosing the correct edition of Notification Services, and licensing FAQs.
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2. SQL SERVER NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Microsoft announced that it will start synchronizing updates to its Visual Studio .NET development tool with Windows OS and other product releases, beginning with the release of Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) later this year. The first Visual Studio .NET update, code-named Everett, will ship simultaneously with Win.NET Server and will feature support for Visual J#, the Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1 (which will ship with Win.NET Server), and the final version of the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework. Future Visual Studio .NET releases will sync with such products as SQL Server 2003(code-named Yukon), Microsoft Office 11, Windows Longhorn (the next Windows release) and other programmable products such as future releases of Windows CE .NET and the Pocket PC. A full roadmap through 2004 is available on the following Microsoft Web site:
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The voting has closed in SQL Server Magazine's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "What is your largest data warehousing issue?" Here are the results (+/1 percent) from the 121 votes:
· 15% Scalability
· 31% Performance
· 14% Hardware/software costs
· 17% Ease of use
The next Instant Poll question is, "Are you using Notification Services for SQL Server?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine Web site and submit your vote for 1) Yes, 2) Not yet, but I plan to, 3) No, but I'm interested in learning more about it, 4) No, and I'm not interested.
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As an administrator, you know that restoring your database is one of the most important tasks you might ever have to perform. You plan your recovery operation knowing that if a disaster strikes, your organization's future might depend on your ability to make your data available quickly. However, when you restore a SQL Server backup from one server to another, you might find that usernames and login names don't match. In "Safe Transit," Kalen Delaney looks at why usernames and login names are important, why mismatched names are a problem, and how to use a special procedure called sp_sidmap to solve the problem. This article appears in the September 2002 issue of SQL Server Magazine and is available online at
General Madness is new to SQL Server 7.0 and is trying to convert some dates and times by using CAST/CONVERT when running SELECT queries. He has mastered some easy conversions but is seeking help with others. 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, email@example.com)
Q. I'm using snapshot replication in SQL Server 7.0, and I discovered that the referential integrity defined on the source table is lost on the destination tables at the subscriber. I've selected the "Include declared referential integrity on the primary keys" option and the "Enable relationship for replication" option for each source table. How do I replicate referential integrity to the subscriber?
A. The "Include declared referential integrity on the primary keys" article option in SQL Server 7.0 supports copying only primary keys—not foreign keys—as constraints. One way to copy foreign keys is to manually create tables at the subscriber and select the "Leave the existing table intact" article option when you set up the publication. SQL Server 2000 supports propagating both primary and foreign keys through the "Include declared referential integrity" article option.
Send your technical questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, email@example.com)
IT-Map announced dbPAL, a suite of integrated modules to help system developers and DBAs manage databases. The Schema Editor feature lets users create and maintain the database schema design and displays multiple database management system (DBMS)-type views in its own syntax. DbPAL integrates data-modeling capability and incorporates drill-down and drill-up capabilities. The software includes a library of 15 prebuilt reports that show all detail levels for database schemas. You can use dbPAL to synchronize database content and provide subschema masking to limit the scope of synchronization to particular subsets of the data. DbPAL supports SQL Server and starts at $435 for a personal edition. The dbPAL Universal Database Toolkit costs $1385.
Halogen Software announced Halogen e360 Open, Web-based peer-feedback software that lets you build employee performance evaluations, collect and store responses, monitor evaluators' progress, and create instant reports. The software lets nontechnical users create professional performance evaluations with the look and feel of their corporation's design. You can track the evaluation's status by evaluator or subject. Automated notification and reminder notices give the evaluators direction. You can save and resume the evaluation at a later date. Halogen e360 Open supports SQL Server 2000 and 7.0. Halogen Software provides two pricing structures for Halogen e360 Open. You can purchase Halogen e360 Subject Licenses or Halogen e360 Server Licenses. For pricing details, contact Halogen Software at 613-744-2254 or 866-566-7778.
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