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The place where I page to when my brain is full up of stuff about the Microsoft platform

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  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Best Practice

    In SQL Server 2000 and 2005 there is a really useful utility called the Best Practice Analyzer which you can download here .  Essentially it looks at your database configuration and matches this against a set of rules to inform you you of what improvements to make, based on experience gained by...
  • Blog Post: On the Twelfth Day of Christmas an IT Pro sent to me...

    Twelve New Servers Coming   The product guys at Microsoft have been busy so there are going to be lots (but not 12) of new servers coming out this year: Windows Server 2008 (in 8 exciting flavours depending on whether you need virtualization or not) SQL Server 2008 editions: developer, express,...
  • Blog Post: End of the Road for SQL Server 2000

    Microsoft will be turning off mainstream support for SQL server 2000 for most editions of the product in April 2008: Products Released General Availability Date Mainstream Support Retired Extended Support Retired SQL Server 2000 64-bit Edition 30/11/2000 08/04/2008 09/04/2013 SQL Server 2000 Developer...
  • Blog Post: SQLBits Goes West 19-21 November, Newport

    When I am not doing the day job I like to draw and paint to relax so I have combined a bit of business & pleasure for the SQL Bits Goes West  conference by doing a few cartoons for them… As you can see the event has grown to three days. While there has always been a deep dive, paid for training...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server - monitoring reports

    I am manning the ask the experts SQL server booth at TechEd this week. One of the many interesting questions I was asked was how the reporting information from the standard reports in SQL server could be integrated into one set of data from multiple servers.   I couldn't think of anything immediately...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Encryption Keys

    Encryption, Keys and certificates etc. are complicated  and confusing judging by the number of support calls coming in from DBA's. As I said in my last post , Transparent Data Encryption is there to stop someone walling off with your data.  A database can be encrypted using a key which is stored...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 reporting takes off!

    CTP5 has only been out for a week and so I was amazed that I got a comment on my blog from a specialist data and planning company operating in the aviation industry in the US.  The company, US Aviation Data and Planning Corp  (USADAP) are migrating their reports to SQL Server 2008 as I write...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 ctp6

    I have been to lots sessions on SQL Server 2008 at Microsoft's internal technical training fest (TechReady) over the last couple of weeks, and I wanted to post about but the new for CTP 6 stuff , but only when you can try it for yourselves. I wondered if there was any buzz in the public domain around...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Intellisense support for SQL 2000/5

    Intellisense for SQL, how hard is that?  Well judging for how long we have been asking for it the answer is “very”. Also talking to the product team it is actually much harder than for C# VB etc. because of the nature of SQL.  Anyway intellisense appeared in CTP5 of SQL Server 2008 and at that...
  • Blog Post: Compression without Compression in SQL server 2005 sp2 fact tables

    In case you weren't at the excellent SQL Community yesterday evening, I thought I would share a top tip for getting on top of your fact tables in the next version of SQL Server. Mark Hill of Edenbrook gave the evening an update of the relational engine as it affect BI and we then got into a debate about...
  • Blog Post: Query Across the Mersey

    SQL Bits 9 , Adelphi Hotel Liverpool 29th September to 1 October 2011, what else do you need to know? Well possibly a few things if you are now reading the second line of this post or you haven’t been to them before.. It’s the biggest and best SQL event in Europe, I know this because we get people coming...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Spatial Data Types

    Continuing my series of notes following the TechNet event last Thursday evening,   I wanted to explain that in SQL Server 2008 there are two new data types for storing spatial information; geometry and geography.  Unfortunately on Thursday I didn't have the final release of CTP5 so my demo...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server BI Community Evening, 10th June, Reading

    I wanted to call out the BI evening on 10th June because they’ve given me a slot to talk about SQL Server 2008 r2 and specifically the BI features you can expect.   There’s also sessions on Data Modeling and information architecture from Alex Pratt & Andrew de Rozairo (Sybase) and one on...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server developer training kit–to useful to be just for developers

    One of the few niggles I have about working at Microsoft is the way we try and put you the reader into pigeon holes, and an area where this fails for me is when it comes to SQL Server.  My developer friends won’t go near SQL Server unless they have to and this things like  LINQ / Entity Framework...
  • Blog Post: Britain Works

    I sat watching Dave the other night and there’s a bit in it where Kevin Kline simply states that he wants to give everyone in America a job that wants one.  I’m not sure if our the MD of Microsoft, Gordon Frazer has seen this, but he’s just announced that we plan to get to 500,000 people into work...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 & Virtual Earth

    There's a lot of buzz around Software plus Services (S+S) from Microsoft and others.  It's all very simple as Eileen will tell you -  it's when you use a service like GPS that's remote and public and combine it with some software like CoPilot or TomTom on your GPS to find directions. ...
  • Blog Post: SQL Nugget - Dates are illogical

    Whether I am reading Chocky by John Wyndham or the 12 Caesers by Suetonius the illogical nature of a calendars can be annoying . In Chocky the alien wonders why we don’t have 16 months instead of 12 and why weeks aren’t made up of 8 days, and in the 12 Caesers successive emperors try to make sure that...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 RTM Date

    There's no easy way to write this but SQL Server 2008 won't be released (RTM) until Q3 of 2008, which is a couple of months later than the provisional date shown on many slides and blogs (including mine) to date.  This isn't really that surprising, many of you have noticed the CTP releases have...
  • Blog Post: SQL Community and the Curse of The Cursors

    So following form my last post, Eric Alsop’s session for the SQL Community last night was on cursors of course. His simple but effective presentation showed up a couple of scenarios where cursors are still useful weapons in an DBA’s armoury despite all the new stuff put into SQL standards and SQL Server...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Performance Tuning

    In an ideal world a database engine would self heal and self tune, and the SQL Server product team work long and hard on each release to try and realise this.  However in parallel with this they recognise that they can’t cater for every eventuality and so have provided more and more diagnostics...
  • Blog Post: Tricking a client into connecting to a SQL Server Instance

    One of the challenges of consolidation and upgrades is that some applications might have hard coded or difficult to find references to the server instance they are connecting to. When you want to point this hypothetical application to the non-default instance on a new server you can often use DNS to...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Filtered Indexes

    I have seen the filtered indexing in SQL Server 2008 mentioned a couple of times over the last couple of weeks but I only got it properly when I got to try it myself in ctp6. I have often needed to constrain a column to a only allow unique values but also allow the column to allow nulls and with filtered...
  • Blog Post: A last word on Policy based Management

    If I search my blog for Policy Based Management in SQL Server, I notice there are a fair few posts on the matter. I am not going to apologise for this as it’s a vital tool in any DBA’s armoury in the world of ever increasing databases compliance and risk management.  My blog is also like paging...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Configuration Servers

    Following on from my last post, when DBA’s have to manage multiple SQL Server 2000 instances you would normally see all of them registered on their local desktop in enterprise manager under a variety of groups such as dev, prod, test etc. With the advent of SQL Server 2005 this practice seems to...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2008 Geometry Data

    One of the problems with our TechNet road shows is getting at the content after the event. Of course we do provide the slide decks, but these can be abut thin as many IT Pro's (including us!) are power point averse, preferring see stuff in action. We can record it all but I am not sure anyone is going...