Mat Stephen's SQL Server WebLog

All things SQL Server. Complied by Matthew Stephen - SQL Server Product Specialist, Microsoft UK

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  • Blog Post: OLAP, Darwin and Evolution

    Edited 21st Sept 05 to include picture of herbarium sheet. In my article 'Business Intelligence (BI): The way it is without the blah blah' , I mention that I was aware of some exiting research using the SQL Server OLAP engine, the results of which where hopefully about to hit Nature magazine. I...
  • Blog Post: How Do You Deploy SQL Server Reporting Services?

    A colleague of mine in the States, Rob Caron, is very keen to learn how our customers are deploying Reporting Services; specifically with respect to IIS. When we launched Reporting Services (RS) it was all too easy to say it was a ‘free’ addition to the SQL stack, indeed it was supposed to add value...
  • Blog Post: Serialising an ADOMD.net CellSet object

    I'm grateful to T.K. Anand for this useful code snippet which is useful if you're writing a web services client that consumes OLAP data. The following Adomd.net code can be used for saving and loading cellsets… Save: XmlReader xmlReader = command.ExecuteXmlReader(); string xml = xmlReader.ReadOuterXml...
  • Blog Post: More follow up from my TechNet SQL 2005 presentation (14/6/05) - SMP boxes and database files

    During my TechNet presentation on Tuesday evening (14/6/05 in Reading), I got a little side tracked and, while talking about partitioning in SQL 2005, found myself drawing my audiences’ attention to the fact that only one thread can access a database file at any one time. This fact being the foundation...
  • Blog Post: Changing Job

    It is with sadness that I have to announce that I am changing jobs and moving back into my old role as a Product Specialist, working with our Enterprise customers in a pre-sales capacity. Alas, I won’t have as much time to blog now, but I’ll do my best to share interesting SQL info as I come across it...
  • Blog Post: Fame at last: Ten Useful Microsoft Blogs

    Redmond mag .com have published an article 'Ten Useful Microsoft Blogs' @ http://www.redmondmag.com/columns/article.asp?EditorialsID=1044 Guess who's number 2? Also at number 10 is the UKs own Industry Insiders blog http://blogs.technet.com/industry%5Finsiders/ . So as promised all of you who submitted...
  • Blog Post: Keep up-to-date with knowledge base articles coming out of Microsoft

    I am very grateful to Andy Steer of Contemporary Plc for this useful tip. To keep up-to-date with knowledge base articles coming out of Microsoft, check out this web page containing RSS feeds for all Microsoft products: http://support.microsoft.com/selectindex/?target=rss
  • Blog Post: Webcast with Proclarity

    If you were unable to connct to our webcast with Proclarity last month then please have another go, here is the corresponding missive from marketing: Last month you registered to attend the TechNet Webcast ‘Analysing and Presenting SQL Server Data with Proclarity – a Technical Overview’. Unfortunately...
  • Blog Post: Blogcast: Using SQL 2000 Profiler

    Here's another blogcast in the SQL 2000 performance blogcast series out of the States - this time 'Using SQL 2000 Profiler'. This one's a bit long at 11mins 8secs. http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0506/24231/TNT1-160_Demo_3.asx
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2000 vs SQL Server 2005 Performance

    As SQL server 2005 gets closer more and more people are asking how much faster is it than SQL Server 2000. Thanks to Rog Garrison here's one of the first tests I've seen http://www.sqljunkies.com/Tutorial/077C7BEB-EB31-4A07-923D-BE309F59D0F8.scuk Thank heavens its faster - and it should get faster...
  • Blog Post: 64 Bit performance v 32 bit performance - some compelling evidence

    More and more ITPros are looking for help in deciding between 64 bit and 32 bit boxes, often they are looking for evidence that 64 bit is worth the investment and worth the risk (of adopting a new platform). This link http://www.microsoft.com/sql/64bit/productinfo/winhecdemo.mspx takes you to a compelling...
  • Blog Post: The QFE for SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Service Pack 2 is now available.

    The QFE for SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Service Pack 2 is now available. The QFE is a generally distributed release that can be obtained from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=7FFE50D4-AFF8-4C1E-9609-6798190C2D58&displaylang=en . This software patch includes fixes for...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services Cube Security

    If you were given an opportunity to create a “cubed” solution for 50,000 different users, would you create one cube with 50,000 roles? Would you create 50,000 cubes – one for each customer? What would you do? This is what Mosha Pasumansky and Dave Wickert from the product team suggest for SQL Server...
  • Blog Post: Blogcast: SQL Server 2000 - Using the Index Tuning Wizard

    Another blogcast from the States covering performance tuning in SQL Server 2000, this one covers using index tuning wizard. 6 mins 47 secs http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0506/24231/TNT1-160_Demo_2.asx
  • Blog Post: Letter from America 3 - Mischievous reports and feeding the 5000

    After all my messing around yesterday, I've decided to create this post in pocket word. I attended a securty session yesterday and was reminded of an issue that can send DBAs scuttling from the room when they learn of it's presence, the 'trojan report'. Reporting Services (RS) reports can use Windows...
  • Blog Post: Reporting Services: How to stop IE striping out leading spaces in report data values

    Reporting Services: How to stop IE striping out leading spaces in report data values: My thanks to Russell Christopher and Mike Schetterer who recently discussed the problem that IE will strip out leading spaces from data in a report. The solution: you have to replace the spaces with the ASCII code...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver Beta 1 Now Available

    Not many people know we have a SQL JDBC driver at all, well now we've got a beta version for SQL Server 2005. It works for a wide variety of OSs including: HP-UX, IBM AIX, Linux, Solaris, Windows 2000, Windows Server 2003, or Windows XP. Apparently it goes a lot better than the old (SQL 2000) driver...
  • Blog Post: Nice one Maestro - the next generation of the Business Scorecard Accelerator is now in beta 1

    Thank heavens – Microsoft is going to charge for its next version of its business scorecard solution code named Maestro, beta 1 of which has just been announced. Why is this charge a good thing? Because if people have to pay for this product then it will hopefully be seen to have value and it should...
  • Blog Post: Expanding the reach of the Maestro beta program

    I'm happy to announce we've opened the Maestro beta program so customers and partners can self nominate themselves to the program and get early access to the bits. This is to allow people, not involved with the TAP, to get hold of the beta to experiment with. If you're interested, please go to http:...
  • Blog Post: Blogcasts: SQL Server 2000 - Configuring System Monitor & Monitoring SQL Server performance & Configuring alerts

    Three new SQL Server 2000 blogcasts out of Redmond: Demo 4-1 Configuring System Monitor http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0506/24231/TNT1-160_Demo_4-1.asx Demo 4-2 Monitoring SQL Server performance http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0506/24231/TNT1-160_Demo_4-2.asx Demo 4-3 Configuring alerts http://www...
  • Blog Post: Querying and Reporting on Report Execution Log Data

    Well I didn't realise, or maybe I just plain forgot, that these reports and the necessary support infrastrucuture come with Reporting Services under the extras folder on the CD - all useful stuff for report heads. Longest Running Reports Most Executed Reports Report Exections By Hour Report Parameters...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Reporting Services Report Packs - looking for suggestions

    when I was over in the US recently, I attended a 'Bill Baker and team unplugged' session, (Bill is the GM for SQL Server Business Intelligence). Reporting Services Report packs came up as a topic for discussion. The team asked the audience if the Report Packs had been well recieved, to which I quickly...
  • Blog Post: Top Tip: How to use the same dimension twice on one fact table with SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services

    I’m grateful to Cristian Petculescu for this Top Tip: How to use the same dimension twice on one fact table with SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services. To use the same dimension twice, against one fact table, you essentially use the same dimension table only with a new alias to reference it by. To...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server Reporting Services: How to do an aggregate, SUM(Field), and display it as a % of the total for a Table or Matrix column

    SQL Server Reporting Services: How to do an aggregate, SUM(Field), and display it as a % of the total for a Table or Matrix column To do this we have to take advantage of the fact that the SUM function, and indeed all aggregate functions, have an optional scope parameter =Sum(Fields!A.Value) /...
  • Blog Post: Reporting Services: Two New (Free) Report Packs Released for Sharepoint and Axapta

    Good news for the chap I met on the 'Ask the Experts' desk at TechEd, who was contemplating jumping through all sorts of hurdles to create reports form Sharepoint data. I couldn't really get my head round the (Sharepoint) problems he foresaw, but I was able to tell him that a report pack was in the pipeline...