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: Processing XML Showplans Using SQLCLR in SQL Server 2005 - Make Use of the New XML Showplans

    SQL 2005 now provides Showplan (Query plan) output in XML - why? To make it easier for a dba/developer to write TSQL, or other code, that can determine the cost of a query and thus dynamically determine if the query should be prevented from running based on the load it will create on the server. To...
  • Blog Post: Download Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition: Community Technology Preview April 2005

    Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition: Community Technology Preview April 2005 Download the Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Unlike beta releases that receive a much higher level of testing and feature work, CTPs are intended to expose the latest...
  • Blog Post: Project REAL—Business Intelligence in Practice - great website!

    For sometime a group of Program Managers from the SQL BI team have been working with a customer, Barnes and Noble, to produce a SQL BI solution for their data warehouse and analysis needs using SQL 2005. The leasons learnt from all their work is being continually published to this website http://www...
  • 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: Getting to know SQL 2005 Service Broker

    Looks likes I've got to do a presentation on Service Broker for the SQL 2005 launch - so I've been doing some home work on the subject. The best primer I've found is http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnsql90/html/sqlsvcbroker.asp?frame=true this is refernenced in the...
  • Blog Post: Upgrading a SQL Replication Topology

    Jonathan Allen wrote to me asking what order one should upgrade servers in a replication topology - pointing out that this doesn't seem obviouis from Books On Line, which I agree. The answer is essentially the same as for any previous upgrade: Distributor first (as it has to handle new and old log...
  • Blog Post: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Preview Software for UK customers

    If you're in the UK and you'd like to get your hands on the 'Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Preview Software' then please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/uk/windowsserversystem/sql/2005/evaluate.aspx
  • Blog Post: Top Tip SQL Server Reporting Services fields cannot be used in headers or footers - work around

    I'm grateful to Chris Hayes for this top tip. Reporting Services doesn't like you using data fields in its headers and footers - here are two ways to work around the problem Add a parameter to the report without a prompt (so the user doesn’t see it) and with a default value based on the field...
  • Blog Post: Top Tip - Dynamic Database connections for SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services reports

    A question that crops up from time to time with SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services is 'how do I dynamically change the data source used buy a report - from within a report?' To do this is quite straight forward in SQL 2005 Reporting Services but not so with SQL 2000 Reporting Services. I am grateful...
  • Blog Post: Cool new OVER Clause (Transact-SQL) in SQL Server 2005

    Cool new OVER Clause (Transact-SQL) in SQL Server 2005 to circumvent the not so efficient correlated subquery. Imagine a table: create table grades( StudentID int not null ,StudentName varchar(10) not null ,Subject varchar(10) not null ,Score int not null) With some values: insert into grades...
  • Blog Post: Follow up on Replication Columns question in my TechNet SQL 2005 presentation (14/6/05)

    Question: How many columns does SQL Server 2005 allow in a published article (SQL Server 2000 was linited to 254)? Answer: The column limit for transactional replication, I'm informed, is now in excess of 1000.
  • Blog Post: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Educational Webcast Series on TechNet

    Sorry I'm a little late in alerting you to this SQL Server 2005 Educational Webcast Series on TechNet, which runs from March 21-May 18. This 10 part series will provide IT Professionals with a broad overview of the benefits of SQL Server 2005 to whet their appetite for the upcoming public beta release...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2005 feature comparison by edition

    You can find which editons of SQL Server 2005 have which feature @ http://www.microsoft.com/sql/2005/productinfo/sql2005features.asp Essentially as you move from SQL 2005 Express edition through to SQL 2005 Enterprise edition you gain the features that give you scalability and high availablilty. Only...
  • 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: Microsoft SQL Server 2005 - The Pricing, The Editions, and the Edition's Features

    All ye! All ye! The pricing, the editions and the features available in the editions of SQL 2005 have all been decided, announced and published. Naturally I meet scepticism that suggests SQL Server 2005 has slipped and slipped again, and that perhaps it might not even be born this year! I laugh at the...
  • 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: SQL Server 2005 Technical Overview blogcasts

    New SQL Server 2005 Technical Overview blogcasts from the States Demo 1-1 Using Object Explorer http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0509/25037/SQL-01_Demo1.asx Demo 2-1 Using Queries and Scripts http://www.microsoft.com/winme/0509/25037/SQL-01_Demo2-1.asx Demo 2-2 Using Solution Explorer http://www.microsoft...
  • Blog Post: TechNet Briefing: What's NEW in SQL 2005 - Analysis Services & Data Mining

    Here's a little self publicity for gig I'll be doing in December: To register please go to https://msevents-eu.microsoft.com/cui/EventDetail.aspx?culture=en-GB&eventid=118761637 05 December 2005 18:30 - 05 December 2005 21:00 (GMT) GMT, London Welcome Time: 18:00 Language: English Microsoft...
  • Blog Post: Roger Sessions ObjectWatch: TechEd USA - his digest - insight from a true sage that can't be ignored

    This issue’s feature article is “Tech-Ed 2005; The Elephant That Wasn’t There”. This article reports on Microsoft’s major Tech-Ed 2005 conference in Orlando earlier this month. This was the conference at which Microsoft laid out its strategy for redefining Corporate IT by directly challenging You-Know...
  • Blog Post: SQL Server 2005 launch date anounced!

    This morning, at TechEd USA, Paul Flessner announced the release date for SQL Server 2005. This is an excerpt from his notes from TechEd: "It is official — the countdown to launch has begun! During my Tech•Ed keynote this morning, I announced the launch date for SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio...
  • 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...