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Book Review: SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit

By Andy Warren,

The SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit is a good sized book, more than 1100 pages. I like to begin 
these reviews by listing the chapters, a good way for you to gauge what percentage of a book 
might be of interest to you - here it is:

1 Introducing the SQL Server Resource Kit
2 New Features in SQL 2000
3 Choosing an Edition of SQL Server 2000
4 Choosing How to License SQL Server
5 Migrating Access 2000 Databases to SQL Server 2000
6 Migrating Sybase Databases to SQL Server 2000
7 Migrating Oracle Databases to SQL Server 2000
8 Managing Database Change
9 Storage Engine Enhancements
10 Implementing Security
11 Using Blobs
12 Failover Clustering
13 Log Shipping
14 Data Center Availability: Facilities, Staffing, and Operations
15 High Availability Options
16 Five Nines: The Ultimate in High Availability
17 Data Warehouse Design Considerations
18 Using Partitions in SQL Server 2000 Data Warehouse
19 Data Extraction, Transformation, and Loading Techniques
20 RDBMS Performance Tuning Guide for Data Warehousing
21 Monitoring the DTS Multiphase Data Pump in Visual Basic
22 Cubes in the Real World
23 Business Case Solutions Using MDX
24 Effective Strategies for Data Mining
25 Getting Data to the Client
26 Performance Tuning Analysis Services
27 Creating an Interactive Digital Dashboard
28 A Digital Dashboard Browser for Analysis Services Meta Data
29 Common Questions in Replication
30 Creating Merge Replication Custom Conflict Resolvers using Visual Basic
31 Exposing SQL Server Data to the Web with XML
32 English Query Best Practices
33 The Data Tier: An Approach to Database Optimization
34 Identifying Common Administrative Issues
35 Using Visual Basic to Remotely Manage SQL Server
36 Using Views with a View on Performance
37 Extending Triggers with INSTEAD OF
38 Scaling Out on SQL Server

I didn't read the entire book. No current need to know how to upgrade from Sybase or Oracle! I 
also don't do much work with Analysis Services so I skipped those chapters as well. The chapters 
I did read were clear and easy to follow. Rather than give you a chapter by chapter review, I'll 
tell you about a couple things that I found very useful.

Chapter 8 on Manage Database Change was very good. Think of it as a 'Best Practices for a DBA' 
chapter. The authors provide an excellent discussion of the role of the DBA in development. I was 
pleased to see them state that the DBA should NOT be a roadblock to development, something I 
think that happens far too often. They also presented some ideas about managing the transition 
from development to quality assurance to production. The concept of using scripts to apply all 
changes to the database was covered well along with the need to have a solid implementation and 
rollback plan. Read this chapter!

Chapter 35 is a short chapter that focuses on using DMO and SQL Namespace to perform 
administrative tasks. They provide the SQL Junior Administrator application on CD and discuss 
portions of it in the chapter. The premise for this app is that you want a way to let less 
skilled or experienced members of your team do certain tasks but not others. This particular one 
lets the user create logins, run a backup, even change columns in a table. As written I don't how 
useful you'll find the application, but you may find some value in using it as a starting place. 
More importantly, it'll get you thinking about how you could apply the idea to your own 
situation. For example, where I work we frequently create new databases and set up transactional 
replication. I've written a small application similiar to the Junior Administrator that creates 
the database on both publisher and subscriber, sets up replication, enforces db naming 
conventions, and even does some other configuration tasks related to the application that will be 
using the database. This app lets me heavily restrict what the user can do, keeps me from being 
the bottleneck, and it gets done exactly right each time! DBA nirvana.

Chapter 11 on Blobs was interesting too. Lots of good details about how blobs are stored and the 
pros & cons of using the text in row option. They also discussed how TerraServer uses blobs - 
good reading! 

The book includes a CD with an electronic copy of the book and a bunch of additional tools. I'll 
mention a couple of the tools here, we'll be publishing reviews of some of them over the next 
couple months.

Bulk Image Insert (BII) BCP for images!
Simple Log Shipper Very useful if you aren't running Enterprise Edition
Stored Procedure Builder Extracts scripts from SourceSafe and applies them

It's a pretty good book - I'll rate it a solid 4. Audience on this one is probably intermediate 
to advanced DBA's. Note to MSDN Universal Subscribers, as far as I know this material will not be 
included in the subscription. Book sells for $69.99 retail, cheaper at Fatbrain!
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