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The Voice of the DBA

Steve Jones is the editor of SQLServerCentral.com and visits a wide variety of data related topics in his daily editorial. Steve has spent years working as a DBA and general purpose Windows administrator, primarily working with SQL Server since it was ported from Sybase in 1990. You can follow Steve on Twitter at twitter.com/way0utwest

SQL Server 2005 Tools

A good talk on the tools from the guy that's responsible for SSMS, Configuration Manager, Maintenance plans, Surface Area Configuration Wizard, and a few more.
Initially I thought this might be a dud, with him showing some of the basic features of Configuration Manager and Surface Area tools,but then he showed some interesting tricks. Like how to connect to different version or filter the types of connections in the registered servers pane (hint, check the icon buttons). He also looked at filtering and some of the scripting options available. Changing defaults is nice because I've been frustrated by them in the past, with my scripts requiring lots of search and replace.
He covered maintenance plans as well, showing some of the new options in SP2. Sub plans, target servers, etc. No mention of the bugs that SP2 introduced, but it wasn't mentioned at all. Another great place for an apology for the hassles, but it wasn't shown.
The summary page (RTM, SP1), became the Object Explorer Details. Paul detailed a few other changes, which I'm not sure why they were made as they confuse people, but it was good to see them listed.
One of the things I've worried about is configuration changes over time. Since this has required lots of work to track, it was great to see the standard report of "Configuration Changes History" report. Now it's coming from the default trace that is very lightweight, but it only keeps 5 files, each 20MB, so you could lose a bunch of information.
These reports show up in Object Explorer with SP2, Before that, you'd have to dig through the tool. You can make your own reports in BIDS with a Report Project. Create a query and then format the report. Ignore the report server and deployment folder. Load these into SSMS and you have lots of data available. There are tons of reports, so search around for the dashboard performance reports.
Lots of work went into the Database Turning Advisor, making it its own product.
Profiler allows SSAS traces in SS2K5. One of the cool things is integrating the System Monitor with a trace to correlate events.
The Best Practices Analyzer, gives a good check on your instances. It's come out about 18 months after RTM, which is better than SS2K, when it took 4 years before it was released. Look for this to be updated with the  Katmai RTM. Results are linked to BOL, so this is a nice integration of information. They also include some rational for the recommendations.

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