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Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server 2008


Brad's Sure Guides
SQL Server 2008Brad's Sure Guide to SQL Server 2008 by Brad McGehee

(1st Edition, September 2008)

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" SQL Server 2008 has hundreds of new features and improvements for Production DBAs, Developer DBAs, and Business Intelligence specialists…in this book I focus on what I thought were the ten most important new features for Production DBAs.Brad McGehee

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Editorial Review

This book describes what I consider to be the top ten most important new features for Production DBAs in SQL Server 2008. As you can imagine, my choices may not match your top ten picks, but I think I have covered many of the key features Production DBAs will find of interest.

The focus of each chapter is to introduce you to the new feature, discuss why you might want to use it, describe how it works, and to provide a simple example. If you find any of these topics of special interest, I suggest you follow up and learn more about them from Books Online, and by experimenting with the new features on a test SQL Server 2008 box. Here are the features that I picked out for inclusion, with a chapter of the book dedicated to each topic:

  • Management Studio Improvements – bringing with it IntelliSense and a debugger for T-SQL, the ability to run multi-server queries as well as improved performance and numerous other enhancements, SSMS 2008 could well start to rebuild the tool's somewhat-tarnished reputation in the DBA community
  • Policy-Based Management – every DBA knows the frustration of trying to manage tens of servers, the configuration of each one inevitably being subtly different from that of another. Policy-based management could ease a lot of this pain.
  • Data Compression – the first immutable law of database administration is that databases will grow (and grow) over time. SQL 2008 enterprise brings with it data and backup compression, thus reducing physical file sizes as well as disk I/O.
  • Resource Governor – everyone knows it's not "best practice" but most DBAs, nevertheless, deal with situations whereby a SQL Server supporting production OLTP applications is also used extensively for reporting. Often this can cause resource contention to the point where production activity is affected. Resource Governor promises to be a valuable tool in curtailing this problem.
  • Performance Data Collector – historically, DBAs have used a mishmash of different tools to get performance data out of SQL Server, including Profiler, System Monitor, DMVs, and more. Performance Data Collector is one of the tools that starts to address this issue, moving more towards a single-location, single-format model of collecting, storing and analyzing performance data.
  • Transparent Data Encryption – whether we like it or not, Security is an issue with which DBAs are going to become more and more familiar. On top of the available column-level encryption, SQL 2008 Enterprise adds the ability to perform full database-level encryption
  • SQL Server Audit – again, auditing is an area in which DBAs have tended to use to mishmash of tools in order to track the activities they need to monitor, from DDL triggers, to SQL Trace to third-party tools. The new SQL Server Audit capabilities attempts to expand the activities that can be easily monitored as well as offering the DBA much more granular control and ease of administration.
  • New Data Types – it's a long time since SQL Server has been a simple "relational data store", and SQL 2008 pushes boundaries again, introducing spatial data types, hierarchical data, as well as unstructured data such as videos, Excel files and so on.
  • Extended Events – the second major strand of the push to "centralize" performance data collection in SQL Server is the introduction of extended events. These provide a generic event-handling system whose goal is to make it much easier to capture, store and act on disparate troubleshooting data from SQL Server, the Windows OS, and applications.
  • Change Data Capture – a continuous, but often thwarted, goal of the DBA is to cleanly separate OLTP and OLAP activities onto separate servers. However, moving data between the two, while keeping them synchronized, has proved a difficult problem. Change Data Capture could well be the answer.

Learning SQL Server 2008 is not as steep a learning curve as learning SQL Server 2005 was, but neither is it a simple task that you can expect to accomplish overnight. I suggest you reserve a few hours every week for the next several months, devoting them to learning the new features SQL Server 2008, along with the benefits they provide. I hope this book gets you off to a good start.

About the Author

Brad McGehee is a MCSE+I, MCSD, and MCT (former) with a Bachelors’ degree in Economics and a Masters in Business Administration. Currently the Director of DBA Education for Red Gate Software, Brad is an accomplished Microsoft SQL Server MVP with over 13 years’ SQL Server experience, and over 6 years’ training experience.

Brad is a frequent speaker at SQL PASS, SQL Connections, SQLTeach, Code Camps, SQL Server user groups, and other industry seminars, where he shares his 13 years’ cumulative knowledge. Brad was the founder of the popular community site SQL-Server-Performance.Com, and operated it from 2000 through 2006, where he wrote over one million words on SQL Server topics.

A well-known name in SQL Server literature, Brad is the author or co-author of more than 12 technical books and over 100 published articles. His most recent book was “How to Become an Exceptional DBA”, and later this year he will be releasing a book on how to use the SQL Server 2005/2008 Profiler. When he is not travelling to spread his knowledge of SQL Server, Brad enjoys spending time with his wife and young daughter in Hawaii.

Book Details

Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Red Gate Books


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