Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000
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cover Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed The guru's guide to Transact SQL

Title: Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000
Authors: Kalen Delaney
Publisher: Microsoft Press
ISBN: 0735609985
Pages: 1088
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This is the most comprehensive book for anyone interested in knowing how SQL Server works internally. You might ask, "Who is interested in the internals of SQL Server?". My answer would be, "Any DBA or technical architect, who undertakes serious SQL Server implementations. One needs to understand the SQL Server architecture and internals to be able to tune a database system properly and to get the best out of SQL Server."

What makes this book so special? I would say, "The author". Ron Soukup wrote the first version of this book "Inside SQL Server 6.5". Ron was a part of the SQL Server development team and he was one of the core architects of SQL Server and owned specific areas of SQL Server, like Replication. No wonder that book was a major hit. When SQL Server 7.0 was released, Kalen took over the 'Inside SQL Server' series and wrote the next version "Inside SQL Server 7.0" and this book maintained the same level of standard and became an essential book in every DBA's book shelf. With the release of SQL Server 2000, she came up with "Inside SQL Server 2000". She received a great deal of inputs from Microsoft SQL Server development team and that's what makes this book important and unique, and obviously, this book comes from Microsoft Press.

Who should read this book? Anyone who wants to understand the internals of SQL Server. Might be too much for a beginner, but if you are comfortable with SQL Server, and are looking to get your hands dirty with the inner workings of SQL Server or trying to fine tune SQL Server installations, this is the book for you. I always keep this book accessible to me and I keep referring to it when in doubt.

Let me quickly walk you through the contents of this book:

Chapter 1: The Evolution of Microsoft SQL Server: 1989 to 2000
This chapter introduces the authors and goes on to discuss the VERY interesting history (how Microsoft and Sybase worked together on SQL Server initially and then terminated the joint SQL Server development) of SQL Server. I must say, this is an entertaining chapter to read.

Chapter 2: A Tour of SQL Server
This chapter discusses the RDBMS fundamentals, ACID properties of transactions, SMP architecture, security, distributed processing, replication, built-in SQL Server tools and client development interfaces like ODBC, OLE DB, ADO, DB-Library, ESQL/C etc.

Chapter 3: SQL Server Architecture
Discusses SQL Server architecture and different management components of SQL Server like memory manager, lock manager, transaction manager, SQL Server Kernel etc.

Chapter 4: Planning for and Installing SQL Server
Discusses SQL Server editions, hardware components and guidelines for SQL Server installations. Also covers licensing, collation, multiple instances, installation procedure, post installation configuration, remote and unattended installation.

Chapter 5: Databases and Database Files
Discusses system databases, creation of databases, shrinking and expanding databases, usage of files and filegroups, different database settings, backup and restore.

Chapter 6: Tables
Starts by discussing basics like table and column naming conventions, data types, identity property, constraints, creating and altering tables and goes onto cover the most advanced bit: "Internal storage", in which the storage of tables is discussed at a lower level (data pages, row offsets, page linkages etc.).

Chapter 7: Querying Data
Covers different types of joins (old and new ANSI styles), handling NULLs, correlated subqueries, views, derived tables, partitioned views and different types of search expressions.

Chapter 8: Indexes
Very interesting chapter. Covers the basic concepts of indexes and explains the internal b-tree structures of clustered and non-clustered indexes, dealing with fragmentation, and how to use indexes efficiently.

Chapter 9: Modifying Data
Discusses basic data modification operations like INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE and discusses how these commands work internally and their effect on indexes and page splitting. Also covers logging and locking.

Chapter 10: Programming with Transact-SQL
Discusses basic T-SQL programming and commands. The Brainteasers section has some good puzzles and solutions. Also covers Full-Text search feature.

Chapter 11: Batches, Stored Procedures, and Functions
Covers the basics about stored procedures and functions. Teaches how to rewrite stored procedures as user defined functions. Explains how to write system routines.

Chapter 12: Transactions and Triggers
Discusses explicit and implicit transactions, error handling in transactions, transaction isolation levels and other characteristics of transactions. Covers after and instead-of triggers and explains how to use triggers to implement referential integrity.

Chapter 13: Special Transact-SQL Operations: Working with Cursors and Large Objects
Covers all the basics about cursors, and discusses when and how to use cursors. Shows you how to deal with text, ntext and image datatypes using READTEXT, WRITETEXT, UPDATETEXT commands.

Chapter 14: Locking
Discusses different types of locks, spin locks, dead locks, row level and page level locking, locking hints, trace flags and internals of lock manager.

Chapter 15: Query Processor
Discusses the query processor internals, how the queries and stored procedures are parsed, compiled, optimized. Discusses statistics and covers procedure cache and caching mechanisms in detail.

Chapter 16: Query Tuning
A very useful chapter covering various aspects like organization of development teams, normalization, database design, planning for peak usage, different development methodologies, prototyping, benchmarking, creating useful indexes, monitoring query performance, troubleshooting blocking and deadlocking and more.

Chapter 17: Configuration and Performance Monitoring
Discusses task management, resource allocation, page file, file system selection, network protocols. Covers different SQL Server configuration settings and monitoring performance using tools like Profiler and Performance Monitor.

Overall, a very very valuable book and a great reference for anyone interested in knowing SQL Server better.

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