Book review: SQL Server 2000 Fast Answers for DBAs and Developers
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cover Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed Inside SQL Server 2000

Title: SQL Server 2000 Fast Answers for DBAs and Developers
Authors: Joseph Sack
Publisher: Curlingstone
ISBN: 1904347096
Pages: 900
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At last there is a book, that is completely focused towards helping aspiring DBAs and database developers. As the title suggests, this book has answers for all those questions that generally trouble a budding DBA. It shows you how to setup an SQL Server, administer it, secure it and develop database code. Information within the chapters is organized in the form of "How to" questions, followed by complete answers.

I highly recommend this book for all new DBAs, and those developers who are planning to enter the world of database administration.

Here's more information about the book:

- An easy-to-use, day-to-day desk reference

- For all junior, part-time, and reluctant SQL Server DBAs and developers

- Fast facts to help you get the job done

If you're new to SQL Server 2000, you will benefit from this book's explanation of the different ways to achieve a task, and the benefits and disadvantages of each method. If you're a more experienced SQL Server DBA, this book enables you quickly to reference the specifics of a command or process, brings you up-to-date with the technology, and helps you refine your craft.

SQL Server 2000 Fast Answers for DBAs and Developers gives you:

- Thorough 'How to' answers to typical SQL Server database administration and development questions

- A task-based guide to key parts of the job - installation, configuration, backup, security, replication, failover clustering, DTS, performance, and job automation

- Conceptual overviews that show how all the parts fit together

- Useful and concise syntax examples

- Best practice based on the author's five years of experience with SQL Server

- A place to look when you don't know the answer

Now, let me quickly walk you through all the chapters:

Chapter 1: Installation, Upgrades, Service Packs, and Database Migration
Shows you how to install SQL Server, upgrade/migrate from previous version of SQL Server and other databases, how to install service packs. Discusses how to plan your installation, installation best practices and security aspects.

Chapter 2: Configuring SQL Server
Provides you with a post installation check list, shows you how to configure various configuration options using Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer in detail and explains whether it is better to alter a setting, if so the optimal setting for that option etc.

Chapter 3: Creating and Configuring Databases
Starts with a discussion of how the databases are actually stored on the disk (physical structure) and discusses the basic architecture of databases (files and filegroups). Then discusses all the datatypes provided by SQL Server. Shows you how to create databases using Enterprise Manager and Query Analyzer, and provides you with formulae for estimating the size of your databases, tables, indexes etc. Discusses all the database level options.

Chapter 4: SQL Server Agent and SQL Logs
This chapter covers everything you need to know about SQL Server Agent, setting up, configuring and troubleshooting scheduled jobs and alerts. Shows you how to setup SQL Mail and goes on to discuss Multi Server administration (Master and Target server configuration). Concludes by showing how to script and move jobs from one server to another and manage error logs.

Chapter 5: Transactions, Locking, Blocking, and Deadlocking
Discusses the basics of transactions, isolation levels, locking architecture in SQL Server. Explains how blocking and deadlocking occurs and how to identify and resolve blocking and deadlocking.

Chapter 6: Backup, Recovery, and Maintenance
Starts with a discussion on creating backup and recovery plans. Explains the different database recovery models available in SQL Server and various backup methods (full database, transaction log, file, filegroup, and differential database backups) provided by SQL Server. Shows you how to backup to disk and tape using Enterprise Manager and using the BACKUP and RESTORE commands. Shows you how to setup and configure and troubleshoot Database Maintenance Plans. Discusses various database maintenance related DBCC commands.

Chapter 7: Security
Everything you need to know about SQL Server security, starts with a discussion of how security is implemented by SQL Server using logins, users, roles and permissions. Shows you how to create logins, and control access to various objects in databases along with security best practices.

Chapter 8: Replication
Discusses the basics of replication and shows you how to setup different types of publications (snapshot, transactional and merge) and subscriptions.

Chapter 9: Linked Servers
Shows you how to setup and configure linked servers.

Chapter 10: Failover Clustering
Shows you how to setup and administer clustered SQL Server installations.

Chapter 11: DTS
This chapter is a must read for anyone (beginner as well as advanced) interested in learning the ins and outs of DTS. Excellent coverage of ALL DTS tasks along with complete examples. Shows you how to create packages in DTS designer and use various built-in tasks. Talks about scheduling DTS packages as well as running DTS packages using DTSRUN.

Chapter 12: Log Shipping
Shows you how to setup and configure logshipping for maintaining warm standby servers.

Chapter 13: Other Utilities
A complete coverage of all the tools and utilities that come with SQL Server.

Chapter 14: DDL
Shows you how to create and alter tables, create various other database objects like constraints, relationships, defaults, triggers, stored procedures, user defined functions etc.

Chapter 15: DML
Shows you how to retrieve data using SELECT statements. Explains various types of joins using examples. Explains various types of subqueries and how to use subqueries to retrieve information from tables. Discusses query hints. Shows you how to alter data using INSERT, UPDATE and DELETE statements.

Chapter 16: Transact-SQL Techniques
An extension of what is covered in the previous two chapters. Shows you various T-SQL programming techniques.

Chapter 17: Performance Tuning
Covers how to identify performance issues, and tune your system and queries for optimum performance, using various tools like Index Tuning Wizard, Profiler, Performance Monitor etc.

Chapter 18: XML
A good coverage of all the XML related features of SQL Server 2000.

As you can see, this is a huge book, covering almost all aspects of SQL Server, useful for both database administrators and developers.

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