Book review: Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit
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cover Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Unleashed Inside SQL Server 2000

Title: SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit
Authors: Dozens of experts from Microsoft SQL Server dev team, consulting services and support
Publisher: Microsoft Press
ISBN: 0735612668
Pages: 1200
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This book is a great resource and an excellent reference for IT (database) architects, consulting DBAs, database and application designers. At more than 1200 pages and an index of 32 pages, this is a massive compilation of real world experiences.

This book is not for beginners, but for those who already have a fair amount of experience with SQL Server, and are in need for additional tips, best practices and helpful advice on getting the best out of SQL Server. Best part is that, this book's authors are from the Microsoft SQL Server product development team, and the Microsoft Consulting services. These are the people who created SQL Server, and implemented best of the breed SQL Server implementations worldwide. That explains the standard of the information in this book.

The enclosed CD-ROM contains various useful SQL Server tools, utilities, code samples and more. It also has an online version of the resource kit. The second CD contains a 120 day evaluation edition of SQL Server 2000.

It has 39 chapters, and the main focus is on migrating to SQL Server, administering SQL Server, securing SQL Server installations, performance tuning, improving the availability of SQL Server, SQL Server internals, data warehousing, programming, XML, replication etc.

Let me quickly walk you through all the chapters:

Chapter 1: Introducing the SQL Server 2000 Resource Kit
Starts with a quick introduction to the book, authors, and walks you through the rest of the chapters and concludes with links to additional sources of information.

Chapter 2: New Features in SQL Server 2000
Walks you through all the new features introduced in SQL Server 2000.

Chapter 3: Choosing an Edition of SQL Server 2000
Helps you choose an edition of SQL Server that is best suited for your environment. Also discusses the usage of SQL Server in development, mobile and evaluation scenarios.

Chapter 4: Choosing How to License SQL Server
Describes different licensing methods like, per-processor, per-seat (CAL) and helps you choose the right type of licensing for your environment.

Chapter 5: Migrating Access 2000 Databases to SQL Server 2000
This chapter explains the advantages of moving from Access to SQL Server and helps Access developers migrate their databases and queries to SQL Server. Also discusses application design considerations.

Chapter 6: Migrating Sybase Databases to SQL Server
Outlines the steps involved in migrating Sybase databases to SQL Server and discusses the differences between Sybase and SQL Server from programming and administration points of view, with a special focus on Sybase Transact-SQL (T-SQL) and Microsoft T-SQL.

Chapter 7: Migrating Oracle Databases to SQL Server 2000
Same as the above chapter. Also discusses the essential design points that allow the creation of high-performance, high-concurrency SQL Server applications.

Chapter 8: Managing Database Change
Describes the best practices the developers and DBAs should follow for managing the database changes right from the development environment through quality assurance and live environments.

Chapter 9: Storage Engine Enhancements
Provides insights into the inner workings of Storage Engine and discusses the enhancements provided in SQL Server 2000, along with tips for taking advantage of those enhancements.

Chapter 10: Implementing Security
Discusses the new security features of SQL Server 2000 and how best to implement security in SQL Server on Windows 2000 environments. Includes source code examples.

Chapter 11: Using BLOBs
This chapter has everything you wanted to know about Binary Large Objects (BLOBs) and the authors of this chapter have experience with the Microsoft TerraServer database. Discusses all aspects of working with BLOBs and have excellent examples in VBScript, and C++ examples for handling BLOBs using ODBC and OLE DB.

Chapter 12: Failover Clustering
Describes how to use clustering for high website or application uptime/availability and discusses components involved in clustering, best practices, and application design considerations.

Chapter 13: Log Shipping
Discusses logshipping and how to use it for maintaining standby SQL Server databases.

Chapter 14: Data Center Availability: Facilities, Staffing, and Operations
Provides guidelines and standards for data center facilities, lists the staff required to run SQL Server in a data center for ensuring system availability and recoverability.

Chapter 15: High Availability Options
This chapter covers failover clustering, log shipping, replication, SANs. Also covers the importance of people, processes, policies and procedures.

Chapter 16: Five Nines: The Ultimate in High Availability
This chapter gives real world examples of how to design, implement, and support a highly available SQL Server 2000 server.

Chapter 17: Data Warehouse Design Considerations
This chapter differentiates between OLTP and DSS databases and discusses the design and implementation of data warehouses using tools like OLAP and data mining.

Chapter 18: Using Partitions in a SQL Server 2000 Data Warehouse
Discusses how to use partitions to improve the query performance, manageability and load speed of data warehouses.

Chapter 19: Data Extraction, Transformation and Loading Techniques
Discusses various deployment issues, design considerations related to extraction, transformation and loading (ETL) data into data warehouses.

Chapter 20: RDBMS Performance Tuning Guide for Data Warehousing
Discusses tools and techniques for tuning any RDBMS that is used for data warehousing.

Chapter 21: Monitoring the DTS Multiphase Data Pump in Visual Basic
Illustrates a technique for monitoring the phases of the DTS data pump process from an out-of-process application in real time.

Chapter 22: Cubes in the Real World
Provides details and guidance for leveraging all the features of Analysis Services.

Chapter 23: Business Case Solutions Using MDX
Gives direct and informative answers to a wide variety of common questions involving the Multidimensional Expressions (MDX) query language, grouped according to business usage.

Chapter 24: Effective Strategies for Data Mining
Provides guidance in developing data mining solutions, including a discussion of model-driven and data-driven data mining.

Chapter 25: Getting Data to the Client
Provides a review of, and usage guidelines for, client-side technologies that can be used to retrieve and process data and meta data from Analysis Services Engine.

Chapter 26: Performance Tuning Analysis Services
Provides detailed technical information on fine tuning overall Analysis Services performance and query and processing performance.

Chapter 27: Creating an Interactive Digital Dashboard
This chapter explains how to create interactive digital dashboard applications using SQL Server.

Chapter 28: A Digital Dashboard Browser for Analysis Services Meta Data
This chapter uses the digital dashboard technology for creating a browser for viewing the Analysis Services meta data.

Chapter 29: Common Questions in Replication
Provides answers to commonly asked replication questions, covering various aspects.

Chapter 30: Creating Merge Replication Custom Conflict Resolvers Using Visual Basic
Explains how to create a Visual Basic application for resolving conflicts generated in merge replication.

Chapter 31: Exposing SQL Server Data to the Web with XML
Discusses all the native XML support features of SQL Server 2000.

Chapter 32: English Query Best Practices
Provides best practices for starting, expanding, and deploying an English Query application using the tools provided by SQL Server.

Chapter 33: The Data Tier: An Approach to Database Optimization
Covers application and database testing, thorough performance tuning and hardware configuration.

Chapter 34: Identifying Common Administrative Issues
This chapter offers a lot of utility stored procedures that help in identifying and resolving common configuration issues.

Chapter 35: Using Visual Basic to Remotely Manage SQL Server 2000
This chapter provides complete Visual Basic COM examples, that use SQL DMO and SQL Namespace (SQL-NS) for programmatically managing SQL Server.

Chapter 36: Using Views with a View on Performance
Introduces you to indexed views and describes the scenarios that benefit most of the usage of indexed views.

Chapter 37: Extending Triggers with INSTEAD OF
Provides design guidelines, best practices for using INSTEAD OF triggers along with sample code.

Chapter 38: Scaling Out on SQL Server
Discusses federated SQL Server configurations, and provides insights about the technology.

Chapter 39: Tools, Samples, eBooks, and More
This chapter describes the tools, utilities, and code samples included in the CD ROM.

The accompanying CD has numerous useful tools. To start with it has an electronic version of the Resource Kit book, and few of the chapters are available in eBook format. An online System Table Map is also provided.

A few of the many tools provided, include:

BII (Bulk Image Insert), for bulk inserting images and binary files
DatabaseHammer, for load testing your databases
DBGen, for generating test data for your tables
SimpleLogShipper, a simplified log shipping tool
StoredProcBuilder, for managing and controlling the building of stored procedures maintained in Visual Source Safe (VSS)
TSQLQuickReference, explaining the difference between 7.0 and 2000 T-SQL syntax, and differences between SQL99 and SQL Server 2000 syntax

As you can see, this is a huge book with loads of useful information and I strongly recommend this for DBAs, lead developers, database and application designers and architects.

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