Secret SQL 7.0

DBAs will find this a handy, useful guide to SQL 7.0's hidden gems.

With all the changes Microsoft has made in SQL Server from version 6.5 to 7.0, every DBA needs a good reference to the ins and outs of the relational database management system. IDG has updated its popular Secrets guide with information that proves to be a useful additional to any SQL Server reference library for new and seasoned SQL Server users.

Chapters 1 and 2 discuss server specifications and installation requirements and procedures. These chapters are thorough enough to help anybody beginning the SQL Server journey, as well as familiar users who don't quite understand the implications of network protocol options and the value of properly specified hardware components.

In chapter 3, "Basic Server Setup," a lot of the server configuration options, which are often neglected, get discussed in detail. The authors provide recommendations for optimizing the server configuration, including a valuable review of "which default options to change immediately."

No SQL reference would be complete without reviewing the many uses of the Query Analyzer, as discussed in chapter 4. Understanding how to use the execution plans is valuable when experimenting with alternative query options.

Administrators will appreciate the information in chapter 6, "SQL Mail, Alerts, Jobs, and Database Maintenance." Having these features available doesn't do any good unless you know how to implement them-and the authors do a great job explaining the process.

Chapters 8 through 10 cover a lot of ground on using Transact-SQL, SQL Server's enhanced version of ANSI-SQL 92. What you don't often find in reference books about T-SQL is the difference between SQL Server's rendition of the language and the standard. This chapter reveals the nuances between the languages and the future direction of the language and standard specification for all relational database management systems.

If you want more in-depth information for monitoring and optimizing SQL Server, chapter 24 covers the Database Consistency Checker (DBCC) tool and provides great examples on how to use many of the more useful utilities and diagnostics available only via DBCC.

Chapter 19, "Practical SQL-DMO," focuses on using the Microsoft Management Console and developing a custom snap-in; the code discussed is also included on the CD. Although it's geared more towards C++ programmers, it does give some insight into the possibilities of extending the functionality of the MMC and custom snap-in using the enhanced features of the SQL-DMO interface.

The CD included with the book offers some useful code, including time-saving maintenance and administrative stored procedures. It also includes an evaluation copy of SQL 7.0, handy for testing purposes on a Windows 9x workstation.

The only caveat when using this text as a reference is that there remains some of the old information that was valid for 6.5, but not 7.0—in particular, a handful of references to stored procedures and system tables that are no longer valid. (It looks like the authors didn't quite do as thorough a job reviewing the material to make it reflect the current release.) Some screenshots are obviously from the beta, which isn't really a surprise with a book published so soon after the final release. Overall, however, the Secrets book is a valuable reference for DBAs and developers because it provides practical coverage and examples of many of the commonly used features and "secrets" to using Transact-SQL, replication, SQL-DMO, and Microsoft English Query.

About the Author

Nivine Zakhari, MCSE+Internet, MCSD, MCDBA, is an independent technical consultant and founder of MSPROS, a network of independent Microsoft Certified Professionals and solution providers based in Houston, Texas. She has been in engineering and IT consulting since 1993 and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from the University of Houston.

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