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Friday, September 18, 1998

Dear SQL Server Professionals,

This is another update message about the Heartland Users Groups' SQL Server
SIG.  This e-mail message was sent to you as a 'blind copy' to protect your
privacy.  Please feel free to forward this message on to whomever you feel
may have an interest in the Heartland Users Groups and/or the SQL Server
SIG.  If you wish to be removed from this e-mail list simply send a reply to
this message and indicate so.

The September SQL Server SIG meeting was held on Wednesday, September 16,
1998 at 5:30 PM at the offices of Empower Training Consultants.  Our speaker
was Sean Baird of Empower Training Consultants.  Sean presented "SQL Server
Performance Tuning and Optimization:  Tips and Tricks".  Sean is a project
manager, technical architect, and co-author of "MCSE Training Guide:  SQL
Server 6.5 Design and Implementation" (New Riders); see more details about
this book at:  Sean is also currently working on
another book about SQL Server 7.0.

Sean shared with us that the performance a SQL Server is influenced by the
following issues in order of impact:  [1.] database design, [2.] application
design, [3.] query design, [4.] server hardware, [5.] server configuration.

Effective database design is the most important consideration.  Tables need
to be in the third normal form (or as close as possible) to achieve the
greatest performance benefit.  Use efficient data types for primary keys,
e.g., integer datatypes perform better than char.  For OLAP systems, use
indexes that are useful for speeding up data retrieval and get rid of
indexes that don't help out.  For OLTP systems, be sure you are not using a
clustering index on a monotonically increasing value.  Also, make sure you
are updating index statistics periodically.

In addition, application design also has a large impact on performance.
Applications should be designed to minimize the amount of data that flows
between the client and server; poorly designed applications that require
unnecessary traffic between the client and server will result in
correspondingly poor performance.  

Queries also need to be designed efficiently, using all available joins and
useful indexes.  Use SHOWPLAN to make sure your query is doing what you want
it to do.  Avoid the use of ' SELECT * ' when it is possible to specify
specific columns.  As Sean said, "take only what you are going to eat".

Hardware can also play a big role in server performance.  When possible, use
RAID-5 for your data devices.  Put transaction log devices on separate
physical drives and mirror them.  Additional RAM and the use of multiple
CPUs (SMP) can also positively impact performance.  

SQL Server configuration parameters can also impact performance, but
probably much less so than you might expect.  The key configuration options
to tune are: memory, locks, user connections, and RA settings.  Also be sure
not to 'starve' NT for memory; leave at least 16 MB for NT to do it's thing.

Finally, avoid running unnecessary services and other system applications on
the same machine as SQL Server.  In particular, don't use your SQL Server
machine for apps and services like Exchange, SMS, PDC (primary domain
controller), or BDC (backup domain controller).

Thanks to Sean Baird for being our presenter.  We greatly appreciate Sean's
time and efforts as our speaker.  Also, thanks to Chad Means and Empower for
providing us with the facilities and sodas for the meeting.  Thanks to Jim
Welch of Microsoft for the copies of SQL Server 7.0 beta 3 and the various
promotional items that were given away (mousepads, MS/Monster Truck Madness,
MS/3-D baseball, the "squishy brain", and the unusual "plastic concave
cylinder filled with a blue viscose fluid" thing).

Finally, congratulations to Rob Kraft who won the drawing for a copy of
"Inside Microsoft SQL Server 6.5" by Ron Soukup (Microsoft Programming

The October SQL Server SIG meeting will be held on Thursday, October 22,
1998 at 5:30 PM.  This meeting will be held at the offices of Analysts
International Corporation, located in the Broadway Summit Building, 3101
Broadway, Suite 101, Kansas City, MO.  This building is situated on the
SOUTHEAST corner of 31st Street and Broadway.  AIC's offices are on the
first floor.  Please use the entrance located on the SOUTH side of the
building.  Parking in the building lot is FREE.  The topic will be "Database
Design 101", which will be an introductory lesson about logical database
design concepts and techniques. We will learn about entities, attributes,
relationships, and keys, and we will demonstrate the use of Platinum's ERwin
data modeling tool. This session will be relatively platform-independent so
persons who use database systems other than SQL Server should also benefit.
Brent Huscher, SQL Server DBA for Payless Cashways, will be the presenter.
We will also be electing SQL Server SIG officers at this meeting.

I have given out all of the remaining copies of SQL Server 7.0 beta 3.  You
may request Microsoft to send you a copy of the beta at the following web
page: .

1.	Effective immediately and until the end of 1998, SQL Server SIG
meetings will commence at 5:30 PM.  Based on feedback, we may decide to have
meetings in 1999 and beyond at a later hour.

2.	Effective November 5, 1998, the regular meeting day of the month for
the SQL Server SIG will be the FIRST THURSDAY of the month.

3.	The following is the calendar of SQL Server SIG meetings for the
rest of 1998:

	a. October 1998:	Thurs.	10/22/98 @ 5:30 PM at AIC, 3101
Broadway, Suite 101
	b. November 1998:	Thurs.	11/05/98 @ 5:30 PM at AIC, 3101
Broadway, Suite 101
	c. December 1998:	Thurs.	12/03/98 @ 5:30 PM at AIC, 3101
Broadway, Suite 101

4.	See the following web page for links to good books about SQL Server: .  Let me know if you have any
other books you would like to see on the list.

5.	An MS/Exchange Server SIG is currently under construction.  Details
are forthcoming.

Until the October 22nd meeting, I will continue to act as the SQL Server
SIG's provisional leader; however, we need to have official elections of SQL
Server SIG officers.  Interested parties are encouraged to nominate
themselves for any of the following five offices:  president,
vice-president, programs committee chair, membership committee chair, or
treasurer.  See the following web page for descriptions of the duties of
these offices: . Elections
will be held at the Thursday, October 22, 1998 meeting.  The following
persons have been nominated thus far:  Matt Crouch - nominated for
vice-president, Bob Van Cleave - nominated for treasurer, Brent Huscher -
nominated for president.  Call or send me an e-mail message if you are
interested in nominating yourself.

All Heartland Users Groups' meetings are open to the general public.
Joining the Heartland Users Groups entitles you to receive door prizes and
the monthly newsletter.  Please consider joining -- an annual membership is
only $25.00.  You can obtain a membership form at any of the Heartland Users
Groups' events.  Here is a calendar of upcoming Heartland Users Groups

Monday, September 21, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
General Meeting -- "Riding the Waves of Technology" by Greg Riess of Baan
At Johnson County Community College
Room GEB 233, OP, KS
see for details

Tuesday, September 22, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Visual Basic SIG -- "Activating Controls & Error Handling"
At Johnson County Community College
Room CEC 234, OP, KS
See for details

Monday, October 5, 1998 at 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
HUG Board Meeting (for HUG officers and SIG leaders)
At Security Benefit Companies
Corporate Woods, Building #27, Suite 150, OP, KS
(northeast of College BLVD and Grandview RD)

Wednesday, October 7, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
JAVA SIG -- JAVA tutorial (second session)
At Step 1, Inc.
10551 Barkley, Suite 117, OP, KS
See for details

Saturday, October 10, 1998 at 9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Win 9x/NT SIG -- topic TBA
11421 Metcalf, OP, KS

Wednesday, October 14, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
C++ SIG -- topic TBA
At Step 1, Inc.
10551 Barkley, Suite 117, OP, KS
See for details

Monday, October 19, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
General Meeting -- topic TBA
At Johnson County Community College
Room GEB 233, OP, KS
see for details

Tuesday, October 20, 1998 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Smalltalk SIG -- Squeak 2.1; A freeware Smalltalk-80 implementation by David
At Information Systems Corp.
City Center Square, 1110  Main, Suite 1540, KC, MO
See for details

Wednesday, October 21, 1998 at 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Access SIG -- topic TBA
At Johnson County Community College
Room GEB 137, OP, KS
See for details

Thursday, October 22, 1998 at 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM	
SQL Server SIG -- Database Design 101
At Analysts International Corporation
3101 Broadway, Suite 101, KC, MO
See for details

Tuesday, October 27, 1998 at 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Visual Basic SIG -- topic TBA
At Johnson County Community College
Room CEC 234, OP, KS
See for details

We still need to determine a discussion topic and presenter for the November
5th meeting.  If you would like to volunteer to present at this or any other
upcoming meeting, please contact me by phone or e-mail.

The Heartland Users Groups' home page is at: .

The SQL Server SIG's home page is at: .  Feel free to offer any ideas
for improving the SQL Server SIG's page or for adding any links.

Please let me know if you have any questions, comments, criticisms, and/or
referrals of persons who may be potentially interested in the SQL Server

Back to the main SQL Server SIG page