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Friday, March 12, 1999

RECAP OF THE 03/04/1999 SQL SERVER SIG MEETING
************************************************************
Chris Miller of GeoAccess gave a presentation of SQL Server 7.0 Hints and
Tricks.  Chris is the co-author of the book SQL Server System Administration
(The Landmark Series),   You can find out more about this book by going to
the following link at Amazon.com:  
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1562059556

SQL Server 7.0's dynamic self-management, Data Transformation Services,
integrated Decision Support Services, and other new features have placed SQL
Server on the same playing field as other major-league relational database
systems like Oracle, Sybase, Informix, and DB-2 Universal Server.  Unless
you have been in exile on a desert island for the past few months, you have
probably been bombarded with the numerous stories in technology magazines
and on the Internet highlighting SQL Server 7.0's great new features.
However, Chris' presentation took on a different approach and painted a more
worldly picture of SQL Server 7.0, including some of it's shortcomings.
Here are some highlights from Chris' presentation:

The physical structure of SQL Server 7.0 databases has changed
significantly.  A SQL Server 7.0 database must have at least two physical
files (one for the data and the other for the transaction log), and SQL
Server 7.0 databases can be configured to grow dynamically.  Sometimes the
dynamic portions of SQL Server 7.0 databases can grow too large and may not
shrink as might be expected.  As a consequence, Chris recommends creating
four files for SQL Server 7.0 databases:  [1.] a primary data file of fixed
size, [2.] a primary log file of fixed size, [3.] a secondary data file that
is allowed to grow dynamically, and [4.] a secondary log file that is
allowed to grow dynamically.  The primary files contain the control
information and their size should remain fixed whereas the secondary files
are used as 'overflow' and can be allowed to grow dynamically.  Structuring
a SQL Server 7.0 database in this manner gives the DBA more control over the
dynamic portions of the database because the control information stored on 
the primary files is isolated from the dynamic secondary files.

SQL Server 7.0 features dynamic self-management which significantly reduces
the need to tweak the server's configuration parameters.  As a consequence,
it is more important than ever to ensure databases are designed properly
because bad database designs will become more apparent with SQL Server 7.0.
Whenever possible, each table should have a unique clustered index.  Because
SQL Server 7.0 features row-level locking it is no longer a big problem to
place a clustered index on a monotonically-increasing key.  Under SQL Server
7.0 it becomes more important than ever to build clustered indexes before
building non-clustered indexes because the non-clustered indexes contain
pointers to the clustered index.  In addition, avoid creating too many
non-clustered indexes; only create non-clustered indexes that produce a
specific data retrieval benefit.

SQL Server 7.0's user interfaces have changed significantly, too.  It is
likely that it will take DBAs and developers a while to get used to the new
Microsoft Management Console (MMC) interface.  In addition, the MMC is not
quite perfect yet and has some memory leaks.  Chris recommends shutting down
and restarting the MMC when it starts to run slowly.  In addition, the new
Query Analyzer seems to have lost some of the 'hotkeys' and keyboard
shortcuts that were available with the old isql/w program (for example,
highlighting an object name in and pressing ALT-F1 no longer brings up
sp_help for the object).

SQL Server 7.0's Data Transformation Services (DTS) has some limitations
when using VBScripts because the VBScripts run outside of SQL Server's
processor space.  In general, performing set operations using Transact SQL
will produce faster results than using DTS with VBScripting.  SQL Server
DBAs and developers are encouraged not to forget about Transact SQL because
most everyone will still benefit from being able to do things 'the hard way'
with Transact SQL.

Chris also noted that at present, SQL Server 7.0 has a 2GB memory limit (the
Enterprise Edition has a 3GB limit).  As a consequence, there may not be
much to gain by installing more than 2 GB (or 3 GB) of memory on a machine
that is used solely for SQL Server 7.0.

Altogether, a number of meeting attendees expressed their appreciation for
Chris' presentation, and we hope to have Chris return for a future SQL
Server meeting.  You can download Chris' PowerPoint presentation at
http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sql19990304.zip .  Thanks again, Chris!  Also,
thanks to Solutech for providing us with the place for our meeting and
refreshments.


NEXT SQL SERVER SIG MEETING
************************************************************
The next SQL Server SIG meeting will be held on Thursday, April 1, 1999 at
6:00 PM.  This meeting will be hosted at the offices of Solutech, Inc.
located in the Lighton Plaza at 7300 College BLVD, Suite 165, Overland Park,
KS.  See http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/img/solutech_map.gif for a map.
Solutech's offices are on the first floor, and parking in the building lot
is FREE.  The topic will be "Creating SQL Server Stored Procedures".  The
first part of the presentation will be introductory and geared for those who
have little or no experience writing stored procedures.  The second part of
the presentation will be an open forum to discuss stored procedures.  Please
feel free to bring samples of your own stored procedure creations to share
and discuss with the group.  Please feel free to print out and distribute
the flyer for this meeting; the flyer is located at
http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlflyer.html .


UPCOMING SQL SERVER EVENTS
*****************************************************************
All Heartland Users Groups meetings are open to the general public.  Anyone
may attend any of the various monthly SIG meetings and the HUG general
meeting.  If you are not already a member of the Heartland Users Groups,
please consider joining -- an individual membership is only $25.00.  Just
ask the SIG leader or any Heartland Users Groups officer for a membership
form.  Your membership entitles you to receive the monthly newsletter and
makes you eligible to receive door prizes at Heartland Users Groups events.

Thursday, March 18, 1999 at 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM	
Maximizing SQL Server 7.0: Distributed and Enterprise Solutions
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
Register via the web at http://www.solutechinc.com or call 913.451.8703

Thursday, April 1, 1999 at 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM	
Maximizing SQL Server 7.0: Data Warehouse Solutions
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
Register via the web at http://www.solutechinc.com or call 913.451.8703

Thursday, April 1, 1999 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM	
Monthly SQL Server SIG Meeting
Topic: Stored Procedures
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
See http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html for details

Thursday, April 15, 1999 at 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM	
Maximizing SQL Server 7.0: Performance and Tuning
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
Register via the web at http://www.solutechinc.com or call 913.451.8703

Tuesday, April 20, 1999 at 9:00:00 AM - 10:15:00 AM
MSDN Workshop - Migrating to Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 (Overview)
AMC Theatre - Town Center 20
119th and Nall
Leawood, KS
Register via the web at
http://events.microsoft.com/isapi/events/event.asp?s=436988

Tuesday, April 20, 1999 at 10:30:00 AM - 11:45:00 AM
MSDN Workshop - Integrating Sybase apps with SQL Server 7.0
AMC Theatre - Town Center 20
119th and Nall
Leawood, KS
Register via the web at
http://events.microsoft.com/isapi/events/event.asp?s=436986

Tuesday, April 20, 1999 at 1:15:00 PM - 2:30:00 PM
MSDN Workshop - Migrating Access databases to SQL Server 7.0
AMC Theatre - Town Center 20
119th and Nall
Leawood, KS
Register via the web at
http://events.microsoft.com/isapi/events/event.asp?s=436987

Thursday, May 6, 1999 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM	
Monthly SQL Server SIG Meeting
Legato Storage Systems
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
See http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html for details

Thursday, June 3, 1999 at 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM	
Monthly SQL Server SIG Meeting
Topic: TBA
At Solutech Inc.
7300 College BLVD, Suite 165
Overland Park, KS
See http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html for details


MICROSOFT NEWS
************************************************************
Microsoft Technology Day for the Kansas City metropolitan area will be held
on April 20, 1999 at the AMC Theater in Town Center Plaza at 119th and Nall.
See the SQL Server workshops in the list above or go to the following web
site to search for a complete listing of all 14 workshops that will be held
on that date:  http://www.microsoft.com/midamerica/events .

See http://www.microsoft.com/mcp/certstep/mcdba.htm for details about
Microsoft's new Database Administrator certification program.

Get a voucher worth $500 towards the 5-day System Administration for
Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 course (course #832).  See
http://www.microsoft.com/train_cert/sql7/offer for details (this offer
expires March 31, 1999 and the training must be completed by April 30,
1999).

Order your free* Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 trial CD today at 
http://www.microsoft.com/sql/go/imdb.htm
*Shipping and handling charge of $9.95 will apply to all CD orders. Trial CD
is only available in the U.S.  The trial period is limited to 120 days.


MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
************************************************************
The SQL Server SIG board is looking volunteers to be presenters for future
SQL Server SIG meetings.  If you or someone you know is interested in
presenting a topic of interest to SQL Server professionals, please contact
me or any other SQL Server SIG officer.  In particular, we are actively
looking for a presenter and topic for our June 3, 1999 meeting.

The regular meeting time for monthly SQL Server SIG meetings is 6:00 PM on
the first Thursday of each month at Solutech, Inc.,  7300 College BLVD,
Suite 165, Overland Park, KS.

The SQL Server SIG's home page is at:
http://home.gvi.net/~spyder/sqlserver.html .  Please feel free to offer any
ideas for improving the SQL Server SIG's page or for adding any links.

The Heartland Users Groups' home page is at:  http://www.hugkc.org .

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
SIG.

Back to the main SQL Server SIG page