This is the blog of our Senior SQL Consultant, John Parker.  Why we give him a blog is beyond us.

Got any comments or disagree?  Let us know, send an email.

16th January 2009 - SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 3

I speak to a lot of NT/IT staff, and they always say they wait for either SP2 or SP3 before they move to a new product or version.

Well SP3 for 2005 has been released.  However, SQL Server 2000, the prior version was sidelined in April of last year.  This doesn't make sense to me at all.  And a lot of companies are still using SQL 2000.  Although the 2000/2005 split is about 95% for our clients, the more established 2000 shops don't need any support so this isn't very indicative at all.  But now 2008 is almost 8 months old, it may be tempting for these shops to jump to straight to 2008.  2008 is a much more mature, solid product than 2005.  2005 was extremely buggy when it first arrived, but the featureset had changed dramatically.

16th September 2008 - Installation of SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Evaluation Edition

Today I installed SQL Server 2008 on a development machine here.  It went pretty smoothly although there was a small problem with the program seeing Visual Studio 2008 and needing SP1.  I hastily removed Visual Web Developer 2008 Express Edition from the server and all was fine.

There were some good things to see in the installl, like setting of services to manual or automatic and choices for system databases, user databases and tempdb data file placement.  Now thats a big improvement, get it right first time and increase your performance from the off.

Im just getting use to the IDE and pleased you can switch it off.  I like the IDE; it certainly will help me a lot and maybe more importantly help the SQL developers out there.

One of our clients is switching to 2008 already, which shows how attractive it is.  Most shops will wait for a Service Pack of some description, colour and taste.

13th September 2008 - SQL Bits III - Cubed

The guys who host SQL Bits really put a lot of effort in and this conference keeps just getting better and better.  If you dont go then its your loss.

The organisation and quality is far superior to SQL Bits I and I don't believe it's going to stop right there.  I foresee it become a truly great UK and even European event, which is all good really.

10th September 2008 - SQL Server 2008 Unleashed at Microsoft, Reading

I was really lucky to get on a waitlist for this event and relieved to actually get invited in the end.  It was a good day with some really interesting presentations, some gearing up for SQL Bits III.

The SQL Server UK Product Managers were both fun and lively and kept everything going really with an abundance of enthusiasm.

What amazed me was the number of changes and improvements to SQL Server.  I think Microsoft have been really clever here.  They're selling SQL Server 2008 as nothing more than a Service Pack upgrade to 2005.  When in reality they've got some great new features that will benefit a lot of shops.  Maybe they're trying to encourage users to switch and reduce their angst in upgrade woes?  Maybe, maybe not.  Either way, there are some great new features on many, many levels.  Enterprise Managment for a start.  Microsoft are really starting to think of multiple SQL Server installations, and it's about time, this area has been neglected for far too long.

11th August 2008 - SQL Server 2008

Well it's finally out.  SQL Server 2008 was released on the 6th August 2008.  Microsoft seemed to slide out the announcement.  It's RTM -ed or (Released to Manufacturing).  This means that SQL Server 2008 Evaluation Edition is out and available for download.  I would recommend getting there and checking it out and getting to grips with it,  there may be some performance benefits.

SQL Server 2008 download

I've just downloaded it and intend to start playing immediately.  I prefer to use the product at RTM stage as Microsoft change things right up to the last minute.  All the code on this site will be verified and produced
using SQL Server 2008.

11th July 2008 - Cannot generate SSPI context

Got this problem at a client site, had a look at the kb associated with it

How to troubleshoot the "Cannot generate SSPI context" error message
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/811889

and I screamed silently inside as I read it.  As I read on, I thought hang on, what if I change the Native Client access order from TCPIP/Named Pipes the other way round.  Named Pipes first followed by TCP/IP.  What a quick and dirty fix.

Lo and behold it worked.  Oh, and I cheered on the inside.  It's the only way.

19th June 2008 - Passed 1st MCITP exam

Hurrah.  Ive now got 2 of the 3 exams to become a SQL Server 2005 MCITP.  I enjoyed this one, it was the 70-444 PRO: Optimizing and Maintaining a Database Administration Solution by Using Microsoft SQL Server 2005.  They have a catchy title don't they?  As an MCDBA I could have taken the single upgrade exam after getting the MCTS.  However, as SQL 2005 was a new product, I wanted to learn the ins and outs of it and didnt mind sitting the extra exam.  When the 2008 exams come out, I may just consider doing the upgrade one.  I think I'd like to do the Database Developer or Datawarehouse Developer exams too.  Talking about it I think I fancy the DW exams.  I have an MCP in OLAP SQL Server 7.0. I studied it and passed the exam with no experience at work.  Mind you it was only at the second attempt.  I failed the first exam by one question.  I went away, licked my wounds, realised what I didnt understand and came back fighting and got 84% at the second bite.  I enjoy Data Warehousing.  As a DBA its like DBA stuff but slightly different and it has a singular purpose.

I know they've got these new Master certifications out but Im not that interested in that.  I like certification, combined with experience it can keep your solutions fresh and exciting but I like staying at the edge of the Microsoft action, not getting too involved so I can remain Independent.  It is my job to highlight the good and bad of SQL Server.  The need to stay impartial is imperitive.

13th June 2008 - Strange Interview Question

I was at an interview the other day and one of the interviewers said that SQL Server 2005 wasn't quite an Enterprise Database as you couldn't mirror databases yet.

I looked at this chap and thought, 'What the hell is he talking about?'   I didn't say anything 'cos I didn't want
to cause an argument but realised afterwards he was testing me.

Unfortunately I think if you had to say what was the number 1 improvement to SQL Server 2005 over SQL Server 2000, it would be Database Mirroring.

Because I didn't respond I guess I got caught out which proves it's sometimes what you don't say that counts.

Ho hum.

6th June 2008 - Cluster Tool

Sometimes we all need a little help and heres Microsoft's offering for clustered servers;

Cluster Diagnostics and Verification Tool (ClusDiag.exe)

Cluster Diagnostics and Verification Tool (ClusDiag) is a graphical tool that performs diagnostics tests on a pre-production server cluster and creates log files to help system administrators identify configuration issues prior to deployment in a production environment.

Click here.

2nd June 2008 - Unused Indexes

I've seen a few scripts knocking around to remove unused indexes.  I've had a sneaky feeling in the past about this and whether it would actually make any difference or not, but heres my experience:

DO NOT REMOVE INDEXES BASED ON THESE SCRIPTS IN SQL SERVER 2005.  Sorry about the shouting.

I  have seen at a couple of sites that removing indexes has deteriorated queries that were using them.  Unfortunately the appropriate dmv wasnt logging this use.  A further investigative post methinks.