Launch Tour 2005 – Toronto – Part III – Session I – Managing and Deploying SQL Server 2005

10:30am – 12:00pm

4.5 stars

Either through a technical glitch, or an oversight when I wassigning up, but I was registered and confirmed for both tracks(despite impossibly concurrent times for several of them), so Iwent straight through from keynote to 4:30pm, catching all of theSQL Server track, and one of the Visual Studio events. ObviouslyI’m intently involved with Visual Studio, however I thought the SQLServer track would be more focused and interesting.

For this session we moved over to the other room – a smallerroom, half filled with chairs, featuring 2 large, albeit unfocused,~9’x11′ screens and 2 smaller ~7’x9′ screens, and a beautiful,tattered green carpet covering. After some very annoying intromusic the session got underway, competing with the sounds oftransport trucks and low flying aircraft.

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This was a great session. Presented jointly by Barnaby Jeans andDamir Basinick, it was a great overview of some of the newadministrative features and changes with SQL Server 2005. From thetransition from Enterprise Manager to Management Studio, to a sidetalk about the Toronto SQL Server Users Group, to examples of someof the new administrative reports available in Management Studio,it was a really great crash course in the advantages that SQLServer brings. Strangely the crowd was largely non-responsive, andBarnaby’s attempts at getting feedback largely fell to the floorwith the thud. Quite a few in the crowd were playing with theircellphone (one I believe was using the new live videofunctionality). The banter between Barnaby and Damir was awkwardand forced, and often out of sync.

At one point Barnaby asked who in the crowd had looked at thetechnet blogs, and the response rate was enormously low: While thiscould be attributed to the malaise of the crowd, I think it wasactually a pretty valid response – Most corporate developers and ITworkers aren’t involved in blogs, online forums, or some of theother things that many of us think are the norm nowadays. I don’tsay that judgementally or derisively, but as a simple matter offact: For many this career has stabilized to being more liketraditional careers, and few accountants, as a similarexample, are out reading the KPMG or government auditor blogsevery day. Or ever, for that matter.

Some of the other great examples were the xml showplans,filtered views in Management Studio, shared xml profiles, thedatabase engine tuning advisor. The changes in the profiler lookfantastic, including the ability to display time synchronizedperformance monitors (so you can correlate events with CPUsaturation, for instance), and xml plans in profiled events,integrated SMTP mail (rather than the infernally terrible MAPI),sqlcmd. Great stuff. Even if you’ve played with it yourself itstill gives great context and focus to know where to really payattention.

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Remarkably very little was said about .NETintegration, and some of the other easily abused elements -integrated xml and web services – were downplayed and pragmaticallypresented.

One thing about the presentation that I thought wasodd was the impression given that the occupants of the room were”IT Pros” or DBAs, in contrast with the “developers” in the otherroom. As a software developer, I bemoan the lack of databaseknowledge amongst many developers (which leads to an endless cycleof terrible databases), and I wish more of them were in sessionslike this.

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