Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Feature Pack CTP, February 2008

The Feature Pack is a collection of stand-alone install packages that provide additional value for SQL Server 2008. It includes the latest versions of:

Redistributable components for SQL Server 2008
Add-on providers for SQL Server 2008
Backward compatibility components for SQL Server 2008

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Native Client (SQL Native Client) is a single dynamic-link library (DLL) containing both the SQL OLE DB provider and SQL ODBC driver. It contains run-time support for applications using native-code APIs (ODBC, OLE DB and ADO) to connect to Microsoft SQL Server 2000, 2005, or 2008. SQL Native Client should be used to create new applications or enhance existing applications that need to take advantage of new SQL Server 2008 features. This redistributable installer for SQL Native Client installs the client components needed during run time to take advantage of new SQL Server 2008 features, and optionally installs the header files needed to develop an application that uses the SQL Native Client API.

Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Backward Compatibility Components
The SQL Server Backward Compatibility package includes the latest versions of Data Transformation Services 2000 runtime (DTS), SQL Distributed Management Objects (SQL-DMO), Decision Support Objects (DSO), and SQL Virtual Device Interface (SQLVDI). These versions have been updated for compatibility with both SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008 and include all fixes shipped through SQL Server 2000 SP4 and SQL Server 2005 SP2.

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Add-in for Microsoft SharePoint Technologies
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Add-in for SharePoint Technologies allows you to take advantage of SQL Server 2008 report processing and management capabilities in SharePoint integrated mode. This version also includes data-driven subscriptions. The download provides a Report Viewer web part, web application pages, and support for using standard Windows SharePoint Services or Microsoft Office SharePoint Services.

Get it all here:

SQL Server 2008 February CTP is now available for public download

SQL Server 2008 February CTP is finally here, this CTP is supposed to be feature complete.

Download the February CTP from the Download Center!

What's New in SQL Server 2008 February CTP?

Enter to win an Xbox in the SQL Server 2008 February CTP Bug Bash!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Microsoft Gives Students Access to Technical Software at No Charge to Inspire Success and Make a Difference

Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates today will unveil a software giveaway that will ultimately provide millions of college and high school students around the world with access to the latest Microsoft developer and designer tools at no charge to unlock their creative potential and set them on the path to academic and career success.

The Microsoft DreamSpark student program ( makes available, at no charge, a broad range of development and design software for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the U.S. Broad global coverage, as well as an expansion of the program to high school students around the world, potentially reaching up to 1 billion students worldwide, will continue throughout the next year. Gates will share details with students and faculty at Stanford University as part of a U.S. and Canada college tour that kicks off today.

“We want to do everything we can to equip a new generation of technology leaders with the knowledge and tools they need to harness the magic of software to improve lives, solve problems and catalyze economic growth,” Gates said. “Microsoft DreamSpark provides professional-level tools that we hope will inspire students to explore the power of software and encourage them to forge the next wave of software-driven breakthroughs.”

Priming the Talent Pipeline

Microsoft DreamSpark is available to all students whose studies touch on technology, design, math, science and engineering. Students of today are more technical in their everyday lives than ever — representing both their personal interests and what is expected of them when they arrive in the workplace for the first time. The following cutting-edge software will be available to empower students to unlock their ingenuity by building critical skills:

• Microsoft developer tools. Visual Studio is the Swiss Army knife of computer programming. These professional-grade products provide a security-enhanced and reliable environment, enabling students to program everything from a cell phone to a robot or to create their own Web page. Students will also be able to invent compelling new gaming content and make their dream game a reality by porting their creations to their Xbox 360 console.

• Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition

• Visual Studio 2008 Professional Edition

• XNA Game Studio 2.0

• 12-month free Academic membership in the XNA Creators Club

• Microsoft designer tools. This ultra-versatile suite of tools will enable students to vividly bring their creative visions to life in vibrant new Web site designs and more effective digital content, including animation, imagery and photography.

• Expression Studio, including

• Expression Web

• Expression Blend

• Expression Design

• Expression Media

• Microsoft platform resources. The foundation for development and design platforms, these products deliver a security-enhanced, reliable and manageable environment for students to more quickly turn ideas into reality.

• SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition

• Windows Server, Standard Edition

“The opportunity, as a student, to use the same professional tools that I can expect to use after I graduate gives me a real head start in my career,” said Nathan Murith, a computer science student at the University of Geneva in Switzerland, who tested the service in a pilot before today’s launch. “I’m already getting more out of my studies, applying my learning to try out new ideas, and gaining new insights into careers in software design and development.”

Demand for Software Expertise in All Marketplaces and Economies

Technological innovation is a critical economic growth engine and is expected to generate 7.1 million new jobs in the global economy over the next four years, according to a study of the economic impact of IT across 82 countries and regions carried out in 2007 by IDC and commissioned by Microsoft. The same study found that the IT employment base will grow to 42.5 million people, with the sharpest growth occurring in developing nations.

“Technology is the ignition key for job growth, economic development and creating sustainable solutions to global problems,” said John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. “The emerging economies are forecast to drive over 25 percent of the new IT jobs over the next four years. These jobs will be driven by an evolving, highly skilled labor force. Tech skills are key to employability.”


In the next six months, the company expects to expand Microsoft DreamSpark to college students in Australia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Japan, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia and many more countries in the Americas, Asia and Europe, as well as to high school students by the third quarter of 2008. Students should check for regularly posted updates to see when Microsoft DreamSpark will be available to them.

Microsoft is working with academic institutions, governments and student organizations around the world, such as the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) Association, to ensure the necessary local student identity-verification technology infrastructure exists to bring Microsoft DreamSpark to all students in markets around the world. The program will be expanded as fast as this community-based effort with government and organizations can be connected at a local level in new countries.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

SQL Server 2008 Whitepapers

SQL Server 2008 Product Overview
Microsoft® SQL Server™ provides a policy-based system for managing one or more instances of SQL Server along with tools for performance monitoring, troubleshooting, and tuning that enable administrators to more efficiently manage their databases and SQL Server instances.
Focus: What's New
Audience: High-level

Business Intelligence
An Introduction to New Data Warehouse Scalability Features in SQL Server 2008
With the 2008 release, SQL Server makes a major advance in scalability for data warehousing. It meets the data warehouse needs of the largest enterprises more easily than ever. SQL Server 2008 provides a range of integrated products that enable you to build your data warehouse, and query and analyze its data. These include the SQL Server relational database system, Analysis Services, Integration Services, and Reporting Services. This paper introduces the new performance and manageability features for data warehousing across all these components. All these features contribute to improved scalability.
Audience: High-level

SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services Overview
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Analysis Services builds on the value delivered with the significant investments in Analysis Services 2005 around scalability, advanced analytics and Microsoft Office interoperability. This paper covers a high-level look at the key Analysis Services features available in SQL Server 2008.
Audience: High-level

Predictive Analysis with SQL Server 2008
This 10-page paper explores the complete and intuitive set of data mining tools offered in Microsoft SQL Server 2008: Predictive Analysis for All Users, Insight at Every Step of the Data Lifecycle, and Data Mining Awareness in Every Application.
Audience: High-level

Business Intelligence in SQL Server 2008
This 10-page paper includes: Introduction, Unifying Data Storage and Access, Building and Managing Sophisticated BI Solutions, Extending the Reach of Your BI Solution, and Conclusion.Focus: Business Intelligence
Audience: High-level

SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services Whitepaper
This paper discusses how Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Reporting Services provides a complete server-based platform that is designed to support a wide variety of reporting needs including managed enterprise reporting, ad-hoc reporting, embedded reporting, and web based reporting to enable organizations to deliver relevant information where needed across the entire enterprise.Focus: Reporting Services
Audience: High-level

An Introduction to SQL Server 2008 Integration ServicesThis paper discusses the challenges that face businesses that rely on data integration technologies to provide meaningful, reliable information to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s business world. It discusses how SQL Server 2008 Integration Services (SSIS) can help Information Technology departments meet data integration requirements in their companies. Real-world scenarios are included.Focus: Integration Services
Audience: High-level Data Warehousing

Choosing SQL Server 2008 for Data Warehousing
This 10-page paper discusses: The State of Data Warehousing, The Realities of Data Warehousing Today, Putting the Technology Set Together, and Rounding It Out.Focus: Data Warehousing
Audience: High-level

Application Development/Data Programmability
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 and Microsoft Data Platform Development
This 10-page paper includes: Improved Productivity through ADO.NET Entity Framework, LINQ, and Visual Studio, Comprehensive Data Platform, and Scalable Data-Centric Solutions.
Focus: Developer Productivity
Audience: Technical

What's New for XML in SQL Server 2008?
A 16-page paper that discusses how Microsoft SQL Server 2008 builds on the extensive support for XML by extending support for XML schema validation and XQuery, and by enhancing the xml data type.
Focus: XML
Audience: Technical

Managing Unstructured Data with SQL Server 2008
This 11-page paper discusses how Microsoft SQL Server™ 2008 provides a flexible solution for storing unstructured data and combining it with relational data to build comprehensive solutions that encompass the full range of data across an organization.
Focus: Unstructured Data
Audience: Technical

SQL Server 2008: Delivering Location Intelligence with Spatial Data
This 10-page paper discusses how the new spatial support in Microsoft SQL Server™ 2008 can help you to make better decisions through visual analysis of location data that can be stored and manipulated in a SQL Server database.
Focus: Spatial Data
Audience: Mid-level

Online Transaction Processing/Data Management
SQL Server 2008 Security Overview for Database Administrators
SQL Server 2008 is secure by design, default, and deployment. Microsoft is committed to communicating information about threats, countermeasures, and security enhancements as necessary to keep your data as secure as possible. This paper covers some of the most important security features in SQL Server 2008. It tells you how, as an administrator, you can install SQL Server securely and keep it that way even as applications and users make use of the data stored within.
Focus: Security
Audience: Mid-level

Online Transaction Processing in SQL Server 2008
This 10-page paper includes: Introduction, Scale and Performance, High Availability, Security, and Manageability.
Focus: OLTP
Audience: High-level

SQL Server 2008 Manageability
This paper discusses how Microsoft SQL Server 2008 builds on the management capabilities of previous versions and provides a variety of tools and frameworks to help you manage your enterprise data environment.
Focus: Manageability
Audience: High-level

SQL Server 2008 Performance and Scale
This paper discusses how Microsoft SQL Server 2008 incorporates the tools and technologies that are necessary to implement relational databases, reporting systems, and data warehouses of enterprise scale, and provides optimal performance and responsiveness.
Focus: Scale and Performance
Audience: Mid-level

Server Consolidation
Server Consolidation with SQL Server 2008
This 10-page paper includes: Introduction, Flexibility, Manageability, Scalability and Performance, and Conclusion.
Focus: Server Consolidation
Audience: High-level

Monday, February 11, 2008

Problems that are fixed in the .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 1

The .NET Framework 3.0 Service Pack 1 fixes the problems that are described in the following articles in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

932471 ( ) FIX: Error message when you try to open or to create a protected XPS document by using the XPS viewer that is included with the .NET Framework 3.0: "Cannot open this document because your permissions have expired"

932816 ( ) FIX: You experience various problems in Windows Workflow Foundation

935314 ( ) FIX: You may experience issues with Windows Communication Foundation peer channel connections

935315 ( ) The COM+ application cannot start when you use the COM+ Service Model Configuration tool to expose the COM+ components in the COM+ application

935434 ( ) FIX: Error message in FIPS-compliant systems when you use Windows Communication Foundation to serialize generic types: "This implementation is not part of the Windows Platform FIPS validated cryptographic algorithms"

936123 ( ) FIX: Error message when you open a workflow by using the workflow designer in Visual Studio 2005: "Error loading workflow"

936512 ( ) FIX: A memory leak occurs when you send many messages by using the NetMsmq transport in the .NET Framework 3.0

938758 ( ) FIX: The Unload method may stop responding (hang) in a Windows Workflow Foundation project

942520 ( ) FIX: You may experience slow performance when you run a Windows Communication Foundation application

To download the Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, visit the following Microsoft Web site:

A severe error occurred on the current command message when you run a query against a table that does not have a clustered index in SQL Server 2005

FIX: Error message when you run a query against a table that does not have a clustered index in SQL Server 2005: "A severe error occurred on the current command"

Consider the following scenario. In Microsoft SQL Server 2005, you create a table that has one nonclustered index or more than one nonclustered index. The table does not have a clustered index. In this scenario, you may receive the following error message when you run a query against the table:

Msg 0, Level 11, State 0, Line 0
A severe error occurred on the current command. The results, if any, should be discarded.
Msg 0, Level 20, State 0, Line 0
A severe error occurred on the current command. The results, if any, should be discarded.

Additionally, you cannot display the estimated execution plan for the query, and a minidump file is generated.

The fix for this issue was first released in Cumulative Update 6. For more information about how to obtain this cumulative update package for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

946608 ( ) Cumulative update package 6 for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2
Note Because the builds are cumulative, each new fix release contains all the hotfixes and all the security fixes that were included with the previous SQL Server 2005 fix release. Microsoft recommends that you consider applying the most recent fix release that contains this hotfix. For more information, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

937137 ( ) The SQL Server 2005 builds that were released after SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 was released Microsoft SQL Server 2005 hotfixes are created for specific SQL Server service packs. You must apply a SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 hotfix to an installation of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2. By default, any hotfix that is provided in a SQL Server service pack is included in the next SQL Server service pack.

To work around this issue, create a clustered index for the table. Note In some cases, this method may not work around this issue. In these cases, you must apply the cumulative update package that is described in this article.

read more here:

Thursday, February 7, 2008

SQL Server 2008: When Was The Server Last Started?

SQL Server 2008 has an additional column in the sys.dm_os_sys_info Dynamic Management View. The name of the column is sqlserver_start_time and it will be the time SQL Server was last restarted

SELECT sqlserver_start_time FROM sys.dm_os_sys_info

Monday, February 4, 2008

Podcast: SQL Down Under show 30 - Pablo Castro - LINQ, Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services for the DBA and database developer

SQL Down Under show 30 with guest SQL Server product team member Pablo
Castro discussing LINQ, Entity Framework and ADO.NET Data Services (Astoria)
for the DBA and database developer is now available for download from

Windows Server 2008 RTMs, Customers and Partners Adopting with Help of New Tools, Training

Approaching the company’s largest enterprise launch in its history, Microsoft reached another important milestone today with the release to manufacturing (RTM) of Windows Server 2008. The response from IT professionals and developers has been strong as the company moves toward the worldwide launch of Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 on February 27.

One indication of the momentum that is building around the latest server operating system is the number of beta and evaluation versions that customers and partners have obtained: more than two million.

IT professionals face increasing pressure from rapidly changing technology, increasing costs and security concerns, and expanding business needs. Windows Server 2008 helps alleviate these pressures by automating daily management tasks, tightening security, improving efficiency and increasing availability. It also offers virtualization solutions that will enable IT professionals to reduce costs, increase hardware utilization, optimize their infrastructure, and improve server availability.

Furthermore, because Windows Server 2008 was developed in tandem with the Windows Vista code base, it has most of that operating system’s advanced management and security features, such as integrated Network Access Protection (NAP) and Group Policy. Customers will also see system-wide performance improvements from an integrated system architecture, including network file sharing, managed quality of service and reduced power consumption. Common tools and processes across both operating systems will result in efficiencies for IT organizations.

“We’ve been working with partners around the world who are creating solutions that take advantage of the new platform’s feature set,” said Bob Visse, senior director, Windows Server Marketing Group at Microsoft. “There’s been tremendous support for the operating system and a lot of excitement around the opportunity it represents for the industry.”

Microsoft is also offering customers a Go Live License, which permits them to deploy beta releases of Internet Information Services 7.0 (IIS 7.0) into live production. So far, 28 companies worldwide have created and launched hosted offerings using this program, and hundreds more have downloaded the Windows Server 2008 beta and begun testing.

With Windows Server 2008, Microsoft is also embracing PHP hosting on Windows via the FastCGI module for IIS 7.0. PHP is a popular open-source scripting language used to build dynamic web applications. This allows IT Professionals to host PHP and applications side by side. As a result, the PHP community will be able to take advantage of the increased reliability of PHP on Windows and simplified administration available on the Windows platform.

Customers: On Your Mark…

To help IT professionals evaluate the migration-readiness of their existing networks, Microsoft has created four automated assessment tools, or “solution accelerators:”

• the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) tool, which helps evaluate installed applications on servers, performs hardware assessments and makes recommendations regarding server virtualization;

• the Infrastructure Planning and Design guides, which describe the architectural considerations involved in implementing the upgrade to Windows Server 2008;

• the Windows Server 2008 Security Guide, which provides best practices and automated tools to help strengthen the security of servers running Windows Server 2008; and

• the Microsoft Deployment tool, which decreases the cost of client and server deployments by providing detailed guidance and job aids for every organizational role involved with large-scale deployment projects.

Enterprise customers planning to upgrade can follow a few basic steps to help prepare and plan for the move to Windows Server 2008:

Use Microsoft’s free tools to assess their enterprise’s current servers and determine which can be upgraded and which servers will require a “clean install. “

Engage with their application suppliers for prescriptive guidance.

Test applications they’re planning to run for compatibility with Windows 2008.

Research certified hardware and software solutions in the Windows Server Catalog.

Upgrade Options

Windows Server 2008 uses image-based deployment to make the installation process as efficient as possible. Installation images are the fastest way to deploy an operating system. Image-based setup also is less error-prone than a scripted installation process.

Customers upgrading from Windows Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008 will follow one of two methods, depending upon their current environment. Servers that are running only software applications that came with Windows Server 2003, such as Active Directory, Domain Name System (DNS) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), are the best candidates for a simple upgrade.

Microsoft recommends other customers running a wider variety of applications follow IT community best practices and perform a “clean install” of Windows Server 2008. A clean install involves loading Windows Server 2008 on a partition that is not running an existing operating system. Microsoft advises those customers who want to pursue an upgrade to first contact the software manufacturer for prescriptive guidance. Customers running applications whose manufacturers do not provide support during the upgrade process, which did not ship with Windows Server 2003 or that weren’t delivered to Windows Server via Windows Update should remove those applications first, perform the upgrade to Windows Server 2008, verify the applications are supported on Windows Server 2008 and then reinstall the applications.

Windows Server 2008 also offers a barebones installation option called Server Core, in which only the services required to perform the Active Directory Domain Services, Active Directory Lightweight Directory Services (AD LDS), DHCP, DNS Server, File Services, Print Server, Streaming Media Services, Web Server (IIS), or Hyper-V (Virtualization), roles are installed. A Server Core installation offers base-level server functionality without any extra overhead, so it will typically require less maintenance and fewer updates than a full installation.

Ensuring Compatibility

To help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), independent hardware vendors (IHVs), independent software vendors (ISVs) and other developers build solutions that IT professionals can deploy immediately with confidence, Microsoft created the Windows Server 2008 Logo Program.

“We’ve been working with more than 1,000 software and hardware partners to help ensure that their products take full advantage of the capabilities and features of Windows Server 2008,” said Visse.

Windows Server 2008 software certification comprises approximately 100 test cases that independently confirm an application’s compliance with best practices for compatibility, security, reliability and availability on the server operating system. The certification identifies top-performing technologies that are ready to deploy in mission-critical environments.

The program features two designations – the “Works with Windows Server 2008” designation ensures that an application is in compliance with best practices for the most common Windows Server 2008 functions, while the “Certified for Windows Server 2008” logo supports rigorous standards for stability, security, reliability and overall performance.

Microsoft expects there to be at least 80 software applications certified for Windows Server 2008 by the end of February, and roughly 300 more that are considered ready for the new platform. A complete list of compatible hardware and software products is available at

In addition to encouraging customers to look for the certification logo when they make purchasing decisions, Microsoft has done something new for Windows Server 2008. The company has made the same tools that ISVs used to test their products for compatibility available to IT professionals so that they can test both commercial applications and custom applications they’ve developed in-house. The tools are downloadable at

There is also a Windows Server 2008 Developer Center site that is a portal for both ISV developers and enterprise developers working on custom applications. The site provides how-to videos, interviews with Microsoft engineers and related documents. It also links to a moderated technical forum for application readiness and certification discussions and questions

RTM of Windows Vista SP1 Announced

Here's the timing for SP1 availability for current Windows Vista users:

In mid-March, we will release Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Update (in English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese) and to the download center on Customers who visit Windows Update can choose to install Service Pack 1. If Windows Update determines that the system has one of the drivers we know to be problematic, then Windows Update will not offer SP1. Since we know that some customers may want to update to SP1 anyhow, the download center will allow anyone who wants to install SP1 to do so.

In mid-April, we will begin delivering Windows Vista SP1 to Windows Vista customers who have chosen to have updates downloaded automatically. That said, any system that Windows Update determines has a driver known to not update successfully will not get SP1 automatically. As updates for these drivers become available, they will be installed automatically by Windows Update, which will unblock these systems from getting Service Pack 1. The result is that more and more systems will automatically get SP1, but only when we are confident they will have a good experience.

The remaining languages will RTM in April.