Enterprise Data Management
In today’s connected world, data and the systems that manage that data must always be secure yet available to your users. With SQL Server 2005, users and information technology (IT) professionals across your organization will benefit from reduced application downtime, increased scalability and performance, and tight yet flexible security controls. SQL Server 2005 also includes many new and improved capabilities to help make your IT staff more productive. SQL Server 2005 includes key enhancements to enterprise data management in the following areas:
SQL Server 2005 makes it simpler and easier to deploy, manage, and optimize enterprise data and analytical applications. As an enterprise data management platform, it provides a single management console that enables data administrators anywhere in your organization to monitor, manage, and tune all of the databases and associated services across your enterprise. It provides an extensible management infrastructure that can be easily programmed using SQL Management Objects, enabling users to customize and extend their management environment and independent software vendors (ISVs) to build additional tools and functionality to further extend the capabilities that come out of the box.
SQL Server Management Studio
SQL Server 2005 simplifies management by providing one integrated management console to monitor and manage the SQL Server relational database, as well as Integration Services, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Notification Services, and SQL Server Mobile Edition across large numbers of distributed servers and databases. Database administrators can perform several tasks at the same time, such as authoring and executing a query, viewing server objects, managing an object, monitoring system activity, and viewing online help. SQL Server Management Studio hosts a development environment for authoring, editing, and managing scripts and stored procedures using Transact-SQL, Multidimensional Expressions, XML for Analysis, and SQL Server Mobile Edition. Management Studio is readily integrated with source control. Management Studio also hosts tools for scheduling SQL Server Agent jobs and managing maintenance plans to automate daily maintenance and operation tasks. The integration of management and authoring in a single tool coupled with the ability to manage all types of servers provides enhanced productivity for database administrators.
SQL Server 2005 exposes more than 70 new measures of internal database performance and resource usage, ranging from memory, locking, and scheduling to transactions and network and disk I/O. These Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) provide greater transparency and visibility into the database and a powerful infrastructure for proactive monitoring of database health and performance.
SQL Management Objects
SQL Management Objects (SMO) is a new set of programming objects that exposes all of the management functionality of the SQL Server database. In fact, Management Studio was built with SQL Management Objects. SMO is implemented as a Microsoft .NET Framework assembly. You can use SMO to automate common SQL Server administrative tasks, such as programmatically retrieving configuration settings, creating new databases, applying Transact-SQL scripts, creating SQL Server Agent jobs, and scheduling backups. The SMO object model is a more secure, reliable, and scalable replacement for Distributed Management Objects (DMO), which was included with earlier versions of SQL Server.
Investments in high-availability technologies, additional backup and restore capabilities, and replication enhancements will enable enterprises to build and deploy highly available applications. Innovative high-availability features such as database mirroring, failover clustering, database snapshots, and enhanced online operations will minimize downtime and help to ensure that critical enterprise systems remain accessible. This section reviews these enhancements in greater detail.
Database mirroring allows continuous streaming of the transaction log from a source server to a single destination server. In the event of a failure of the primary system, applications can immediately reconnect to the database on the secondary server. The secondary instance detects failure of the primary server within seconds and accepts database connections immediately. Database mirroring works on standard server hardware and requires no special storage or controllers. Figure 1 shows the basic configuration of database mirroring.
Figure 1: Basic Configuration of Database Mirroring
Failover clustering is a high-availability solution that exploits Microsoft Windows Clustering Services to create fault-tolerant virtual servers that provide fast failover in the event of a database server failure. In SQL Server 2005, support for failover clustering has been extended to SQL Server Analysis Services, Notification Services, and SQL Server replication. The maximum number of cluster nodes has been increased to eight. SQL Server failover clustering is now a complete fault-tolerant server solution.
SQL Server 2005 introduces the ability for database administrators to create instant, read-only views of a database. This database snapshot provides a stable view without the time or storage overhead of creating a complete copy of the database. As the primary database diverges from the snapshot, the snapshot adds its own copy of pages as they are modified. As a result, the snapshot may be used to quickly recover from an accidental change to a database by simply reapplying the original pages from the snapshot to the primary database.
SQL Server 2005 improves the availability of SQL Server databases with a new and faster recovery option. Users can reconnect to a recovering database after the transaction log has been rolled forward. Earlier versions of SQL Server required users to wait until incomplete transactions had rolled back, even if the users did not need to access the affected parts of the database.
Dedicated Administrator Connection
SQL Server 2005 introduces a dedicated administrator connection to access a running server even if the server is not responding or is otherwise unavailable. This allows you to execute diagnostic functions or Transact-SQL statements so you can troubleshoot problems on a server. The connection is activated by members of the sysadmin fixed server role and is only available through the SQLCMD command prompt tool either locally or from a remote computer.
Online Operations (Index Operations and Restore)
The ability to create, rebuild, or drop an index online is an enhanced feature of SQL Server 2005 that augments the indexing capabilities of earlier versions of SQL Server. The online index option allows concurrent modifications (updates, deletes, and inserts) to the underlying table or clustered index data and any associated indexes during index data definition language (DDL) execution. With support for online index operations, you can add indexes without interfering with access to tables or other existing indexes. Additionally, the server workload allows index operations to take advantage of parallel processing. SQL Server 2005 also introduces the ability to perform a restore operation while an instance of SQL Server is running. Online restoration capabilities improve the availability of SQL Server because only the data that is being restored is unavailable. The rest of the database remains online and available. Earlier versions of SQL Server require that you bring a database offline before you restore the database.
Replication is designed to increase data availability by distributing the data across multiple database servers. Availability is increased by allowing applications to scale out the SQL Server read workload across databases. SQL Server 2005 offers enhanced replication using a new peer-to-peer model that provides a new topology in which databases can be synchronized transactionally with any identical peer database.
Scalability advancements such as table partitioning, snapshot isolation, and 64-bit support will enable you to build and deploy your most demanding applications using SQL Server 2005. The partitioning of large tables and indexes significantly enhances query performance against very large databases.
Table and Index Partitioning
Table and index partitioning eases the management of large databases by facilitating the management of the database in smaller, more manageable chunks. While the concept of partitioning data across tables, databases, and servers is not new to the world of databases, SQL Server 2005 provides a new capability for the partitioning of tables across filegroups in a database. Horizontal partitioning allows for the division of a table into smaller groupings based on a partitioning scheme. Table partitioning is designed for very large databases, from hundreds of gigabytes to terabytes and beyond.
After data is copied, transformed, and archived to an analysis-oriented database, it must be maintained and/or rebuilt periodically. Users certainly benefit from looking at a transactionally consistent version of the database; however, the version of the data that they are viewing is no longer current. It can take many hours to build and index the data and that might not be what the user really needs. This is where snapshot isolation is helpful. The snapshot isolation level allows users to access the last row that was committed by using a transactionally consistent view of the database. This new isolation level provides the following benefits:
Replication Monitor is a tool that sets a new standard for ease of use in managing complex data replication operations with its intuitive user interface and wealth of data metrics.
Support for 64-bit System Itanium 2 and x64
Optimized for the Intel Itanium processor, SQL Server (64-bit) takes advantage of advanced memory addressing capabilities for essential resources such as buffer pools, caches, and sort heaps, reducing the need to perform multiple I/O operations to bring data in and out of memory from disk. Greater processing capacity without the penalties of I/O latency opens the door to new levels of application scalability. Windows Server 2003 x64 provides high performance for both 32-bit and 64-bit applications on the same system. The underlying architecture is based on 64-bit extensions to the industry-standard x86 instruction set, allowing today’s 32-bit applications to run natively on x64 processors. At the same time, new 64-bit applications are executed in 64-bit mode, which processes more data per clock cycle, allows greater access to memory, and speeds numeric calculations. The result is a platform that takes advantage of the existing wealth of 32-bit applications while also providing a smooth migration path to 64-bit computing.
SQL Server 2005 makes significant enhancements to the security model of the database platform, with the intention of providing more precise and flexible control to enable tighter security of the data. A considerable investment has been made in a number of features to provide a high level of security for your enterprise data including the following:
A new security model in SQL Server 2005 allows administrators to manage permissions at a granular level and at a designated scope, making management of permissions easier as well as ensuring that the principle of least privileges is upheld. SQL Server 2005 lets you specify a context under which statements in a module execute. This feature also acts as an excellent mechanism for granular permission management.
SQL Server 2005 clustering supports Kerberos authentication against a SQL Server 2005 virtual server. Administrators can specify Microsoft Windows-style policies on standard logins so that a consistent policy is applied across all accounts in the domain.
SQL Server 2005 supports encryption capabilities within the database itself, fully integrated with a key management infrastructure. By default, client/server communications are encrypted. To centralize security assurance, server policy can be defined to reject unencrypted communications.
SQL Server and Trustworthy Computing
The Microsoft Trustworthy Computing initiative outlines a framework that defines the steps necessary to support more secure computing as well as measures that help you deploy and maintain a more secure environment. These steps help to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data and systems at every phase of the software life cycle—from design, to delivery, to maintenance. To uphold the four tenets of the Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft and the SQL Server team have addressed the following issues:
SQL Server 2005 includes many new technologies that bring significant increases in developer productivity. From .NET Framework support to tight integration with Visual Studio, these features provide developers with the ability to more easily create secure, robust database applications at a lower cost. SQL Server 2005 enables developers to take advantage of existing skills across a variety of development languages while providing an end-to-end development environment for the database. Native XML capabilities also allow developers to build new classes of connected applications across any platform or device.
Enhancements for developer productivity include the following:
Expanded Language Support
Because the common language runtime (CLR) is hosted in the database engine, developers can choose from a variety of familiar languages to develop database applications, including Transact-SQL, Microsoft Visual Basic .NET, and Microsoft Visual C# .NET. Additionally, CLR hosting provides developers with increased flexibility with user-defined types and functions. The CLR also provides opportunities to use non-Microsoft code for rapid database application development.
CLR/.NET Framework Integration
With the release of SQL Server 2005, database programmers can now take full advantage of the Microsoft .NET Framework class library and modern programming languages to implement functionality within the server. Using CLR integration, you can code your stored procedures, functions, and triggers in the .NET Framework language of your choice. Microsoft Visual Basic .NET and the C# programming language both offer object-oriented constructs, structured exception handling, arrays, namespaces, and classes. Additionally, the .NET Framework provides thousands of classes and methods that have extensive built-in capabilities that you can easily use on the server side. Many tasks that were awkward or difficult to perform in Transact-SQL can be better accomplished by using managed code; additionally, two new types of database objects—aggregates and user-defined types—are available. You can now better use the knowledge and skills that you have already acquired to write in-process code. In short, SQL Server 2005 enables you to extend the database server to more easily perform appropriate computation and operations on the back end.
This integration between SQL Server and the CLR provides several major benefits:
By using languages such as Visual Basic .NET and C#, you can capitalize on CLR integration to write code that has more complex logic and is more suited for computation tasks. Additionally, Visual Basic .NET and C# offer object-oriented capabilities such as encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. You can easily organize related code into classes and namespaces, which means that you can more easily organize and maintain your code investments when you are working with large amounts of code. The ability to logically and physically organize code into assemblies and namespaces is a huge benefit that allows you to better find and relate different pieces of code in a large database implementation.
Managed code is more efficient than Transact-SQL at processing numbers and managing complicated execution logic, and provides extensive support for string handling, regular expressions, and so on. Also, with the functionality that is available in the .NET Framework class library, you have full access to thousands of prebuilt classes and routines that you can access easily from any stored procedure, trigger, or user-defined function. Everything from improved string-handling functions, math functions, date operations, access to system resources, advanced encryption algorithms, file access, image processing, and XML data manipulation is easily accessible from managed stored procedures, functions, triggers, and aggregates.
One of the major benefits of managed code is type safety. Before managed code is executed, the CLR performs several checks through a process known as verification to ensure that the code is safe to run. For example, the code is checked to ensure that memory is not read that has not been written to.
Transact-SQL has long been the basis for all SQL Server programmability. SQL Server 2005 provides many new language capabilities for developing scalable database applications. These enhancements include error handling, new recursive query capabilities, and support for new SQL Server Database Engine capabilities. Transact-SQL enhancements in SQL Server 2005 increase your expressive powers in query writing, allowing you to improve the performance of your code and extend your error management capabilities. The continuous effort that is being put into enhancing Transact-SQL shows a firm belief in its significant role in SQL Server.
Improved Development Tools
Developers will be able to use one development tool for Transact-SQL, XML, Multidimensional Expressions (MDX), and XML for Analysis (XMLA). Integration with the Visual Studio development environment will provide more efficient development and debugging of line-of-business and business intelligence (BI) applications.
Business Intelligence Development Studio
The Business Intelligence Development Studio is a common development environment for building BI solutions based on Visual Studio including a database engine, analysis services, and reporting services. Use the Business Intelligence Development Studio graphical user interface (GUI) to design SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) packages for data-management applications. SSIS packages are designed, developed, and debugged in Business Intelligence Development Studio by dragging tasks from the toolbox, setting their properties, and connecting tasks with precedence constraints. Figure 2 shows the interface in Visual Studio for Business Intelligence Development Studio.
Figure 2: Business Intelligence Development Studio Interface in Visual Studio
Visual Studio Integration
SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 together provide deeper levels of integration between the database and the application development environment than ever before. Developers now have the ability to create CLR stored procedures, functions, user-defined types, and user-defined aggregates directly from within the Visual Studio development environment. They can deploy these new database objects directly from Visual Studio without having to switch tools. Visual Studio 2005 directly supports all of the new SQL Server data types, such as native XML. You can also add your CLR database objects to the same source control system that you use for all you Visual Studio projects, thus providing an even greater level of integration and security to your development processes.
Cross-Tier and Cross-Language Debugging
SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 together provide even deeper integration in the area of application debugging. The combination lets you seamlessly debug both CLR and Transact-SQL code using the same Visual Studio debugging interface, and allows you to debug from CLR to Transact-SQL and back again, regardless of the location of the code, whether it is on the developer computer or stored in the SQL Server database.
User-Defined Types and Aggregates
User-defined types in SQL Server 2005 are not an object relational extensibility mechanism. They are a way to extend the scalar type system of the database. The scalar type system includes the columnar types that ship with SQL Server (types such as int, nvarchar, uniqueidentifier, and so on). With user-defined types, you can define your own type that can be used for column definitions, for example. Create a user-defined type if your type really is an atomic value that is appropriate to be modeled as a column.
Use user-defined types if you need to define your own scalar type. Example scenarios for such types include custom date/time data types in various calendars, and currency data types. With user-defined types, you can create a single object that exposes all the behaviors that are available on the type, and encapsulate, or hide, the underlying data that is stored by the type. Everyone that needs to access the data has to use the user-defined type programmatic interface. Taking advantage of existing functionality in the .NET Framework (such as the internationalization or calendar functionality) is another strong reason to consider implementing your type as a user-defined type.
In a number of scenarios, you may need to perform aggregations over data. This includes performing statistical calculations, such as avg, stddev, and so on. If the desired aggregation function is not directly supported as a built-in aggregate function, you have three ways to perform a custom aggregation in SQL Server 2005:
SQL Management Objects
SQL Management Objects (SMO) is the management object model for SQL Server 2005. SMO represents significant design and architectural improvements for the SQL Server management object model. It is a simple-to-use but rich object model that is based on .NET Framework managed code. SMO is the primary tool for developing database management applications using .NET Framework. SMO is used by every dialog box in SQL Server Management Studio, and every administrative action that you can perform in SQL Server Management Studio you can also accomplish by using SMO.
The new SMO object model and the Microsoft Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI) application programming interfaces (APIs) replace SQL-DMO. Where possible, SMO incorporates similar objects as SQL-DMO for ease of use. You can still use SQL Server 2005 with SQL-DMO, but SQL-DMO will not be updated to manage features that are specific to SQL Server 2005.
Analysis Management Objects
Analysis Management Objects (AMO) allows client applications to access the range of administrative commands and capabilities available to Analysis Services using an object library that can provide object-level validation capabilities, instead of having to manually generate DDL scripts for Analysis Services commands and the often-lengthy contents of the Analysis Services Scripting Language (ASSL) ObjectDefinition element. Applications using AMO can either connect and work directly with objects on an Analysis Services instance, or create such objects without an existing connection and persist the metadata for later deployment. AMO also "wraps" ASSL commands and elements.
Improved Data Access and Web Services
In SQL Server 2005, you can develop XML Web services in the database tier, making SQL Server an HTTP listener. This provides a new type of data access capability for applications that are centralized around Web services. In SQL Server 2005, you can use HTTP to access SQL Server directly, without using a middle-tier listener such as Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). SQL Server exposes a Web service interface to allow the execution of SQL statements and invocation of functions and procedures. Query results are returned in XML format and can take advantage of the Visual Studio Web services infrastructure.
Much is new in the next version of ADO.NET. From new support for query change notifications to Multiple Active Result Sets (MARS), ADO.NET evolves dataset access and manipulation to achieve greater scalability and flexibility.
SQL Server 2005 introduces notification support for SQL Server queries. You can use this support to send a command to SQL Server and to request that a notification be generated if executing the same command again produces different results from those obtained initially. You accomplish this by using a dependency object that detects when the underlying data is changed. Commands that are sent to the server through any of the client APIs such as ADO.NET, OLE DB, Open Database Connectivity (ODBC), Microsoft ActiveX Data Objects (ADO), or Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) may include a tag that requires a notification. For each statement that is executed as part of the request, the server creates a notification subscription that fires once for each statement that is included in the request. Notifications are delivered through a SQL Service Broker queue that applications can poll, and use activation services or blocking statements that return whenever the notifications are available. Query notifications are useful for enabling the caching of results in applications such as database-driven Web sites. Figure 3 shows the query notification process.
Figure 3: Query Notification
Multiple Active Result Sets (MARS) provides the means to have more than one pending request per connection, in particular to have more than one default result set open per connection. Default result sets are forward-only, read-only result sets. For default result sets, the client drivers transparently retrieve the data in large chunks (Tabular Data Stream buffer-sized chunks) so that application requests are satisfied without a round trip to the server (as in the case of server cursors). The application can use a simple row-at-a-time programming model without compromising performance. The MARS feature removes the current restriction in which an open default result set blocks the driver from sending requests to the server until the entire result set is consumed.
Transparent Failover for Data Mirroring
SQL Server 2005 supports a "hot spare" capability through database mirroring. If a SQL Server instance fails, work can be shifted to the backup server automatically. This requires an instance to witness the failover known as (not surprisingly) the witness instance. Hot spare scenarios require that existing client connections must "know" to fail over (establish a connection with the new server instance), as well. It is suboptimal for client connections to produce an error on the next attempted access and to have to be manually "failed over" by client programming. SqlClient in ADO.NET 2.0 supports client failover without special programming of the application program.
Advancements such as the native XML data type and XQuery help organizations seamlessly connect internal and external systems. SQL Server 2005 supports both relational and XML data natively, so enterprises can store, manage, and analyze data in the format that best suits their needs. Support for existing and emerging open standards such as Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), XML, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), XQuery, and XML Schema definition language (XSD) also facilitate communication across extended enterprise systems.
XML Data Type
XML can model complex data; it is not limited to the scalar types that are supported by SQL Server. As such, a string-based, built-in data type such as char or varchar does not suffice to make full and effective use of the power and the numerous advantages of XML. For example, if XML is stored as a string, you can insert or select an entire document, or even retrieve contiguous bytes from it, but you cannot query into the contents of the document itself. By providing the XML data type, SQL Server 2005 allows you to query portions of an XML document, validate that the document conforms to an XML schema, and even modify the contents of the XML document in place. It also integrates traditional, relational data with data in unstructured or semistructured XML documents in ways that are not possible with SQL Server 2000. In SQL Server 2005, XML data is stored as binary large objects (BLOBs) in an internal representation that allows efficient reparsing and some compression.
A collection of XML schemas can be associated with a column of type XML. This provides validation for constraints, inserts, and updates, and typing of values inside stored XML data, as well as optimizations for storage and query processing. SQL Server 2005 also provides several DDL statements for managing schemas on the server.
The XML Query Language, or XQuery, is an intelligent and robust language that is optimized for querying all types of XML data. With XQuery, you can run queries against variables and columns of the XML data type using the latter’s associated methods. As with many XML standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) oversees the development of XQuery. XQuery evolved from a query language called Quilt, which was itself based on a variety of other query languages such as the XML Path Language (XPath) version 1.0, XML Query Language (XQL), and SQL. It also contains XPath 2.0 as a subset. Therefore, if you have experience using XPath 1.0, you can capitalize on your skills and do not have to learn an entirely new query language. There are, however, significant enhancements that go beyond XPath 1.0, such as typing, special functions, and support for better iteration, sorting of results, and construction.
SQL Server 2005 ships with deep XQuery capabilities that allow for XML object manipulation in the data tier. It supports a statically typed subset of the XQuery 1.0 Working Draft of November 15, 2003.
Web Services Support
In SQL Server 2005, you can develop XML Web services in the database tier, making SQL Server an HTTP listener. This provides a new type of data access capability for applications that are centralized around Web services. In SQL Server 2005, you can use HTTP to access SQL Server directly without using a middle-tier listener such as Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS). SQL Server exposes a Web service interface to allow the execution of SQL statements and invocation of functions and procedures. Query results are returned in XML format and can take advantage of the Visual Studio Web services infrastructure.
XML for Analysis Services
XML for Analysis Services (XMLA) is the native, standards-based protocol for communicating with the Analysis Services server. New kinds of applications are enabled and easy to develop—applications that integrate analytics with operations in real time. With XMLA as the native protocol, Analysis Services clients can be configured to have a zero footprint, and each server is automatically a Web service. A light-footprint Win32 layer is available for backward compatibility with tools that work with Analysis Services 2000 on OLE DB for OLAP, ADOMD, and ADOMD.NET. Many users will continue to use the ADOMD.NET object model to build custom applications on Analysis Services.
SQL Server 2005 introduces a new SQL Server application framework that includes Service Broker, Notification Services, SQL Server Mobile, and SQL Server Express. Service Broker is a distributed application framework that provides reliable asynchronous messaging at the database-to-database level.
Over the last 10 years, the proliferation of e-commerce applications has created the need for increased workflow management across database applications. When an online customer places an order for a book, this order needs to commit transactions into the inventory, shipping, and credit card systems, and needs to send an order confirmation using another Web application. Waiting for each of these processes to happen in order does not scale well. SQL Server 2005 provides a new scalable architecture for building asynchronous message routing. Figure 4 outlines the Service Broker architecture.
Figure 4: Service Broker Architecture
The Service Broker technology allows internal or external processes to send and receive streams of reliable, asynchronous messages by using extensions to normal Transact-SQL data manipulation language. Messages are sent to a queue in the same database as the sender, to another database in the same instance of SQL Server, or to another instance of SQL Server either on the same server or on a remote server.
Microsoft SQL Server Notification Services is a platform for developing and deploying applications that generate and send notifications to users. Notifications are personalized, timely messages that can be sent to a variety of devices.
Notifications reflect subscriber preferences. The subscriber enters a subscription to express an interest in information, such as "Notify me when the stock price of Adventure Works reaches $70.00," or "Notify me when the strategy document my team is writing is updated."
A notification can be generated and sent to the user as soon as a triggering event occurs, or it can be generated and sent on a predetermined schedule that the user specifies. The user’s subscription specifies when the notification should be generated and sent.
Notifications can be sent to a various devices, such as to a user’s mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA), Microsoft Windows Messenger, or e-mail account. Because these devices often accompany the user, notifications are ideal for sending high-priority information.
SQL Server Mobile Edition
SQL Server 2000 shipped with SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition, which is now SQL Server Mobile Edition version 3.0. A number of new key features in SQL Server Mobile Edition relate to developers:
SQL Server Express
More than ever, developers are making the most of relational databases to provide a rich end-user experience. Protecting and managing information inside these applications is critical. Microsoft SQL Server Express helps developers build robust and reliable applications by providing a free, easy-to-use, and robust database. Too often, database systems are overly complex for building simple applications. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server Express reduce this complexity by providing a simple but powerful development environment for building data-driven applications. Developers can design schemas, add data, and query local databases, all inside the Visual Studio 2005 environment. If developers need more advanced database features, then SQL Server Express can be seamlessly upgraded to more sophisticated versions of SQL Server. Figure 5 shows the Query Editor interface in SQL Server Express Manager.
Figure 5: The Query Editor in SQL Server Express Manager
A new graphical user interface tool called SQL Server Express Manager (XM) is freely available as a separate Web download. XM allows easy database management and query analysis capabilities, has a small download size, and will be freely redistributable. XM supports connections to SQL Server Express and other SQL Server 2005 editions, SQL Server 2000, and MSDE 2000. A simplified connection dialog box guides the user through the selection of the instance and the authentication methods to be used. Both local and remote connections are possible using XM. Object Explorer enumerates and displays the common objects used, such as the instance, tables, stored process, and so on, in a hierarchical manner and helps the user visualize access to the database.
All database management functionalities are available by invoking the right-click context menu from Object Explorer. Some of the database management options to be exposed include creating and modifying databases, tables, logins, and users. Many of these common database operations are available as task wizards that guide the user through the process, while many others are available as tabbed window documents. For instance, XM provides a New/Edit Database document for creating new databases and editing existing databases.
Many database users prefer to manage their servers using Transact-SQL, because this approach offers finer-grained control than using the graphical user interface. The Query Editor in XM lets users develop and execute Transact-SQL statements and scripts. The Query Editor has rich features such as keyword color-coding and a results pane that returns results in a data grid. Error messages, if any, are also shown in the results pane.
SQL Server 2005 furthers Microsoft leadership in the area of business intelligence (BI) through innovations in scalability, data integration, development tools, and rich analytics. SQL Server 2005 enables scalable BI by putting critical, timely information in the hands of employees across your organization. From the CEO to the information worker, employees will be able to quickly and easily harness data to make better decisions faster. The comprehensive integration, analysis, and reporting capabilities of SQL Server 2005 enable companies to extend the value of their existing applications, regardless of the underlying platform. BI features include enhancements in the following areas:
End-to-End Integrated Business Intelligence Platform
SQL Server 2005 is a complete BI platform that provides the features, tools, and functionality to build both classic and innovative kinds of analytical applications. The following information introduces the tools that you will use to build an analytical application, and highlights new functionality that makes it easier than ever to build and manage complex BI systems.
The SQL Server 2005 BI toolset delivers end-to-end BI application integration:
SQL Server 2005 includes a redesigned enterprise data extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) platform, called SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). SSIS enables organizations to more easily integrate and analyze data from multiple heterogeneous information sources. By analyzing data across an array of operational systems, organizations may gain a competitive edge through a holistic understanding of their business.
Enterprise ETL Platform
This new platform is the successor to the popular feature in SQL Server 2000 called Data Transformation Services (DTS). SSIS is completely new for SQL Server 2005. SSIS provides the breadth of features and very high-scale performance that is necessary to build enterprise-class ETL applications. SSIS is fully programmable, embeddable, and extensible—characteristics that make it an ideal ETL platform.
Beyond Traditional ETL
SQL Server 2005 supports nontraditional data (Web Services, XML) out of the box, in the following ways:
With SQL Server 2005, Analysis Services provides, for the first time, a unified and integrated view of all your business data as the foundation for your traditional reporting, online analytical processing (OLAP) analysis, and data mining.
Unified Dimensional Model
By combining the best aspects of traditional OLAP analysis and relational reporting, Analysis Services provides a metadata model that covers both sets of needs. A set of cubes and dimensions defined in Analysis Services is referred to as a Unified Dimensional Model (UDM). The UDM is a central metadata repository defining business entities, business logic, calculations, and metrics that serves as the source for all reports, spreadsheets, OLAP browsers, KPIs, and analytical applications.
Using the powerful new Data Source View feature, the UDM is mapped to a host of heterogeneous back-end data sources, providing a complete and integrated picture of the business regardless of the location of the data.
With the UDM’s friendly descriptions of the business entities, navigation hierarchies, multiple perspectives, and even automatic translations to native languages, users will find it easy to explore the corporate business data.
SQL Server 2005 Data Mining is the BI technology that helps you build complex analytical models, and integrate those models with your business operations. Analysis Services establishes new ground for data mining. By creating an easy-to-use, extensible, accessible, and flexible platform, Analysis Services data mining capabilities introduce data mining to organizations that previously would never have considered a data mining solution.
Through an enterprise-class architecture, a deep integration with the SQL Server family of BI tools, and a rich set of other tools, APIs, and algorithms, SQL Server enables the creation of a new breed of intelligent applications that enhance productivity, increase profits, and reduce costs by providing customized data-driven solutions to a broad range of business problems.
Reporting Services extends the Microsoft BI platform to reach the information worker who needs access to business data. Reporting Services is a server-based enterprise reporting environment, managed through Web services. Reports can be delivered in a variety of formats, with a range of interactivity and printing options. Complex analyses can reach a broad audience through the distribution of reports as a data source for downstream BI.
As an integrated component of SQL Server 2005, Reporting Services provides the following:
Relational and OLAP Reports
Reports built on relational data are useful but the ability to add additional analytic capabilities makes such reporting powerful. Reporting Services allows you to easily build reports together or separately. SQL Server 2005 supports both relational and OLAP data and provides a query editor for both, including SQL Query Editor and MDX Query Editor.
Report Builder, a new component of SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services, allows business users to create their own reports using a user-friendly model of their data. Report Builder takes advantage of the Reporting Services platform to bring ad hoc reporting to all end users. Users create and edit reports with the Report Builder client application. The Report Builder user interface is built on top of familiar Microsoft Office paradigms such as Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint. Figure 6 shows a sample Report Builder report.
Figure 6: Design Reports with Report Builder
Report Builder is a ClickOnce application deployed through the browser. Users start by selecting report layout templates containing predefined data sections such as tables, matrices, and charts. They drag and drop report items from the model to the design surface and set constraints to filter the report data. The model contains all of the necessary information for the Report Builder to automatically generate the source query and retrieve the requested data. The Report Builder also allows users to:
Integration with the Microsoft Office System
Reports served up by the Report Server in Reporting Services can run in the context of Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server and Microsoft Office System applications such as Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel. You can use SharePoint features to subscribe to reports, create new versions of reports, and distribute reports. You can also open reports in Word or Excel to view HTML versions of the reports.
Upgrading to SQL Server 2005
The following are some tips for upgrading to SQL Server 2005:
khader on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar khader on Lal Shahbaz Qalandar raja on Basic .NET, C#.NET, ASP.NET in… bharadwaj(bru) on Basic .NET, C#.NET, ASP.NET in… kishor on Basic .NET, C#.NET, ASP.NET in…
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