SQL Bits 11 - Notes & Queries

If you didn’t manage to fight your fight your way through the Everton & Liverpool fans to SQL Bits I thought you might like to see some of the random questions I got asked..

How do I manage SQL Azure?

I think the key thing about developing for the cloud is to ensure that your application can handle retries as session disconnect and reconnect.  You will also want to ensure your code is well optimised and ideally your application that’s using SQL Azure is in Azure itself.

Having done that you should be checking your application is running and the best way to do this is to use the  built in management views (DMVs) that Azure has. These track such diverse information as:

  • session information
  • bandwidth usage
  • configuration like firewall rules
  • database copy information

Evaluation & Testing

There are time-bombed evaluation copies of most of the Microsoft platform, but in order to look at something like the new Crescent reporting tool in SQL Server Denali, on a virtual machine you’ll need a copy of windows server, Office , SharePoint as well as the Denali beta itself. So abetter way to this is to use either a TechNet or MSDN subscription.  Apart form the fact that MSDN is more expensive they are there for different purposes and have different uses as this grid from MSDN shows:

Software Usage Scenarios Allowed with a TechNet subscription? Allowed with an MSDN subscription?
Use Microsoft software in production. No No
Use Microsoft software to understand features to make usage, deployment or purchase recommendations or decisions. Yes No
Use Microsoft software with 3rd party applications to make usage, deployment or purchase recommendations or decisions on the Microsoft software. Yes No
Become familiar and keep up to date with the latest Microsoft software to support internal or external clients using or deploying the software. Yes No
Use Microsoft software as part of a learning environment (class, etc.) where each student and instructor is not already licensed individually. No No
Become familiar and keep up to date with the latest Microsoft software to support your application development process. No Yes
Install Microsoft software for use as a test environment for applications you or others are building. No Yes
Use Microsoft software as part of a test environment for your applications. No Yes
Understand Microsoft software features to plan for your application development. No Yes
Use Microsoft software for designing and developing your applications. No Yes
Use Microsoft software for demonstrating your applications. No Yes
Use Microsoft software for user acceptance testing of your applications (no debugging, no code modification) No Yes – anyone can perform acceptance testing if the software was otherwise licensed under MSDN Subscriptions

So although licenses included in both subscriptions aren’t time bombed, only MSDN subscription licenses are allowed to be used for testing, as well as evaluation.

When will Denali be released

There is no specific release date for SQL Server Denali, maybe there will be some announcements at PASS this week but I doubt the date will be fixed. Suppose I could tell you this would you really plan your project around that given that I still talk to customers on Windows XP with SQL Server 2005.

OLAP & Tabular BISM 

The shiny new Tabular based analysis services has not replaced OLAP.  In the current beta (ctp3) Crescent only works against a tabular BISM model, and I am hoping this will be fixed fore the release of Denali.  However OLAP offers a more sophisticated language (MDX), the ability to model many to many relationships to deliver more complex analytics, and has data mining built in.  There are also enhancements to OLAP in Denali, so you need to decide how and when to use each technology in your organisation.


I could go on but I am about to jump in my car to head off to Birmingham for tonight’s SQL Relay in Birmingham, so if you are there tonight or in Leeds, Edinburgh, Newcastle later this week then come along and say hi and bring your questions.