What 5 things should SQL Server get rid of?

I’ve been “tagged” by my friend Paul Randal. It’s a high-tech way of making someone else do what you want, but since it’s Paul, well, I guess I’m OK with that. He’s asked in his recent blog entry “What five things would you get rid of in SQL Server if you were in charge?”

This is, of course, a delicate issue. After all, I work at Microsoft, so anything I say here might be taken as a criticism that would require action – but of course it really doesn’t. Interestingly, you may have more to do with what goes in to SQL Server than I did even as a Program Manager where I “owned” a feature. Unlike many places I’ve worked, Microsoft really does drive its products by what its users want – not every time, and not every user request, mind you, but overall I think we hit the mark pretty well.

So, with all of that said, and of course the obligatory statement of “these are my own opinions, and have nothing to do with any official Microsoft position in any way, and do not reflect the opinions of other Microsoft employees or management”, here goes.

1. Get rid of SQL Server Management Studio
Does that surprise you? After all, when I was a Program Manager, I actually owned the general architecture for SSMS. But those on my team probably would have been able to guess this one for you. I think that SSMS is a fine development tool. But I think that it does less of a good job for managing a system. It’s based on Visual Studio, probably one of the best development IDE’s around. And when I develop code, I really like it. But for a monitoring/management tool, I prefer a snap-in to the Microsoft Management Console (MMC). I know, the old one (prior to 3.0) was kludgy, difficult to use and program in. But that’s changed. Of course, when I bring this up, you’ll probably immediately say “But I don’t have that in XP.” And that’s one of the reasons we didn’t go there. (But I still don’t like SSMS for management.)

2. ShrinkDB
I think this discussion has been done to death, so I’ll leave it at that.

3. SQL Server Agent
Does that one surprise you as well? In my mind, since we ALWAYS ride on Windows, just use the task scheduler there, along with PowerShell. You could log the results in Windows logs, files, back into SQL Server, whatever. It’s just a complexity we don’t need in SQL Server.

4. SQL Server Error Logs
We have a full logging setup in Windows. They’re well done, easy to understand and ubiquitous. We should just use that.

5. Several SKU’s
I won’t say which, but we have a few SKU’s of SQL Server that need to go. And we need to figure out how to help you understand clearly where you need to go to Enterprise or Data Center.  Most folks are trying to push Standard edition to do things it isn’t designed to do, and then they think SQL Server won’t scale. I think we can do a better job of showing you where Standard Edition will hit the wall, and I think with fewer choices it would be pretty simple for you to pick the right one.

Well, once again I’ve probably puzzled some folks and angered others. I think my work here is done. :) Back to you, Paul.