TechEd IT Proffesionals 2008 EMEA Day 1

For the next two weeks I will be attending Teched in the beautiful city of Barcelona. I attended 2 sessions today. The first one was about the high availability tools of SQL Server 2008. It was presented by Andrew Fryer, a technology evangelist of Microsoft UK. I saw a good presentation that emphasized on mirroring but also covered clustering and log-shipping. Personally I prefer clustering over mirroring. With mirroring there is always more administration with logins and other stuff that isn't mirrored. On the other hand: the transparent failover capabilities of mirroring are impressive.

Andrew also covered combinations of mirroring and log-shipping. I did see this at a few client sites and it provides extra availability at a low cost.

The second session was on storage in SQL 2008. It emphasized on the compression features of SQL 2008. He had a demo on back-up compression and he did some compression on tables. What impressed me was that on a partitioned table you can choose different compression methods on all partitions.

There are two levels of compression:

  • Row level: this one uses variable lengths for fixed length data types.
  • Page level: this one compresses entire datapages by looking for data that is on the page multiple times. This data is only stored once. In rows where the data originally was the data is replaced by a pointer which takes up less space. Page level compression includes row level by the way. Page level compression will save you more space.

On the downside: this feature is only available in the enterprise and developer edition.

He also touched sparse column support briefly. Personally I like this feature a lot. You can create columns that contain lots of nulls as sparse. SQL will convert all sparse columns on a row to a XML string. But clients don't notice anything and you can save a lot of space.


Tomorrow I'm have to man the Ask The Expert booth in the morning. In the afternoon I'm going to some sessions.