I have just finished writing a new E-Book, and it is available free from Red Gate Software at the following URL:
The goal of my new 112 page book is not to teach you everything you need to know about SQL Server 2008. If that was the case, it would be about 10 times that size. My goal is to introduce you to what I feel are the ten top new features of SQL Server 2008. In each chapter, I introduce you to a new feature, discuss why you might want to use it, describe how it works, and I provide a simple example. Each chapters runs about 10 pages each, so you can pick and choose those chapters that interest you the most. If you find any of the new features interesting, I suggest you learn more from the SQL Server 2008 Books Online.
As you might expect, my choice of the top ten new features in SQL Server 2008 probably won’t match your top ten choices. I imagine if I asked ten different DBAs what their favorite new features were, I’d get ten different lists. In any event, I hope you find the book a quick way to introduce you to SQL Server 2008.
Below is a list of the topics I cover.
- Management Studio Improvements – SSMS 2008 starts to rebuild its reputation in the DBA community with the introduction of IntelliSense and a debugger for T-SQL, the ability to run multi-server queries as well as improved performance and numerous other enhancements.
- Policy-Based Management – Every DBA knows the frustration of trying to manage tens of servers, each of which has a subtly different configuration. Policy-based management could ease a lot of this pain.
- Data Compression – The first immutable law of database administration is that databases will grow (and grow) over time. SQL 2008 enterprise brings with it data and backup compression, thus reducing physical file sizes as well as disk I/O.
- Resource Governor – Everyone knows it’s not “best practice” but most DBAs, nevertheless, deal with situations whereby a SQL Server that supports OLTP applications is also used extensively for reporting. Often this can cause enough resource contention to affect production activity. Resource Governor promises to be a valuable tool in curtailing this problem.
- Performance Data Collector – Historically, DBAs have used a mishmash of different tools to get performance data out of SQL Server, including Profiler, System Monitor, DMVs, and more. Performance Data Collector is one of the tools that starts to bring together all this information, moving more towards a single-location, single-format model of collecting, storing and analyzing performance data.
- Transparent Data Encryption – Whether we like it or not, Security is an issue with which DBAs are going to become more and more familiar. 2008 Enterprise adds full database-level encryption to column-level encryption.
- SQL Server Audit – Again, auditing is an area in which DBAs have tended to use several different methods to track the activities they need to monitor, from DDL triggers, to SQL Trace to third-party tools. The new SQL Server Audit attempts to expand the range of activities that can be easily monitored, as well as being easier for the DBA to use and more granular.
- New Data Types – It’s a long time since SQL Server has been a simple “relational data store”, and SQL 2008 pushes boundaries again, introducing spatial data types, hierarchical data, as well as unstructured data such as videos, Excel files and so on.
- Extended Events – These have been introduced in order to help “centralize” performance data collection in SQL. They provide a generic event-handling system aimed at making it much easier to capture, store and act on disparate troubleshooting data from SQL Server, the Windows OS, and applications.
- Change Data Capture – DBAs always strive to separate OLTP and OLAP activities cleanly onto separate servers. However, moving data between the two, while keeping them synchronized, has proved a difficult problem. Change Data Capture could well be the answer.