Saturday, September 6, 2008


Katmai - SQL Server 2008 has been launched. I was playing around with the new features in Katmai and some of them really struck me as ground breaking changes compared to earlier versions. My speciality being the Database Engine, I have not been able to do justice to my poking around for other components like the BI part of it. Though whatever I have managed to poke around, I found the following enhancements and new features to be very impactful in the near future:

Compression - Database and Backup compression is now available in Katmai. This is a boon for DBAs who manage databases which are TBs in size. Now you have Row or Page level compression to choose from. Also, you have a SP which makes an estimate of how much benefit you will derive from enabling compression or will it benefit you at all.

Backup Compression is also another major boon as storing backups of VLDBs can be quite a task which have strict SLA requirements.

T-SQL Enhancements - I quite liked this one. Now I can use programming level constructs while coding in T-SQL. Eg. declare @var varchar(50) = 'Declare and Initialize!'

New Table Hints and Query Hints - A few other tools added to the repertoire of the DBA to make queries run faster in environments where the DBA has no control over the queries being sent to the the database engine via the application.

XEvents - This is an important new feature from a troubleshooting perspective.

Policy Based Management - This is another of those administration joys that a DBA will derive when using this new feature. With a few clicks, the DBA can administer multiple database environments to conform organizational policies and also have checks in place to report non-compliance.

Server Audit Tracing - This is a step towards helping in meeting Compliance standards like PCI etc. No longer will you need to run profiler traces which have a tendency to affect server performance if capturing a large number of events.

Resource Governor - Another new feature which provides more granularity in deciding on resource bifurcation for different applications and deciding on application priorities. This virtually allows the DBAs to decided on what kind of queries should get how much resources on the server w.r.t. CPU, Memory etc. However, one should understand the full impact and ramifications of enabling such resource throttling on the server before implementing it. Such an implementation of RG at a production level requires thorough testing as you might end up throttling an operation which you didn't intend to.

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