What's new in SQL 2008

by Joe Havelick 1. November 2008 21:16

The following represents a summary of major features available with Microsoft SQL Server 2008 that weren't part of Microsoft SQL Server 2005:

  • New data type, including:
    • Date, Time, and DateTimeOffset (a date time with a timezone "awareness")
    • Geographic, or spatial data type.  Used to represent points or areas on a map or the earth.
    • Hierarchical data types, used to more efficiently represent hierarchical information.
    • Filestreams, used to store large files directly on an NTFS file system, such that you can reap the benefits of storing files such as PDF, JPEG, TIFF, AVI, etc. in your databases, without the growth issues.
  • Enhanced Encryption - Advertised as transparent, it promises to allow for field to database level encryption without any application logic required.  
  • Resource Governor - Allows rule based throttling of resources to more important transactions, so that your day to day operations don't get tanked by a one time report or update.
  • Better control over query plans - Although it's possible to store and force the reuse of query plans in 2005, 2008 is supposed to make it much easier.  The Optimizer in SQL does excellent work 99.9% of the time... but it can be a bear for that last bit.
  • Auditing - Built in support for column or table based tracking of Additions, Updates and Deletions.  From what I've seem, it's simple to setup, but requires some TSQL skills to utilize.  It's appeal is that it will work without much additional overhead, or the need to implement new tables and triggers.
  • Better LINQ support - This is inline with Microsoft's overall strategy of enabling developers to more close build standard object models for datasources, regardless of the actual provider.  Expect Visual Studio 2009 to capitalize on this further. 
  • Elimination of Notification Services - The functionality that was built into SQL appears to still be available via Reporting Services, however, using Notification Services as a framework for delivering notifications from standard queries appears to be unavailable.
  • Policy Based Management - I'm really not to hot about this myself, but it allows you to apply policies to databases and periodically run "health checks" of those policies against your databases.  What I'm not clear on is why you would ever need to check the health of your database.  I f apolicy has been applied to prevent something from occurring, why would it ever be allowed, and thereby put it in an unhealthy state.  I remain curious.


For additional information, please check the following sites:

http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/whats-new.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/overview.aspx

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The Significance of Google Chrome

by Joe Havelick 13. September 2008 17:28

Why would Google decide to throw it's hat in the ring of the current browser wars?  Chrome represents a win/win scenario for Google since innovations in the browser market are quickly and uniformly adopted by the few competitors.  How quickly did IE change it's interface around in IE 7 to include tabbed browsing and other new feature once Firefox became a viable threat to their market share?  Google has placed Chrome out into the world as a proof of concept for several key features of which their core business plan depends heavily on.  Particularly:

  1. Vast performance improvements on JavaScript processing
  2. Isolation of each open page within individual processes
  3. Integration with Google Gears/Application Shortcuts

Even if the major players in the browser war simply adopt some of the innovations in Chrome, Google still comes out ahead.  Google foresees the decline of the desktop OS and the shift towards cloud computing.  Having already developed a reputable suite of web-based applications, the current shortcomings include the lack of a stable platform which manifests itself in two areas. 

First, there remains a lack of a consistent and reliable connection to the internet.  The idea of a web application is not appealing if you're not going to be able to pop open a document or presentation for review and revision in an airplane without connectivity to the web.  To counter that, Google has developed the Google Gears toolkit, which allows for seamless us of web applications, regardless of current connectivity. 

Second, the lack of a reliable, fast, and stable platform (which in this case, is a browser).  Google has done a remarkable job creating applications which function smoothly and quickly using the current implementation of JavaScript.  However, it has it's limits.  It was never designed to handle full fledged applications, and is prone to both performance and stability issues when utilized as such.  V8 is a all new engine designed from the ground up with performance and stability in mind, giving Google a solid platform on which to develop their web applications.  Additionally, the isolation of applications within their own processes provides a more forgiving environment in the case (god forbid) of an application error which crashes the process.

So really, if IE, Firefox, and other browsers adopt some of these changes, which they are most likely to do in order to remain as competitive as possible, they're simply playing into the hands of Google.  For Microsoft, this represent a most interesting decision, since they are not only in the browser market with Google, but the web application framework (Silverlight), and cloud computing markets.  Smooth move by Google.

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