Wiley - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (2008)02

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Wiley - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (2008)02

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Wiley - Microsoft SQL Server 2008 All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (2008)02

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  1. Business Intelligence 19 Book I Chapter 2 Architecture and Key Concepts SQL Server Figure 2-2: Creating a new project in Visual Studio. Business Intelligence In the not-too-distant past, only the largest enterprises could take advantage of the proven benefits from complex business intelligence analysis. The soft- ware and hardware necessary to run these computations was simply out of reach of most organizations. The past few years have seen the price of hard- ware and software fall at a steady pace, bringing these kinds of solutions to a new audience. Microsoft has done its part as well, delivering highly capable business intelligence technology in conjunction with its database frame- work. Known as SQL Server Analysis Services, these technologies, which seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft Office suite, make it possible to develop and deliver robust analytic solutions without the need for expensive software and consulting services. Figure 2-3 highlights how, again, the Visual Studio development environment is the foundation for developing a SQL Server–related solution. In this case, designing and creating a multidimen- sional cube.
  2. 20 Reporting Figure 2-3: Configuring business intelligence. Reporting SQL Server’s Reporting Services (SSRS) aim to offering the IT organization a single source for creating, maintaining, and delivering reports on information stored in the database. Well-integrated with Microsoft Office, as well as SharePoint Server 2007, SSRS reduces the need to purchase and master third-party reporting solutions. Instead, application designers and develop- ers can work within the same set of tools to deliver the information their users require. For example, Figure 2-4 shows the user interface for the Microsoft Report Designer. Integration Several new industries are addressing the ever-multiplying challenges of tying information together from multiple silos. Unfortunately, from the perspective of most IT organizations, this leads to purchasing and adminis- tering an increasing number of integration-related tools. Microsoft has gotten into the act as well by offering a set of technologies known as SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) — a formidable challenger to the Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) industry. What’s especially attractive about Microsoft’s offering is that there’s no additional software to purchase; it’s all part of SQL Server. It also uses Microsoft’s field-tested approach to solving complex computing challenges via graphically based (rather than script- driven) tools. Figure 2-5, which shows the development platform in which you construct SSIS solutions, illustrates a rich graphical user interface.
  3. Integration 21 Book I Chapter 2 Architecture and Key Concepts SQL Server Figure 2-4: The Microsoft Report Designer. Figure 2-5: Building an SSIS project.
  4. 22 Book I: Essential Concepts
  5. Chapter 3: Getting Started, Getting Around In This Chapter Hardware and software requirements Converting to SQL Server 2008 Tools at your disposal I f you’re ready to get started on the road to a fully functional SQL Server environment, this chapter is for you. We get the ball rolling by telling you about the hardware and software foundations that you need to install the product. The next task is to examine what it takes to either upgrade from an earlier version of SQL Server or convert from an entirely different database platform. The chapter closes by taking you on a brief tour of the excellent tools included with SQL Server, along with some examples of situations where you’re able to put them to work. Hardware and Software Requirements Although you might be tempted to pop in the DVD containing the SQL Server software, or point your browser at Microsoft’s Web site and then immediately download and install the product, take a few minutes and determine whether your computer meets some minimal requirements. Otherwise, you might find that your installation efforts are for naught or that your SQL Server instance runs poorly (or not at all!). Fortunately, as the next chapter illustrates, Microsoft thoughtfully includes a system configuration check utility as part of the SQL Server installation. However, you can pass this test and still have a sluggish system, which is why you want to pay attention to the recommendations listed in this chapter. Note: If you’re curious about the installation experience, the next chapter gives that topic the rich treatment it deserves. Take the time to go through each of these major system readiness categories, making sure that you meet or exceed each of these prerequisites. Also, if you’re installing SQL Server on multiple machines, remember that a machine acting as a central server will generally require faster and better hardware than one that primarily acts as a client. Finally, you need to have administra- tive privileges on the computer where you’re installing SQL Server.
  6. 24 Hardware and Software Requirements ✦ CPU: To keep things moving, you need a CPU with at least a Pentium III- class processor running at a minimum of 1 GHz. For serious work, plan on employing a Pentium IV processor that offers at least 2 GHz. ✦ Memory: Because sufficient memory serves as the foundation of any well-performing relational database, make sure that you provide 1GB or more. Generally, just as you can’t be too rich or too thin, you can’t pro- vide a relational database with too much CPU or memory; SQL Server will always use as much memory as it needs but not more. ✦ Disk: Given that relational databases use disk drives as their primary storage mechanism, it’s always difficult to recommend a fixed value for the right amount of available disk capacity — every site and application is different. However, note that a full installation of SQL Server and related tools eats more than 2GB before any of your data arrives. SQL Server ships in several editions for both 32- and 64-bit platforms. This can affect the exact hardware and software configuration that you need. In general, “more and faster” is better. ✦ Operating system: Microsoft gives you a fairly wide choice of operating systems (both 32-bit and 64-bit) that can run SQL Server. They include • Windows Server 2008 (Standard, Data Center, Enterprise) • Windows Server 2003 (Standard, Data Center, Enterprise) • Windows XP Professional Edition • Windows Vista (Ultimate, Home Premium, Home Basic, Enterprise, Business) Be prepared to apply the latest service pack for your operating system; in many cases, SQL Server depends on these patches. ✦ Supporting software: Because it’s built on top of some of Microsoft’s newest technologies, SQL Server requires that you install some addi- tional software components. These can include • .NET Framework 2.0 • SQL Server Native Client • SQL Server Setup support files • Windows Installer 3.1 • Microsoft Data Access Components (MDAC) 2.8 SP1 or newer • Internet Explorer SP1 or newer SQL Server’s installation logic is quite sophisticated; it generally obtains these components automatically for you as part of the installation process, assuming you’re connected to the Internet.
  7. Converting to SQL Server 2008 25 Converting to SQL Server 2008 Book I Chapter 3 Unless you’re building a brand new set of applications, chances are you have an existing database that will need to be converted to work with SQL Getting Started, Getting Around Server 2008. This section shows you how to handle this important task. We’ve broken this portion into two segments: converting from an earlier version of SQL Server, and converting from a different relational database management system. Before undertaking any major system or software upgrade, it’s always wise to perform a complete backup of your information. The data you save may be your own! Upgrading from earlier versions of SQL Server Upgrading database software (and the data contained in it) is always a nerve-wracking experience. Luckily, if you’re running an earlier instance of SQL Server (such as SQL Server 2000 or 2005), it’s actually quite simple. You can even elect to have your SQL Server 2008 instance simultaneously run- ning alongside the earlier edition. Assuming that you want to upgrade the entire instance, here’s how to get started: 1. Obtain a copy of the product. Most database administrators obtain a physical DVD containing the SQL Server product; there are also circumstances where it’s available elec- tronically. If you obtain a physical copy, place the media in your com- puter’s DVD drive. 2. Launch the SQL Server setup application. The Setup.exe file is under the \Servers folder on your installation media. 3. Accept the license terms and click Next. The installation program obtains any necessary supporting software. 4. Select the Upgrade from SQL Server 2000 or 2005 option in the SQL Server 2008 Installation Center dialog box. The System Configuration Checker analyzes your computer to see if it’s capable of running SQL Server 2008. If any problems occur, you’re alerted here. 5. Choose the instance you want to upgrade and click Next. You can also instruct SQL Server on whether you want to upgrade the entire instance or just its shared components. Figure 3-1 shows how this dialog box appears:
  8. 26 Converting to SQL Server 2008 Figure 3-1: Selecting an instance to upgrade. 6. Review the features that will be upgraded and click Next. Figure 3-2 shows the list of features that are being upgraded. 7. Configure the accounts you want to run the SQL Server services and click Next. 8. When prompted, fill in details about how you want errors handled, and click Next. Figure 3-2: Selecting features.
  9. Converting to SQL Server 2008 27 9. Run the Upgrade Rules Check wizard. Book I Chapter 3 SQL Server now executes a rules engine to ensure that your existing instance can be upgraded. Getting Started, Getting Around 10. Review the Ready to Upgrade page, and click Next. After you’ve given it the go-ahead, SQL Server upgrades your database to SQL Server 2008. You can monitor how things are going by watching the Progress page. After the conversion is complete, you need to do a few more things to finish the job, including: ✦ Refreshing usage counters. ✦ Updating statistics. Book VII, Chapter 1 is where you can find out how to address these first two topics. ✦ Registering your servers. Check out Book IV, Chapter 6 for more about distributed environments. ✦ Adjusting your configuration. Book VIII, Chapter 1 shows you how to tweak your SQL Server configuration. ✦ Rebuilding your full-text catalogs. Book III, Chapter 8 includes an explanation of the care and feeding of SQL Server’s full-text search capabilities. On the other hand, if all you want to do is copy a database from an earlier version of SQL Server into a new instance, you can use the Copy Database Wizard to accomplish this task. Book VIII, Chapter 2 explains how to copy, export, and import databases. Converting from a different database Normally, the mere thought of converting between relational database platforms is enough to send shivers up the spine of even the most hardened database administrator. Fortunately, SQL Server 2008 offers several simple yet powerful tools to make migrating data less of a burden. I’ll briefly describe two of these tools, along with criteria you can use to pick one of them. SQL Server Import and Export Wizard This utility (launched by right-clicking on the Management folder within the SQL Server Management Studio and selecting the Import Data menu option) allows you to import information easily into your new SQL Server instance. It’s quite flexible and simple to use, and as shown in Figure 3-3, you can bring in data from a broad range of information storage formats, including:
  10. 28 Converting to SQL Server 2008 ✦ ODBC ✦ Oracle ✦ SQL Server ✦ Flat files ✦ Microsoft Access ✦ Microsoft Excel If your existing database is on this list, then it’s likely that this is the right tool to use to import information into SQL Server. Book VIII, Chapter 2 explores this topic in more detail. Figure 3-3: Available data source formats from the SQL Server Import and Export Wizard. SQL Server Integration Services These components are much more powerful, but significantly more complex to employ. They make it possible for SQL Server administrators and integra- tion specialists to connect to and manipulate just about any data format out there. Figure 3-4 offers a brief glimpse into the kinds of sophisticated integra- tion workflow available to you. Generally, if you’re faced with a more com- plex or ongoing integration scenario, it’s worthwhile to get to know this extremely capable technology.
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