Is Microsoft 'Turning the Screws' on SQL Server Standard Edition Users?

The SQL Server community this week engaged in a lively debate about limitations of the 2014 Standard Edition and Microsoft licensing practices.

The discussion--highlighted on Hacker News--was sparked by a post by database consultant/blogger Brent Ozar, titled "SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition Sucks, and It’s All Your Fault."

More

Posted by David Ramel on 07/31/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Premium Preview for SQL Database Now Available

Microsoft on Tuesday announced the availability of a Premium preview for Windows Azure SQL Database with beefed-up features for cloud-based business-class applications.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 07/25/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Microsoft Going All In with Hadoop and Hortonworks

Big Data is the future, Hadoop is the tool and Hortonworks is the partner to help Microsoft help businesses navigate the coming sea change in the way they operate. That's the takeaway I got from Microsoft exec Quentin Clark in his keynote address at the recent Hadoop Summit North America held in San Jose, Calif.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 07/11/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


SQL Server 2014 Preview Available

The latest version of Microsoft's flagship Relational Database Management System (RDBMS) is offered in two versions: the regular SQL Server 2014 Community Technology Preview 1 and the cloud-based SQL Server 2014 Community Technology Preview 1 on Windows Azure, both from the TechNet Evaluation Center. The announcement comes one day before the BUILD 2013 developer's conference in San Francisco.

The Windows Azure cloud was first and foremost in Microsoft's messaging about the new software, touting the company's "Cloud OS." "Microsoft has made a big bet on what we call our cloud-first design principles," said Brad Anderson, corporate VP, in a blog post discussing the new previews.

"SQL Server 2014 features in-memory processing for applications ("Hekaton"), as well as data warehousing and business intelligence," Anderson said. "SQL Server 2014 also enables new hybrid scenarios like AlwaysOn availability, cloud backup and disaster recovery. It lives in Windows Azure and can be easily migrated to the cloud from on-premises."

Along with SQL Server 2014, Microsoft announced the availability of previews for Windows Server and System Center, both as 2012 R2 versions.

The SQL Server 2014 CTP will expire after 180 days or on Dec. 31, 2013, whichever comes first. Download options include an ISO DVD image, CAB file or Azure version. Microsoft recommends the ISO or CAB version to test the software's new in-memory capabilities.

Posted by David Ramel on 06/25/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Big Data Just Keeps Getting Bigger

I guess I've done my part to fuel Big Data hype by writing about Big Data hype--it's kind of a vicious circle. But it's a significant milestone and indication that it's gone beyond hype and is here to stay when the term is entered into the Oxford English Dictionary.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 06/21/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


More Details on SQL Server 2014 In-Memory Capabilities

More details are emerging about in-memory capabilities in the new SQL Server 2014, announced at the recent TechEd 2013 conference.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 06/13/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Microsoft Announces SQL Server 2014

Microsoft today announced SQL Server 2014, designed with "cloud-first principles" and featuring built-in, in-memory OLTP and a focus on real-time, Big Data-style analytics. No specific realease date was provided in the announcement.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 06/04/2013 at 11:05 AM0 comments


Still Time to Become a Data Scientist?

A podcast posted yesterday on the IEEE Spectrum site asked "Is Data Science Your Next Career?" That's a question I've been exploring recently in research for an article on the Big Data skills shortage.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 05/29/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Tracking Big Data Trends at Stack Overflow

You know Stack Overflow, of course (a recent Slashdot.org posting was titled "Developers May Be Getting 50 Percent of Their Documentation From Stack Overflow").

So, while doing research for an upcoming article, I learned that StackOverflow.com (which says it gets more than 20 million visitors per month) could provide an interesting take on trends such as the move to Big Data, both from a job-seeking/recruiting point of view and by measuring the number of questions about the technology.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 05/10/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


How to Grab a Slice of the Big Data Pie

Cloudera Inc.'s recent announcement of its SQL-on-Hadoop tool is one of the latest examples of vendors trying to make Big Data analytics more accessible. But "more accessible" is a long way from "easy," and it will be a while before your average Excel jockey can take over the reins of a typical company's Big Data initiatives.

So data developers are still key, and those with Hadoop and related Big Data skills are commanding top dollars to meet an insatiable demand for their services. But the very top dollars go to the very top developers, and those folks might have to grow beyond the traditional programmer role.

More

Posted by David Ramel on 05/03/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Microsoft Ramps Up Database Lifecycle Management Guidance

Need help troubleshooting a Windows Azure SQL Database connection, or getting started with SQL Server Data Tools? Well, there's now a one-stop shop where you can identify aspects of your problem as it relates to the big picture of database development and immediately go to the appropriate resources to solve it.

Yes, data developers now have their own lifecycle management acronym and accompanying guidance.

That's thanks to Microsoft's Louis Berner and his Database Lifecycle Management topic page in the MSDN Library.

"DLM is not a product but a comprehensive approach to managing the database schema, data, and metadata for a database application," the page states. It includes a complicated diagram (see Figure 1) that developers can use to identify apps and actions specific to their scenarios, along with links for guidance in the categories SQL Server Data Tools, SQL Server Management Studio and Windows Azure SQL Database.

Database Lifecycle Management
[Click on image for larger view.]
Figure 1. The DLM Diagram

I asked Berner about his DLM topic page, which has been getting some buzz in data development circles since it went live around the end of January. He explained that he worked in SQL Server Education, collaborating with Microsoft Customer Support Services to spot trends in customer support calls and resolve problems.

Last summer, he identified several issues in his bailiwick: SQL Server and SQL Database (Azure) manageability. He listed them as:

  1. Customers were frustrated in their efforts to get started with the Windows Azure platform.
  2. Data portability was a specific area that stood out as problematic, especially as it relates to service-level agreements, for example, backup/restore, business continuity and disaster recovery.
  3. Connectivity and troubleshooting connection issues were topics of concern.
  4. Understanding basic concepts was lacking in terms of what Microsoft offers for database development, portability and monitoring across scenarios that include on-premise, hybrid and cloud architectures; I described it in general terms as "Database Lifecycle Management."

"Customer frustration was understandable because we had developed features and tools over the course of many releases and a time span of five years or more," Berner explained. "Many resources within feature teams didn't understand the holistic view because they worked on individual pieces of the puzzle, and many were recent arrivals to the product unit. Because of their focus on individual features, they weren't expected to understand the big picture."

One particularly important issue he wanted to emphasize was data-tier applications. "Developers can benefit from use of data-tier applications features to create a package for deployment to production, to create a snapshot of a schema for version control, or to publish a schema update in a controlled manner," he said. "This provides developers the ability to cleanly hand off to DBA or Ops resources. The data-tier application is an under-used and under-appreciated feature, in my opinion, maybe because customers don't know about it."

Well, if you didn't know about it, you do now--and you know where to go to learn more. Berner says he will continue to improve on the DLM page. "As I continue to monitor [Customer Support Services] data and other sources of customer experience, I have developed a backlog of additional topics to include in a topic refresh. I will also iterate on the artwork to improve it. Eventually, I would like customers to be able to drill down through the diagram to get to the content they want."

Berner has received good comments on his project and would like to get more feedback from data developers to help him in his improvement process. So check out the page and let him know what you think in the comments section or by sending him an e-mail with the subject: "DLM topic on MSDN."

We'd like to hear from you, too. Please comment here or drop me a line.

Posted by David Ramel on 04/17/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


3D Data Visualization Takes Another Step

Tables, graphs and 3D bar charts just don't cut it anymore. To really glean insights from all that data you're collecting, you need pretty pictures, maps and interactive "cinematic guided tours" that users can play with.

That's the vibe at the PASS Business Analytics Conference underway in Chicago, as witnessed by today's announcement of "project codename 'GeoFlow' Preview for Excel 2013."

More

Posted by David Ramel on 04/11/2013 at 1:15 PM0 comments


Upcoming Events