SQL Server shapes up
An improved interface and new features make SQL Server 2005 a promising upgrade
Microsoft has released the second beta of SQL Server 2005, and it looks to be a major step forward. DTS (Data Transformation Services) has been completely rewritten for this release, bringing tons of enhancements and new features. The editing interface is a lot cleaner, and Microsoft has automated many tasks that current SQL Server admins have to do by hand. I’ve written several packages using the new FTP, XML, File System, and Script tasks, as well as the various loop containers. So far, Microsoft is hitting a major home run. The only thing I found that’s not complete yet is the Script task, which only allows you to use Visual Basic .Net. I have every confidence that the choices will be expanded by the release date, however.
I also have been doing some work with SQLiMail, the new SMTP-based e-mail system that should finally free SQL Server admins from having to install Outlook on their servers. I’ve experimented with SQLiMail in several aspects of the database, including code, DTS, jobs, and alerts. All in all, it’s one of the best features Microsoft has added. It’s easy to configure and use, and it works every time.
Using the new backup mirroring feature, I wrote to five different backup locations simultaneously. Five seems to be the hard limit for now, but I can’t imagine needing more media failure protection than that.
For this upcoming release of SQL Server, Microsoft has promised a more stable, more reliable, and more robust database. My experience with the Beta 2 features, including more than I’ve mentioned here, prove it to be a very nice showing so far.