Sunday, February 21, 2010

First service update for SQL Azure Database is live.

Photo credit: Jakob Montrasio

The first Service update for SQL Azure is live. This update is coming 2 weeks after the general availability of SQL Azure. It contains some bug fixes but more important it contains some new features based on the feedback they got. I'm happy to see that the SQL Azure team is looking seriously to the provided feedback. In my previous blog: "My first experiences with SQL Azure, the SQL Server database in the cloud" I talked about my experience with SQL Azure. Some things for improvement are already implementend in the first service update for SQL Azure like:
  • First dynamic views to monitor the health of a database, diagnose problems, and tune performance. It is not complete but the start is made.
  • Ability to move between editions. You can now upgrade your database fro 1 Gb to 10 Gb. 10 Gb is still the maximum size, but I think this is a matter of time.
  • The idle connection timeout is increased from 5 to 30 minutes. This is much better.
  • Improved algorithm for terminating long running transactions. Import and export of larger date is possible with having to break down you data in smaller chunks.

All details about this first service update of SQL Azure can be read here.

The first service update within 2 weeks, is a really good start. I hope that the SQL Azure team can keep on delivering this kind of service updates with this speed. I can't wait for the second service update.
Enjoy it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Is SQL Server coming in a yearly release cycle

As mentioned in my earlier post, SQL Server 2008 R2 will come commercial available in May 2010. It looks like every new SQL server release is coming sooner and sooner.
We have had SQL 2000,
5 years later SQL 2005,
3 years later SQL 2008,
2 years later SQL 2008 R2 and now it looks like
1 year later SQL 2011 codename 'Denali'.

On the Microsoft Blog MSDN site of SQL Server Releases an overview is giving of the different SQL Server related dates. The support for SQL 2005 will enter into extended support on 13 april 2011. Based on this date and the Microsoft Support Lifecycle policy, I expect that there is a big chance that the new SQL server version is planned for commercial release around this date. Microsoft is starting a new trend to come with new releases much earlier as in the past. See for instance the rumors about Windows 8.

Will this become a new trend in the release cycles of Microsoft?  Let see what will happen in the coming years.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SQL Server client API's with SQL Azure version 1

Today I found a really nice document of Steve Hale that describes some of the issues a developer should be aware of when writing ODBC, ADO.NET SQL Client, BCP and PHP code that connects to SQL Azure. It talks about:
  1. Supported components
  2. How to connect to SQL Azure
  3. Creating and Connecting to a Database
  4. Creating tables.
  5. Unsupported features.
  6. Deprecated functionality
  7. Connection behaviour
  8. Latency
Enjoy reading this article

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Compressed (zipped) Folder is invalid or corrupted.

Today, somebody in my company reported an issue with opening a ZIP file which he downloaded from an FTP site.  He got the error: The Compressed (zipped) Folder is invalid or corrupted.

The ZIP file was created by me a few days ago and uploaded to the FTP site. The ZIP file is downloaded and extracted a lot during these days by different people. So why is it not possible to extract the ZIP file on his Windows XP computer? Even when I downloaded the ZIP file on his computer and copied it to my pc, I could open the ZIP file without any error. This confirms that the ZIP was not corrupt. However we were unable to open the file on his PC. The ZIP file was created on my PC with the 64 bits version of Windows 7. The PC on which we could not extract the ZIP, is an 32 bits version of Windows XP.

Solution: Ask the creator of the ZIP file to recreate the ZIP file by sending the files to a compressed (zipped) folder on a 32 bits version of Windows 7.

Now the compressed file can be opened on a 32 bits Windows XP version.

Happy, unzipping your ZIP files.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Receive an improvement report of your SQL configuration and Exact databases.

In 2009, we start building the Exact System Informtion (ESI) Tool. This tool serves both Exact and the customers: Exact gets clear insight in how customers use our software and customers get targetted and personal advice on their use of our software. I'm happy to see that a lot of our customers have used the ESI tool. As of today the Exact System Information tool is extended with an option to receive an improvement report per e-mail.

If you specified your e-mail address and press on the Start Analysis button, the Exact System Information will analyze your SQL Server and Exact databases. When the analysis is completed you will receive within 10 minutes the improvement report. The report is divided in 2 sections:
  1. Server improvements. Server improvements are related to your SQL server configurations like:
    Have you installed the latest Service packs?
    Possible changes in your SQL Server configuration to make use of all available memory.
  2. Database improvements. Database improvements are related to the database itself like: 
    Available product updates.
    Clean up of historical journal records.
    Clean up voided entry records.
    Determine not configured  background jobs.
    Clean up of temporary tables.
    Big SQL log file in comparison to the SQL data file.

If you're already using the Exact System Information tool, it will update itself when you start it again.
Enjoy using the Exact System Information tool. If you have suggestions for improvements please let me know.

Additional information about the Exact System Information tool: