Page Three

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-04-18 Print this article Print

Somasegar and Flessner both said security issues slowed delivery schedules. "We shut down for six months to do [SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3]," Flessner said. "It flat-out had to be done; you have to protect your assets in the market. We got hit with Slammer, and it shook this building, period. It was an awakening."

Flessner added that his team knew integrating the CLR would take time, but, he said, "we werent planning from the outset to rewrite our entire developer studio for BI [business intelligence] and the whole SQL Server management console and integrate it into Visual Studio."

James Holt, chief technology officer of Townsend Analytics Ltd., in Chicago, a Microsoft customer and an early adopter of both Yukon and Whidbey, was in Microsofts customer lab running tests earlier this month. Holt said Townsend has been using a file-based system to store data for a key application but wants to move to a relational database such as Yukon for reliability.

"To make full use of SQL Server 2005, we need a corresponding development environment," said Holt. "Its seamless, especially when I wrote some custom integration services pipeline code. It was pretty easy to deploy."

Holt also said SQL Server 2005 ran 20 percent faster than SQL Server 2000 in his tests.

"The CLR is a good thing to add to SQL Server. It will allow us to replace all of our current extended stored procedures written in VB, etc., with C#/VB.Net," said Stephen Forte, CTO of Corzen Inc., of New York. "Things that are very hard to do, like a sophisticated find and replace at the column level, can now utilize a RegEx pattern and the RegEx class from the .Net Framework."

That said, "CLR stored procedures should be used sparingly," Forte added. "Microsoft unleashes a lot of power with the CLR, if used properly. If not, it can slow things down."

Meanwhile, Microsoft runs its own business on SQL Server and develops its new applications using Visual Studio 2005, said Ron Markezich, the companys CIO. "What the products are enabling us to do is really move to a service-oriented architecture away from what weve traditionally had, which is really a batch architecture," Markezich said. "Batched data doesnt do much [good] in terms of consolidating applications and ensuring compliance."

Click here to read eWEEKs interview with Ron Markezich. Initially there was some concern about how DBAs (database administrators) might take the move to make core application developers responsible for building and deploying databases via the CLR, but those concerns have diminished, Flessner said.

David Campbell, general manager for SQL Server, said Microsofts approach actually could ease tensions between developers and DBAs as DBAs "get over the hump" of the new technology. "This lets the developer, the Visual Studio customer, do some of their own work in the database in a natural way for them," Campbell said.

Craig Symonds, general manager for Visual Studio, pointed out that in the SMB (small and midsize business) market, the DBA and developer are often the same person.

"The benefit is that developers can use the language of their choice that is more powerful and more elegant than T-SQL to write business logic," said Mike Sax, president of Sax Software Inc., of Eugene, Ore. But, Sax asked, "what does it mean for DBAs? War. Invasion of territory. Feelings of insecurity and loss of control."

Rizzo said that he expects the next cycle for SQL Server to be much quicker than the Yukon cycle.

Meanwhile, Hamilton said Microsoft has worked hard and spent lots of time and money hardening the SQL Server 2005 platform since the company shipped SQL Server 2000 Service Pack 3 two years ago. Last October, Microsoft put together a SQL Server attack team responsible for doing "ethical cracking," or breaking into the companys systems with its permission. "We wanted a team that knows more about what the bad guys are doing than anyone else in the community," Hamilton said. "These are some of the scary people you hear about, and we hired them."

Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis in programming environments and developer tools.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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