Galin Iliev's blog

Software Architecture & Development

SQL Server 2008 (aka Katmai) is Released

The newest version of popular database server from Microsoft is released. The list with new features and improvements is very impresive:

     - Transparent Data Encryption (encryption while data is 'still' on disk, transparent to applications)
     - External Key Management (Consolidation of key management, integration with external products)
     - Data Auditing (1st-class 'AUDIT' objects; DDL support; audit objects, principals, data, etc.; support for multiple logging targets)
     - Pluggable CPU support
     - Enhanced Database Mirroring (compression of mirror streams, enhanced performance, automatic page-level repair for principal/mirror)
     - Data compression (easy to enable/disable online, more efficient data storage (this is NOT traditional data compression))
     - Backup stream compression (server level control or backup statement control, all backup types)
     - Performance data collection (single, common framework for data collection, reporting, and storage/warehousing)
     - Improved Plan Guide support (plan freezing, pull plans directly from plan cache, SSMS integration, etc.)
     - Resource Governor (create pools and groups to govern, define classifications based on built-in functions, segment resource utilization amoung groups)
     - Policy-based management framework (manage via policies vs. scripts, enterprise-wide support, automated monitoring/enforcement, etc.)
     - Integrate with Microsoft System Center
     - Extended Events (high perf lightweight tracing infrastructure, NOT sql trace, integrated with ETW, unprecidented insight into goings-on)
Development Enhancements
     - Improved datetime datatypes (100th nanosecond precision (7 digits past second), time-zone datetime offset, date only, time only)
     - HierarchyID datatype (hierarchical-aware data type, ORDPath values, built-in functions, methods, etc.)
     - Entity Data Model support (develop 'business entities' vs. tables, model complex relationships, retrieve entities vs. rows/columns)
     - LINQ
     - Sql Server Change Tracking (Change Data Capture, get 'diff' data changes WITHOUT a comparible value (i.e. datetime, timestamp, etc.))
     - Table Valued Parameters
     - MERGE statement ('upsert' data, also includes deletion functionality)
     - Large UDT's (no more 8000 byte limit on CLR-based UDTs, no more 8000 byte limit for UDA's)
     - Spatial data (GEOMETRY and GEOGRAPHY data types, built-in spatial function support, spatial indexes)
     - XML enhancements (support for lax validation, office 12 support, xs:dateTime support, lists/union types, LET FLOWR support, etc.)
     - Inline initialization and compound assignment
Service Broker
     - New UI and Tools for working with (add/drop/edit functionality within SSMS, Diag tools, )
     - Conversation Priority (set message ordering, send/receive impact, 1-10 levels)
Data Storage
     - Data compression (see above)
     - FILESTREAM attribute (get the 'best of both' functionality from BLOBs in the DB vs. BLOBs on filesystem, no more "to blob or not to blob")
     - Integrated Full Text Search (FTS fully integrated into DB engine, no external storage, no external service, more efficient and reliable costing)
     - Sparse columns (more efficient storage for 'wide' tables with many columns that repeat and don't contain data)
     - New index types (spatial indexes, hierarchical indexes, FILTERED indexes (indexes on filtered values within columns), etc.)
Data Warehousing/ETL
     - Partitioned Table Parallelism (no more thread limit per partition)
     - Star Join support (no special syntax, optimizer based, full backward syntax support)
     - Data compression (see above)
     - Resource Governor (see above)
     - Persistent Lookups in SSIS (no more re-querying for lookup operators, cache lookups in multiple ways, persist lookups to disk)
     - Improved thread scheduling in SSIS (shared thread pool, pipeline parallelism)
     - Change Data Capture (see above)
     - MERGE statement (see above, great uses with slowly changing dimensions)
     - Scale-out analysis services (read-only storage supports multiple AS servers)
     - Subspace computations
     - New Tools for Cube design
     - Best Practice Design Alerting
     - Backup cubes with better scalability
     - Data-mining add-ins for Excel
     - IIS Agnostic Reporting Services Deployment (no IIS required to run RS any longer)
     - Rich-text support
     - Enhanced visualization (graphing)
     - New Word rendering (render reports to Microsoft Word)
     - Many 'old' features ARE REMOVED/GONE (those that have been deprecated for some time - 60/65/70 compat modes, nolog / truncateonly syntax, etc.)

(source SqlStuff blog on MSDN)


See full list by editions at MSDN: Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2008.


Training Materials

Microsoft is put a lot effort to create supporting documentation and training materials that would facilitate adoption of new things. The training materials and blogs. As a trainer I've used some of them I find them very useful:

and of course some videos:

Download locations: