No Microsoft BI Conference this year, SQL PASS Summit is the place to be, Call for speakers extended

Microsoft have announced that they won't be running a BI conference as a separate event this year and that they will be supporting the SQL PASS summit as one of their key BI events for the year.

Because of that, PASS has extended the call for speakers (that originally was to close at April 10th), to allow for those that might now want to consider speaking at the summit.

Regardless, this means that the SQL PASS Summit will truly be the place to be for SQL Server and BI professionals this year. I hope to see you there.

Details are at:


SQL Server 2008 SP1 is out: Now another adoption blocker is gone

There seems to be a concept that no-one should install a new version of SQL Server until at least one service pack has been released for it. I've never ascribed to that thinking. I find it amusing that customers who would not install the RTM version of SQL Server 2008 (which was fully regression tested) would happily run SQL Server 2005 SP2 plus about 10 cumulative updates (which weren't).

Most of the issues I've seen with new versions tends to relate to the newer functionality. You do occasionally find exceptions to this but that's also why you need to do reasonable testing on your own applications.

Regardless, that adoption blocker is now gone with the release today of SP1 for SQL Server 2008. You can find it here:

SQL Down Under shows now all "levelated"

Hi Folks,

I mentioned in a blog post a little while ago that we'd installed a copy of Levelator and started working through all the SQL Down Under shows to even out the volume of the speaker's voices. Mai has been working hard with that for some time and tonight I've posted up the last of the shows so they are now all "levelated"!

You'll find them at the "Previous Shows" tab at:




OT: Outlook 2007 Performance/stability improvements

If you are using Outlook 2007, you need to consider installing this fix:

I've had so many frustrations with Outlook 2007 in recent times, mostly performance issues and the dreaded messages about Outlook not having been shut down properly last time it was used. I've also had some serious issues with calendaring, etc.

This update makes a stunning change to the responsiveness and stability of Outlook. If you have any doubt, the hotfix above includes performance improvements that will come in SP2 and are documented here: But the hotfix above is the one to install.

Thank you to Alon Brown and all in the Outlook team for this work!

TechDays Session : April 1st – Virtual

Just got the email back to say I'll be one of the speakers for the worldwide TechDays event that Microsoft have running on April 1st. I'll be delivering my session on Full Text Indexing called "Answering the queries your users really want to ask". Not sure of the time yet but I'm excited to be part of this large virtual event, along with other colleagues: Eladio Rincón and Ken Spencer.

Details are at:


Updated index maintenance tools from Ola Hallengren

A while back I posted about the index maintenance scripts that one of our friends Ola Hallengren had posted. A lot of people have started using these rather than the database maintenance plans that are created in SQL Server Management Studio.

I got an email from him yesterday pointing out that there's a new update for it. Details of the release are here:


release notes here:


and documentation here:


Great work Ola!

SQL Server 2008 Infrastructure Planning and Design Guide

Over the last few months, my colleague Steve Abraham and I have been working with a team at Microsoft who have been creating one of the new IPD (Infrastructure Planning and Design) Guide for SQL Server 2008 as part of the Microsoft Solution Accelerator series. The main author was Melissa Stowe.

Rather than a deep technical guide on how to deploy the product, these guides are targeted at those who are making the decisions about what to deploy and those who are involved in planning deployments, to make sure they don't miss any key decision points.

The guide is now available for download from:

Book: Pro Full Text Search in SQL Server 2008 – Michael Cole, Hilary Cotter

I've been running a number of sessions around the world on the full-text search capabilities in SQL Server 2008. In the sessions I've been delivering, I find three groups of people in the room:

  • People that have never used FTS in any version (most of the room)
  • People that have old pain associated with FTS (some people)
  • People that are using it and wondering what's new in 2008 (almost no-one)

I think there is now a really, really good story to tell. In earlier versions of the product, FTS was a well-kept secret but was painful to manage and was problematic in terms of performance. 

In their new book: Pro Full Text Search in SQL Server 2008, Michael and Hilary do a good job of telling that story. I got to read it while travelling up to Sydney yesterday. It provides very solid coverage of iFTS in SQL Server 2008. The only aspect that I would have liked to see more coverage on was performance. However, the inclusion of a sample iFilter for LaTex was a real plus.

If you have any interest in building applications that your users will love using, you should be looking into iFTS and this book is a great introduction to the topic.


Reports on Reporting Services

In a recent SQL Down Under show with Jessica Moss, we discussed the need for reports on reporting services itself.

Tim Schmidt from Data Aspects pointed out the following set of reports:

He noted that they are installed as part of the SQL Server samples at:

<drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\<version>\Samples\Reporting Services\Report Samples\Server Management Sample Reports

and available from CodePlex. Also, that they aren't pretty 🙂

Thanks for the feedback Tim!