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!

OT: Paddle for Hope

Most that know me well are aware I have an adult daughter with Rett Syndrome. It's a rare condition that pretty much exclusively targets girls.

Recently, I received an email from an old school mate that told me about a project he's involved with. They decided to paddle kayaks from Victoria to Tasmania across the Bass Strait. This is a treacherous section of ocean that often hits the news when boats (or crew members) are lost in the annual Sydney to Hobart race. I cannot believe they attempted this in kayaks.

I'm so proud of Dan (Williams) for doing this and for the funding they have raised for research into Rett Syndrome. Details on their "Paddle for Hope" are here:


Regional Director Program – From Strength to Strength

The RDs (Microsoft Regional Directors) are one of the most amazing groups of people I deal with and I'm honoured and humbled to be a member of the group. There is rare talent amongst the group. Every day, I find myself amazed by both the breadth and depth of knowledge. I also love the off-the-wall humour.

Our lead Kevin Schuler does a great job of looking after our interests and of herding the cats. I was really pleased to receive a global impact award from Kevin today, covering 2008. It looks excellent and I'm pleased to see that it features "The Region". If you haven't looked into "The Region", I'd suggest doing so. I don't have time to read all the blogs by all the Regional Directors. I wish I could read them all but "The Region" is the next best thing. It's a moderated feed of the highest quality posts made by Regional Directors. You'll find the main feed here:

Database Snapshot Performance Whitepaper

Our colleague Ron Talmage is a writing machine! There's another new whitepaper with his name on it along with Sanjay Mishra from Microsoft.

It covers the performance of database snapshots under I/O intensive workloads. You'll find it here:

Great work Ron and Mishra!

Microsoft retail stores soon?

This press pass article

makes it look pretty clear that Microsoft Retail Stores are on the way. David Porter has been appointed to head up this initiative. He's been at DreamWorks for the last year or two but was with Wal-Mart for 25 years prior. That should bring some interesting retail experience into the company.