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Book Review: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Pocket Consultant by William R Stanek

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The latest version of Microsoft SQL Server release 2012 was announced in Microsoft’s press release on April 6.  The general availability date for the product is April 2012 onwards.

Some of the new features of this product are AlwaysOn Availability Groups, Contained Databases, Columnstore indexes, Sequence Objects as in Oracle, Distributed Replay and support for HADOOP. Windows Server Core Support (Core is the GUI-less version of Windows that uses DOS and PowerShell for user interaction. It has a much lower footprint, requires fewer patches, and is more secure than the full install. Starting with latest edition, it is supported for SQL Server).

One of the other notable features include columnstore Indexes which is a special type of read-only index designed to be used with Data Warehouse queries. Basically, data is grouped and stored in a flat, compressed column index, greatly reducing I/O and memory utilization on large queries.

The book under review has a section on Windows Powershell for SQL Server Management. There are examples of SQL Server Management Studio as well as powershell scripts. It also gives the method for managing columnstore indexes using SQL Server Management Studio and T-SQL commands.

The text is spread across twelve chapters in four parts covering Essentials, Management and Security, Data Management and Optimization, Maintenance and Recovery respectively. The topics start with basics like managing SQL Servers using SQL Server Management Studio or the SQL Server Powershell and reach Backup and Recovery,Profiling and Monitoring. 

One of the interesting topics discussed is about using the profiler to solve performance problems. A combination of the Performance Monitor and SQL Server Profiler to collect performance data at the same time that trace is collected and played back gives the exact correlation between performance parameter and activity traced in the database.

Being more of a pocket guide, there is less coverage of the topics in depth so that the reader may be left wanting for other references and documentation. List of troubleshooting scenarios will definitely require a different kind of approach skipped in this book. Recommended only for novice administrators.

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