Lewis puts a couple of other items in the plus column, too. After a bad bout with the Slammer worm last year, Townsend particularly appreciates certain security enhancements in SQL 2005.
"The most useful change is that the defaults come out of the box 'off.' There are many privileges and other abilities that can be given, but nothing's done by default. It all has to be added and controlled by the administrator," she says.
As another type of security enhancement in 2005, Lewis cites the newly added separation between user and schema. "Removing the link between users and database objects is something (that Microsoft) should have done long ago."
Microsoft's also done lots of work on VLDBs, the beta tester says. "VLDB manageability has been strengthened, and the query performance within a partitioned table is exceptional." Townsend expects to use partitioned tables in places where it now uses partitioned views.
Beyond testing SQL 2005 itself, Townsend Analytics has also chimed in on the best tests of Microsoft's Best Practices Analyzer (BPA) and SQL Reporting Services tools.
"I'm relatively impressed with the Best Practices tool. It's shown us that we're standing in very good shape, although we could do better with stored procedure recompiling and that sort of thing. We can use this tool internally to our own tech support, as well as externally," according to the systems director.
At this point, though, Lewis is less impressed with SQL Reporting. "We're still rolling our own database reporting tools right now. Over time, I expect that to change," she predicts. However, the change isn't likely to happen until Microsoft adds automated and customizable reporting. "These things are very important to us," she observes.