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📄 Contents

  1. SQL Server Reference Guide
  2. Introduction
  3. SQL Server Reference Guide Overview
  4. Table of Contents
  5. Microsoft SQL Server Defined
  6. SQL Server Editions
  7. SQL Server Access
  8. Informit Articles and Sample Chapters
  9. Online Resources
  10. Microsoft SQL Server Features
  11. SQL Server Books Online
  12. Clustering Services
  13. Data Transformation Services (DTS) Overview
  14. Replication Services
  15. Database Mirroring
  16. Natural Language Processing (NLP)
  17. Analysis Services
  18. Microsot SQL Server Reporting Services
  19. XML Overview
  20. Notification Services for the DBA
  21. Full-Text Search
  22. SQL Server 2005 - Service Broker
  23. Using SQL Server as a Web Service
  24. SQL Server Encryption Options Overview
  25. SQL Server 2008 Overview
  26. SQL Server 2008 R2 Overview
  27. SQL Azure
  28. The Utility Control Point and Data Application Component, Part 1
  29. The Utility Control Point and Data Application Component, Part 2
  30. Microsoft SQL Server Administration
  31. The DBA Survival Guide: The 10 Minute SQL Server Overview
  32. Preparing (or Tuning) a Windows System for SQL Server, Part 1
  33. Preparing (or Tuning) a Windows System for SQL Server, Part 2
  34. Installing SQL Server
  35. Upgrading SQL Server
  36. SQL Server 2000 Management Tools
  37. SQL Server 2005 Management Tools
  38. SQL Server 2008 Management Tools
  39. SQL Azure Tools
  40. Automating Tasks with SQL Server Agent
  41. Run Operating System Commands in SQL Agent using PowerShell
  42. Automating Tasks Without SQL Server Agent
  43. Storage – SQL Server I/O
  44. Service Packs, Hotfixes and Cumulative Upgrades
  45. Tracking SQL Server Information with Error and Event Logs
  46. Change Management
  47. SQL Server Metadata, Part One
  48. SQL Server Meta-Data, Part Two
  49. Monitoring - SQL Server 2005 Dynamic Views and Functions
  50. Monitoring - Performance Monitor
  51. Unattended Performance Monitoring for SQL Server
  52. Monitoring - User-Defined Performance Counters
  53. Monitoring: SQL Server Activity Monitor
  54. SQL Server Instances
  55. DBCC Commands
  56. SQL Server and Mail
  57. Database Maintenance Checklist
  58. The Maintenance Wizard: SQL Server 2000 and Earlier
  59. The Maintenance Wizard: SQL Server 2005 (SP2) and Later
  60. The Web Assistant Wizard
  61. Creating Web Pages from SQL Server
  62. SQL Server Security
  63. Securing the SQL Server Platform, Part 1
  64. Securing the SQL Server Platform, Part 2
  65. SQL Server Security: Users and other Principals
  66. SQL Server Security – Roles
  67. SQL Server Security: Objects (Securables)
  68. Security: Using the Command Line
  69. SQL Server Security - Encrypting Connections
  70. SQL Server Security: Encrypting Data
  71. SQL Server Security Audit
  72. High Availability - SQL Server Clustering
  73. SQL Server Configuration, Part 1
  74. SQL Server Configuration, Part 2
  75. Database Configuration Options
  76. 32- vs 64-bit Computing for SQL Server
  77. SQL Server and Memory
  78. Performance Tuning: Introduction to Indexes
  79. Statistical Indexes
  80. Backup and Recovery
  81. Backup and Recovery Examples, Part One
  82. Backup and Recovery Examples, Part Two: Transferring Databases to Another System (Even Without Backups)
  83. SQL Profiler - Reverse Engineering An Application
  84. SQL Trace
  85. SQL Server Alerts
  86. Files and Filegroups
  87. Partitioning
  88. Full-Text Indexes
  89. Read-Only Data
  90. SQL Server Locks
  91. Monitoring Locking and Deadlocking
  92. Controlling Locks in SQL Server
  93. SQL Server Policy-Based Management, Part One
  94. SQL Server Policy-Based Management, Part Two
  95. SQL Server Policy-Based Management, Part Three
  96. Microsoft SQL Server Programming
  97. An Outline for Development
  98. Database
  99. Database Services
  100. Database Objects: Databases
  101. Database Objects: Tables
  102. Database Objects: Table Relationships
  103. Database Objects: Keys
  104. Database Objects: Constraints
  105. Database Objects: Data Types
  106. Database Objects: Views
  107. Database Objects: Stored Procedures
  108. Database Objects: Indexes
  109. Database Objects: User Defined Functions
  110. Database Objects: Triggers
  111. Database Design: Requirements, Entities, and Attributes
  112. Business Process Model Notation (BPMN) and the Data Professional
  113. Business Questions for Database Design, Part One
  114. Business Questions for Database Design, Part Two
  115. Database Design: Finalizing Requirements and Defining Relationships
  116. Database Design: Creating an Entity Relationship Diagram
  117. Database Design: The Logical ERD
  118. Database Design: Adjusting The Model
  119. Database Design: Normalizing the Model
  120. Creating The Physical Model
  121. Database Design: Changing Attributes to Columns
  122. Database Design: Creating The Physical Database
  123. Database Design Example: Curriculum Vitae
  124. NULLs
  125. The SQL Server Sample Databases
  126. The SQL Server Sample Databases: pubs
  127. The SQL Server Sample Databases: NorthWind
  128. The SQL Server Sample Databases: AdventureWorks
  129. The SQL Server Sample Databases: Adventureworks Derivatives
  130. UniversalDB: The Demo and Testing Database, Part 1
  131. UniversalDB: The Demo and Testing Database, Part 2
  132. UniversalDB: The Demo and Testing Database, Part 3
  133. UniversalDB: The Demo and Testing Database, Part 4
  134. Getting Started with Transact-SQL
  135. Transact-SQL: Data Definition Language (DDL) Basics
  136. Transact-SQL: Limiting Results
  137. Transact-SQL: More Operators
  138. Transact-SQL: Ordering and Aggregating Data
  139. Transact-SQL: Subqueries
  140. Transact-SQL: Joins
  141. Transact-SQL: Complex Joins - Building a View with Multiple JOINs
  142. Transact-SQL: Inserts, Updates, and Deletes
  143. An Introduction to the CLR in SQL Server 2005
  144. Design Elements Part 1: Programming Flow Overview, Code Format and Commenting your Code
  145. Design Elements Part 2: Controlling SQL's Scope
  146. Design Elements Part 3: Error Handling
  147. Design Elements Part 4: Variables
  148. Design Elements Part 5: Where Does The Code Live?
  149. Design Elements Part 6: Math Operators and Functions
  150. Design Elements Part 7: Statistical Functions
  151. Design Elements Part 8: Summarization Statistical Algorithms
  152. Design Elements Part 9:Representing Data with Statistical Algorithms
  153. Design Elements Part 10: Interpreting the Data—Regression
  154. Design Elements Part 11: String Manipulation
  155. Design Elements Part 12: Loops
  156. Design Elements Part 13: Recursion
  157. Design Elements Part 14: Arrays
  158. Design Elements Part 15: Event-Driven Programming Vs. Scheduled Processes
  159. Design Elements Part 16: Event-Driven Programming
  160. Design Elements Part 17: Program Flow
  161. Forming Queries Part 1: Design
  162. Forming Queries Part 2: Query Basics
  163. Forming Queries Part 3: Query Optimization
  164. Forming Queries Part 4: SET Options
  165. Forming Queries Part 5: Table Optimization Hints
  166. Using SQL Server Templates
  167. Transact-SQL Unit Testing
  168. Index Tuning Wizard
  169. Unicode and SQL Server
  170. SQL Server Development Tools
  171. The SQL Server Transact-SQL Debugger
  172. The Transact-SQL Debugger, Part 2
  173. Basic Troubleshooting for Transact-SQL Code
  174. An Introduction to Spatial Data in SQL Server 2008
  175. Performance Tuning
  176. Performance Tuning SQL Server: Tools and Processes
  177. Performance Tuning SQL Server: Tools Overview
  178. Creating a Performance Tuning Audit - Defining Components
  179. Creating a Performance Tuning Audit - Evaluation Part One
  180. Creating a Performance Tuning Audit - Evaluation Part Two
  181. Creating a Performance Tuning Audit - Interpretation
  182. Creating a Performance Tuning Audit - Developing an Action Plan
  183. Understanding SQL Server Query Plans
  184. Performance Tuning: Implementing Indexes
  185. Performance Monitoring Tools: Windows 2008 (and Higher) Server Utilities, Part 1
  186. Performance Monitoring Tools: Windows 2008 (and Higher) Server Utilities, Part 2
  187. Performance Monitoring Tools: Windows System Monitor
  188. Performance Monitoring Tools: Logging with System Monitor
  189. Performance Monitoring Tools: User Defined Counters
  190. General Transact-SQL (T-SQL) Performance Tuning, Part 1
  191. General Transact-SQL (T-SQL) Performance Tuning, Part 2
  192. General Transact-SQL (T-SQL) Performance Tuning, Part 3
  193. Performance Monitoring Tools: An Introduction to SQL Profiler
  194. Performance Tuning: Introduction to Indexes
  195. Performance Monitoring Tools: SQL Server 2000 Index Tuning Wizard
  196. Performance Monitoring Tools: SQL Server 2005 Database Tuning Advisor
  197. Performance Monitoring Tools: SQL Server Management Studio Reports
  198. Performance Monitoring Tools: SQL Server 2008 Activity Monitor
  199. The SQL Server 2008 Management Data Warehouse and Data Collector
  200. Performance Monitoring Tools: Evaluating Wait States with PowerShell and Excel
  201. Practical Applications
  202. Choosing the Back End
  203. The DBA's Toolbox, Part 1
  204. The DBA's Toolbox, Part 2
  205. Scripting Solutions for SQL Server
  206. Building a SQL Server Lab
  207. Using Graphics Files with SQL Server
  208. Enterprise Resource Planning
  209. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  210. Building a Reporting Data Server
  211. Building a Database Documenter, Part 1
  212. Building a Database Documenter, Part 2
  213. Data Management Objects
  214. Data Management Objects: The Server Object
  215. Data Management Objects: Server Object Methods
  216. Data Management Objects: Collections and the Database Object
  217. Data Management Objects: Database Information
  218. Data Management Objects: Database Control
  219. Data Management Objects: Database Maintenance
  220. Data Management Objects: Logging the Process
  221. Data Management Objects: Running SQL Statements
  222. Data Management Objects: Multiple Row Returns
  223. Data Management Objects: Other Database Objects
  224. Data Management Objects: Security
  225. Data Management Objects: Scripting
  226. Powershell and SQL Server - Overview
  227. PowerShell and SQL Server - Objects and Providers
  228. Powershell and SQL Server - A Script Framework
  229. Powershell and SQL Server - Logging the Process
  230. Powershell and SQL Server - Reading a Control File
  231. Powershell and SQL Server - SQL Server Access
  232. Powershell and SQL Server - Web Pages from a SQL Query
  233. Powershell and SQL Server - Scrubbing the Event Logs
  234. SQL Server 2008 PowerShell Provider
  235. SQL Server I/O: Importing and Exporting Data
  236. SQL Server I/O: XML in Database Terms
  237. SQL Server I/O: Creating XML Output
  238. SQL Server I/O: Reading XML Documents
  239. SQL Server I/O: Using XML Control Mechanisms
  240. SQL Server I/O: Creating Hierarchies
  241. SQL Server I/O: Using HTTP with SQL Server XML
  242. SQL Server I/O: Using HTTP with SQL Server XML Templates
  243. SQL Server I/O: Remote Queries
  244. SQL Server I/O: Working with Text Files
  245. Using Microsoft SQL Server on Handheld Devices
  246. Front-Ends 101: Microsoft Access
  247. Comparing Two SQL Server Databases
  248. English Query - Part 1
  249. English Query - Part 2
  250. English Query - Part 3
  251. English Query - Part 4
  252. English Query - Part 5
  253. RSS Feeds from SQL Server
  254. Using SQL Server Agent to Monitor Backups
  255. Reporting Services - Creating a Maintenance Report
  256. SQL Server Chargeback Strategies, Part 1
  257. SQL Server Chargeback Strategies, Part 2
  258. SQL Server Replication Example
  259. Creating a Master Agent and Alert Server
  260. The SQL Server Central Management System: Definition
  261. The SQL Server Central Management System: Base Tables
  262. The SQL Server Central Management System: Execution of Server Information (Part 1)
  263. The SQL Server Central Management System: Execution of Server Information (Part 2)
  264. The SQL Server Central Management System: Collecting Performance Metrics
  265. The SQL Server Central Management System: Centralizing Agent Jobs, Events and Scripts
  266. The SQL Server Central Management System: Reporting the Data and Project Summary
  267. Time Tracking for SQL Server Operations
  268. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server
  269. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server: Model the System
  270. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server: Model the System, Continued
  271. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server: Decide on the Destination
  272. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server: Design the ETL
  273. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server: Design the ETL, Continued
  274. Migrating Departmental Data Stores to SQL Server: Attach the Front End, Test, and Monitor
  275. Tracking SQL Server Timed Events, Part 1
  276. Tracking SQL Server Timed Events, Part 2
  277. Patterns and Practices for the Data Professional
  278. Managing Vendor Databases
  279. Consolidation Options
  280. Connecting to a SQL Azure Database from Microsoft Access
  281. SharePoint 2007 and SQL Server, Part One
  282. SharePoint 2007 and SQL Server, Part Two
  283. SharePoint 2007 and SQL Server, Part Three
  284. Querying Multiple Data Sources from a Single Location (Distributed Queries)
  285. Importing and Exporting Data for SQL Azure
  286. Working on Distributed Teams
  287. Professional Development
  288. Becoming a DBA
  289. Certification
  290. DBA Levels
  291. Becoming a Data Professional
  292. SQL Server Professional Development Plan, Part 1
  293. SQL Server Professional Development Plan, Part 2
  294. SQL Server Professional Development Plan, Part 3
  295. Evaluating Technical Options
  296. System Sizing
  297. Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan
  298. Anatomy of a Disaster (Response Plan)
  299. Database Troubleshooting
  300. Conducting an Effective Code Review
  301. Developing an Exit Strategy
  302. Data Retention Strategy
  303. Keeping Your DBA/Developer Job in Troubled Times
  304. The SQL Server Runbook
  305. Creating and Maintaining a SQL Server Configuration History, Part 1
  306. Creating and Maintaining a SQL Server Configuration History, Part 2
  307. Creating an Application Profile, Part 1
  308. Creating an Application Profile, Part 2
  309. How to Attend a Technical Conference
  310. Tips for Maximizing Your IT Budget This Year
  311. The Importance of Blue-Sky Planning
  312. Application Architecture Assessments
  313. Transact-SQL Code Reviews, Part One
  314. Transact-SQL Code Reviews, Part Two
  315. Cloud Computing (Distributed Computing) Paradigms
  316. NoSQL for the SQL Server Professional, Part One
  317. NoSQL for the SQL Server Professional, Part Two
  318. Object-Role Modeling (ORM) for the Database Professional
  319. Business Intelligence
  320. BI Explained
  321. Developing a Data Dictionary
  322. BI Security
  323. Gathering BI Requirements
  324. Source System Extracts and Transforms
  325. ETL Mechanisms
  326. Business Intelligence Landscapes
  327. Business Intelligence Layouts and the Build or Buy Decision
  328. A Single Version of the Truth
  329. The Operational Data Store (ODS)
  330. Data Marts – Combining and Transforming Data
  331. Designing Data Elements
  332. The Enterprise Data Warehouse — Aggregations and the Star Schema
  333. On-Line Analytical Processing (OLAP)
  334. Data Mining
  335. Key Performance Indicators
  336. BI Presentation - Client Tools
  337. BI Presentation - Portals
  338. Implementing ETL - Introduction to SQL Server 2005 Integration Services
  339. Building a Business Intelligence Solution, Part 1
  340. Building a Business Intelligence Solution, Part 2
  341. Building a Business Intelligence Solution, Part 3
  342. Tips and Troubleshooting
  343. SQL Server and Microsoft Excel Integration
  344. Tips for the SQL Server Tools: SQL Server 2000
  345. Tips for the SQL Server Tools – SQL Server 2005
  346. Transaction Log Troubles
  347. SQL Server Connection Problems
  348. Orphaned Database Users
  349. Additional Resources
  350. Tools and Downloads
  351. Utilities (Free)
  352. Tool Review (Free): DBDesignerFork
  353. Aqua Data Studio
  354. Microsoft SQL Server Best Practices Analyzer
  355. Utilities (Cost)
  356. Quest Software's TOAD for SQL Server
  357. Quest Software's Spotlight on SQL Server
  358. SQL Server on Microsoft's Virtual PC
  359. Red Gate SQL Bundle
  360. Microsoft's Visio for Database Folks
  361. Quest Capacity Manager
  362. SQL Server Help
  363. Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals
  364. Microsoft Assessment and Planning Solution Accelerator
  365. Aggregating Server Data from the MAPS Tool
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When I served in the United States Air Force, computerized records were just coming into wide use. We still had a lot of paperwork that we had to originate, track and maintain. One of the primary issues we ran into was how to determine when a document no longer had any value. Some records, such as daily memos or reports, were only valid for a short period of time. Other data records, such as medical histories or large purchases, were kept far longer. Whenever I created a document, I had to include a "disposition." This stamp on the document determined how long the record was to be retained, and when and how it would be destroyed.

When data is stored on a single piece of paper, it is easier to track, handle and dispose of. With the advent of computers, things are handled much differently. Anyone can create a record and store it in multiple locations. Data isn't stored in a single kind of document, but in word-processing formats, spreadsheets, and of course, databases. And most of the data we now store isn't stamped with any kind of data retention.

In fact, I'm willing to bet that you have a lot of structured and unstructured data in your organization that fits this description. We tend to think of computer-based data as inexpensive and permanent. But as recent high-profile cases of data loss have show us, that isn't the case. Data management isn't free, and losing it or having it fall into the wrong hands is now commonplace. While the IT infrastructure is focused to make it efficient to create and store data, it spends less effort protecting that data, and even less thinking about its disposition. In this tutorial, I'll explain some concepts you can use to think about your data differently.

There are many reasons to develop a data strategy, not the least of which are the multiple regulatory implications mandated in almost every country. In the United States for instance, Sarbanes-Oxley laws dictate financial record retention, and HIPAA regulations determine medical data retention. Europe's laws are even more stringent than in the U.S.

Although I'll talk generally about data retention, there are good reasons for the database staff to take the lead on this kind of effort. The database systems often hold the most important data in an organization's store, and it can be designed to hold other data types such as text or binary formats.

The Data Lifecycle

Whether it is a Microsoft Word document or an entry in a database table, most data goes through four basic processes: creation, distribution, editing, and destruction.

In the creation phase, the user originates the data and stores it on a networked share point or locally on a single device, or perhaps in a database. Once the data is created, it is distributed to one or more people. In some cases this is a "push" operation, where the data is sent using a mechanism such as e-mail, and in other cases the data is "pulled," in which case it is retrieved from a website or mount point. In the editing phase, either the original owner or others make changes to the data. At some point in time, the data is either inadvertently or purposefully deleted. It is this last step that I want to focus on. Using the following information, you can help your organization develop a strategy

Data Evaluation and Categorization

The first thing you need to consider is the type of data that you store. This will help you create the categories of data you have. Many companies have never performed this exercise, so expect that there will be a great deal of confusion and denial as you begin. If your company is like most others, this is the most difficult part of creating your strategy.

The categories you choose can fall into structural or type, like "Word Files," "Excel Data" or "SAP records," or by use, such as "Financial Data," "Personnel Records" and so forth. My recommendation is to create a database with both terms, as I'll describe a bit later.

You'll find that the easiest data to locate and categorize is in the database systems used in your largest applications. Since IT controls these resources, you can easily locate and identify it. You've probably already done that as part of your disaster recovery strategy. The more difficult tasks involve the unstructured data your company at least partially runs on. Most of the company's data isn't in databases; it’s in Word documents and Excel spreadsheets. That doesn't mean that it isn't important — on the contrary, it's at least as important as the data in your databases. Finding it and categorizing it is another matter.

Format Determination

You might think that if the data is in a database, it's safer than in a file share or on a user's hard drive. While that is probably true in the short and even middle-term, it isn't true in a longer period of time. If you doubt that, think about restoring a SQL Server 4.2 database from a series of 5.25 floppies. As a case in point, the news recently reported that NASA is having issues locating and recovering several sets of key records from the first moon landing.

Once you locate and categorize your data, you need to think about its format. If the data is spread out over your organization in various formats, will those formats be readable in the distant future? You need to think at least ten years out. You may want to consider extracting the data into a more "universal" format, such as ASCII. This involves a lot of effort, and not all data requires this level of work. Only the longest-term categories fit the bill.

You may also want to consolidate the data into a single platform. Rather than storing documents on file shares and web sites, you can feed them into a database. In fact, many portals that provide a single view to the organization do just that. However, if you do store files in the database, make sure that you track what format the file is. It doesn't help to consolidate your Wordstar files into a database if you don't have a way to read them out later.

Metadata Creation

It's tough to adequately categorize your data using only one criteria. For instance, a Word document might contain both financial and medical information. Your database records also have multiple applications. You can track all these attributes using a database, and create an interface your business users can enter the locations of data, its disposition, and all the other metadata needed to surface the data to the business.

Hierarchical Storage and Review

Most large firms subject to long-term regulations for data retention "stage" the data into systems that present the data based on how it is accessed. Data that is used often requires expensive, current technology. Data that is used less frequently can be placed on storage mechanisms that are slower and less expensive. Data that is retained for regulatory reasons can be placed on storage that not subject to change, located remotely from the organization.

As you develop your strategy, don't forget the final step: disposal. As a data professional, you should guide your organization to protect the data you store, and that means keeping it only as long as necessary and destroying it completely when it isn't needed.

The metadata repository you created in the last step enables you to periodically review your data to ensure you have the right storage strategy. This is a process that you need to undertake with business users to surface any concerns they have.

Each one of these points has mechanical and procedural aspects. Each is also interdependent. If you don't categorize your data, you won't know where it is or how long to keep it. If you don't have a database to store the metadata, you won't be able to track it, putting you back where you started. If you don't have the formats defined, you won't be able to get to the data when you need to, and without the proper review you're wasting a lot of effort.

Informit Articles and Sample Chapters

David Gulbransen has a great article that covers this same topic.

Online Resources

TDAN has a great rundown on some of the regulatory issues for data here in the U.S.

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