Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Installing SQL Server Express 2012 and managing the LocalDB

This article discusses in detail with a number of screen shots the installing of SQL Server Express 2012 with tools (x64) on a Toshiba Satellite P775 Laptop computer (x64 bit). The article goes on to describe how to manage LocalDB using the SQLLOCALDB utility.

You may access this article on 5/11/2012 here:

Note added on 5/14/2012
The article is published..

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), an early adopter of SQL Server 2012 feels good

BNZ tried earlier to get their BI act together with SAS, SAP and even SQL Server 2008 R2 but there were excessive delays in getting BI views from their huge data. With SQL Server 2012 and the PowerView feature, it appears they can now provide 80 Views every week. This is a great thing going for MSFT. Self-service BI feature of SQL Server 2012 removed the dependance on DB staff and
hastened up the whole process.

Read more here from the source of this post

Skype is coming to a browser near you

Microsoft is about to change the way you access Skype, the once PC based program to reach out to your friends and relatives across the lands and oceans will now be on a browser.
Previously you needed to download and install Skype on your PC which became easier and easier as it gained popularity. Then came video; group chat and skype on mobile phone and at around that time it was absorbed by Microsoft. Well, the question on every one's mind was what Microsoft was going to do with skype. Of course one way was to make it a part of its browser software. Now with this new move, you do not need to download and install, it's a part of your browser.
Is it going to beat up Google? Even if it does not, it is going to make it more even interesting to its investors. Microsoft has started seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Hope Nokia picks itself up and make Windows 7 (or 8) phone more and more popular.

I do not own stocks of MSFT but a few of Nokia.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hawaii, Hodentek's New Home

Daybreak at Kahala Beach

After spending some 20 years in the Garden State, Hodentek moved out in October 2010. From October to February it was trying to find a new home. During this time Hodentek was in Bengaluru, India, the great software capital in India.

Finally Hodentek arrived in Hawaii in February 2012 and the last few posts were made from Honolulu, Hawaii.

I hope my readers continue to read my posts and give their valuable feedback.

Jayaram Krishnaswamy

*Photo taken (Samsung Focus) with Windows 7 Phone

Monday, April 16, 2012

Interoperability tools that makes life easier when you use SQL Server 2012

Present day data originates from all kinds of devices from hand held devices to mega data centers and it is not always homogeneous even from a single enterprise. The reality is that more often heterogeneous data from disparate systems needs to be consumed whether it is data from enterprise sites or from cloud based data sources. Interoperability tools make life easier to deal with this multifaceted data.

  • Connectivity to data is the first thing that you need to take care of and in case you are accessing data on SQL Server 2012 from your LINUX box you need a connector and SQL Server 2012 provides the SQL Server ODBC Driver (v1.0) for LINUX. This release provides ODBC to support 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 and tools such as SQLCMD and BCP. You need to download this here.

  • ADO.NET Backward compatibility would be provided by Windows 8 but to have this now and leverage AlwaysON and SQL Server Express LocalDB support you need to apply an update for the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 you pick up from here.

  • Connecting to SQL Servers from Java applications was provided by JDBC Drivers. The Microsoft JDBC Driver 4.0 now provides you with the following:

*Access data on SQL Server and SQL Azure from Java Applications
*Pure Java Implementation of Kerberos Integrated Security
*SQL Server AlwaysOn feature
*Support for SQL Server Parallel Datawarehouse
*Easy access to diagnostic info in extended events log
*Support for UTF-16
*SQL Azure support
Of course you need to download the following here.

Check out my SQL Azure book to find out how Java applications connect to SQL Azure

  • A new SQL Server 2012 Native Client (with tasty acronym-Snac) consisting of a single driver (dll) which combines both a SQL Server OLE DB provider (hey! I thought this was being sent to oblivion) and an ODBC driver to connect to SQL Servers that ships with SQL Server 2012. It supports all the great features such as SQL Server Express 2012 LocalDB, AlwaysOn etc. Download this text file which lists all the features that you can have and the links from where you can get them. SQL Server Native Client 2012 is one of the features which you can install.

  • PHP is another language that enjoys wide popularity and of course Microsoft does not want to leave out this very important language. For PHP applications to work with SQL Servers you need a helper. The Microsoft PHP Driver (version 3.0) provides this important support and you may want to download it from here.

While support for Java and PHP applications were available in earlier versions including SQL Azure, these new versions will be able to support all the new features of SQL Server 2012 discussed earlier like AlwaysOn, SQL Server Express 2012 LocalDB, etc.

If you want to learn everything about connecting securely to SQL Azure you may want to take a look at my book on SQL Azure. If you want to create front end applications with data on different versions of SQL Servers you may want to take a look at my book on Microsoft Lightswitch.

Of course my books on SSRS and SSIS will provide a strong background when you work with Business Intelligence projects with SQL Servers. BI, Interoperability and Cloud is all the rage in coming years!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Microsoft bags Accenture as its first Global Technology Services Provider

This is good news for Microsoft, not that it needs any more cloud respectability than it already has, but it is important for both companies. By this latest agreement, Accenture will become the first global technology services provider for the Azure platform. The agreement also covers Accenture's subsidiary, Avanade. Accenture will be expanding its infrastructure by outsourcing from Microsoft Azure.

In the words of Avanade CEO, "This agreement provides us with the unprecedented ability to deliver a full-range of services and solutions that reinforce the value of Windows Azure as the leading enterprise cloud platform.  With more certified Windows Azure architects than any other Microsoft partner, coupled with our unique insights and innovation and integrated global delivery capabilities, we are able to help organizations quickly migrate to Windows Azure and realize business results faster.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Death of MS SQL OLEDB Provider?

Nothing is written in stone, at least in the products of Microsoft. The hard fact is, it has to align itself with prevailing common sense and reality. This translates to listening to the feedback from the users regarding what is important for them.
Years ago Microsoft crowned OLE DB as the crown prince by overlooking the older sibling, the ODBC. Now all of a sudden OLE DB is out and ODBC is in. What caused this dramatic turnaround? You already know the answer, the Cloud Services. The author of this post among few others lamented the lack of support for OLEDB when SQL Azure surfaced. We believed sometime in the future OLE DB may be supported. But this is not to be. In a recent announcement Microsoft made its policy clear. 

The position of Microsoft vis-a-vis OLE DB and ODBC choice was explained in the forum here in the form of Q & A. Please review the linked reference. It is not that Microsoft was abandoning OLE DB technology as a whole but only abandoning SQL OLEDB Provider beyond DENALI. The most important of the reasons was that OLE DB was proprietary and Cloud Platform could run on any platform and it will be easier to have one standard data access API to work with. Choice of ODBC was therefore a no brainer.

However, there are programs that depend on OLEDB such as distributed queries (Linked Servers), SSIS, SSAS etc. and it appears Microsoft continues to support them. So if you are a Microsoft developer the loss of SQL OLEDB provider may not be that crucial, you may lose some speed as SQL OLEDB was originally touted as the fastest. Perhaps Microsoft programmers will come up with some refinements to make this alignment even appealing for hardcore SQLOLEDB guys by turbo-charging the ODBC.

In my recent download of SQL Server 11, which is the definitive finished version of Denali, I still find the linked servers node with all the OLEDB providers, but the list has certainly become shorter compared to older versions. You know what, I still see the SQL OLEDB Provider but perhaps it will be gone in the next version.

HP dumps SQL Server and picks up MySql

HP seems to be courting Oracle; it's one time bitter foe, by choosing Oracle's MySQL (it's not Oracle's original stuff but was part of Sun Microsystems suite which it acquired in 2010) over SQL Server. This reminds me of the famous quote (I forgot to who it must be attributed) that, "there are no friends, no enemies, but eternal interests".

Why did HP do it? Perhaps MySQL’s adoration by the Open Source developers (it's really poor man's RDBMS compared to MS SQL Server's and may cost a lot less than SQL Server) and by those with smaller budgets. Perhaps, HP wants to motivate the investors to make bets  (see chart below), or perhaps there are more small scale players using Amazon Cloud with MySQL as their backend choice testifying to its popularity with small scale implementations which really do not care for bells and whistles that SQL Servers offers, or perhaps Oracle, Amazon, HP ganging up to beat up Microsoft. In any case, one cannot be sure of one's friends or one's enemies.

However, SQL Server which has a totally integrated BI suite, awesome synchronization capability spanning oceans, and with its excellent security features will not be abandoned by big time players. May be we should revisit the below chart in a year's time.

More of this story here and here.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Windows Azure now spans east to west

Windows Azure originally covered the northwest and the southwest with existing data centers in USA  addition to covering  Europe and Southeast Asia with data centers in Europe and Asia. Now it has announced that it will cover clients in the US East as well. The location of data is not a critical issue in US as they are covered under uniform law as for as governmental access is concerned but it may affect latency for the users. In Europe it appears that each country has it covered by its own law, but a union-wide access may be in place before long.

This new coverage may require one or two data centers in the west. So far Microsoft is keeping mum about their location.

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