SQLAuthority News – Book Review – Microsoft(R) SQL Server 2005 Unleashed (Paperback)

SQLAuthority.com Book Review :

Microsoft(R) SQL Server 2005 Unleashed (Paperback)

by Ray Rankins, Paul Bertucci, Chris Gallelli, Alex T. Silverstein

Link to book on Amazon

Short Review :

SQL Server 2005 Unleashed is focused on Database Administration and day-to-day administrative management aspects of SQL Server. All the chapters of this book are heavily based on Book On-line (BOL) and it continue discussing the topics, where BOL leaves off. This makes this book a good reference for those who are looking for additional information, tricks & tips, and behind the scene details. I recommend this book as a wonderful read and hands-on guide for quick reference for Database Administrators.

Detail Review :

Every database book is either for Database Administrators or Database Developers/Architecture. This book covers many details about Database Administration in depth, however there is enough information for Database Developer to satisfy their expectation. This book is more than just a syntax reference, as it continues the topic where Book On-line leaves off. This book provides a behind-the-scenes look into SQL Server, this is very important for experienced DBA. Many DBA does the same job everyday to maintain the SQL Server in optimal condition, there are many task which can be automated to save time and make Database Administration easier. The book covers various methods automatic the routine task of database backup, recovery, database maintenance tasks etc.

There are few new features introduced in SQL Server 2005. This book successfully covers almost all of them. I have been using SQL Server 2005 for almost two years and SQL Server for more than 5 years, I found this book interesting and informative.The chapter about SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) (replacement of SQL Server 2000 Query Analyzer, Enterprise Manager and Analysis Manager) is quite accurate for those who wants to learn from beginning and it is must read. This book provides very good introduction to SQL Server Business Intelligence (BI) features – Analysis Services, Integration Services, Reporting Services. Backup are most vital responsibility of DBA, which is in depth covered in this book. Managing maintenance plans, backup strategies, backup methods, snapshot backup (new 2005 feature), Mirrored database for backup are highly relevant to backup process.

Authors have done good job keeping each chapter independent. I find it always easy to read when I do not have to jump pages in book to refer the examples of other chapters. Each chapter contains lots of figures about topic which authors are discussing. Occasionally, I felt that I am reading the BOL documentation due to nature of few of the topics. As per my opinion, it is unavoidable to stay away from BOL when writing about SQL Server. Authors have done their best to avoid duplication of the code and have pointed few times to BOL to refer advanced syntax, while they continued discussing about additional information and tricks extending BOL.

Lots of figures and lots of syntax makes this book larger than few other an average book – 1752 pages and 5 lbs. Due to this reasons few additional chapters are included on accompanied CD. Do not forget to go over the CD, as it contains few interesting chapters – Transact-SQL Programming Guidelines, Tips, and Tricks, and SQL Server Full-Text Search. The index of book includes the chapters on the CD as well. I wish that all the chapters in CD were in book, just to have everything at one place. Few chapters in this book are very simple and placed on CD instead of the important and informative chapters, which are on CD currently.

Authors have explained T-SQL concept along with tips which makes this book interesting read. Some of the tips may be well known but still must read to understand the T-SQL completely.

Example : CHECK constraints allow insertions and updates to the table to proceed when the CHECK constraint expression does not evaluate to FALSE. A NULL value is considered to be unknown an does not evaluate to FALSE.

Book’s inclination towards database administration sometimes makes the T-SQL tips interesting to read.

Example : The REORGANIZE operation can generate a large number of transactions during its execution. Another reason for disabling a non-clustered index is to reduce the space requirements when rebuilding the index.

Chapters of this books can be read independent to each other. If you want to read it in order, I recommend following order to read them.

Recommend Order :

Part I Welcome to Microsoft SQL Server

Part III SQL Server Administration

Part II SQL Server Tools and Utilities

Part IV Database Administration

Part VI SQL Server Application Development

Part V SQL Server Performance and Optimization

Part VII SQL Server Business Intelligence Features

Bonus Chapters on the CD

Pros :

In depth coverage of most of the Database Administrative Tasks.

Good coverage of T-SQL.

Interesting approach towards Database Administrative tasks with T-SQL

Simple and precise introduction to Business Intelligence (BI)

Full coverage of backup technology

Bonus articles in CD

Safari books online enabled

Cons:

Lack of examples or quiz at the end of chapters (for those who like to check their knowledge after reading chapter)

Shallow summary at the end of chapter

Chapter organization (order they are listed in book) can be better. Articles in CD are good and should have been included in main book.

Heavy book with more than 1700 pages.

Rating : 4 and 1/2 stars

In Summary, Every DBA should have this book on their book-shelf.

Link to book on Amazon

Reference : Pinal Dave (http://blog.SQLAuthority.com)

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