MVP Deep Dives 2 Review (parts I and II) by Kalen Delaney, Louis Davidson, Greg Low…

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Flying back from the PASS Summit 2011, I was in the mood to skim my brand new copy of MVP Deep Dives 2 and make quick notes on my impressions of each chapter. I decided to go with just two or three tweet-length thoughts apiece.

I’ve also given this book five out of five stars, not because every single chapter is the absolute pinnacle of databasery, but because (a) it’s a great book, (b) it’s a good cause, and (c) yes, some chapters ARE the pinnacle of databasery.

Note that I’ve marked some chapters “*Favorite/Like/RT“; this is completely subjective, and simply means that chapter struck me in some positive way.

Score: 5/5

MVP Deep Dives 2

  • Author: Kalen Delaney, Louis Davidson, Greg Low, Brad McGehee, Paul Nielsen, Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, and more
  • Pages: 688 
  • Publisher: Manning, October 2011
  • Buy on Manning: http://manning.com/delaney/
  • ITBookworm Score:Unrated

Part I: Architecture

1 – “Where are my keys?” by Ami Levin. Outlines the issue with key considerations, and gives some historical context for the origin and longevity of the debate. He ends with some clear recommendations and advice. GREAT opening sentence.

2 – “A look at uniqueness…” by Rob Farley. This is a high level view of uniqueness in databases, starting with primary keys, unique constraints and index. He discusses DISTINCT and GROUP BY, and some solid considerations for their use. First (only?) Monty Python reference.

Chris Shaw et al at PASS Summit 2011 Deep Dives Signing3 – “Architectural growth pains” by Chris Shaw. Chris likens the painful and often redundant training he went through to become a Marine to the painful/redundant considerations put into a well architected database. He covers several key architecture areas and gives solid benefits/consequences for each.

4 – “Characteristics of a great relational database” by Louis Davidson. Chapter gives exactly what the title says, and what caught my eye was the seemingly conflicting (but in actuality, complementary) points “needs little documentation” and “documented”. First (only?) use of “heck”.

5 – “Storage design considerations” by Denny Cherry. Gives “a basic understanding of the [storage] hardware underneath the databases” with a warning not to just trust your SAN vendor. A good, solid storage primer.

6* – “Generalization: the key to a well designed schema” by Paul Nielsen. This is Paul’s defense that “normalization is only half of the design equation.” A quick, excellent read. *Favorite/Like/RT

Part II: Database administration

7* – “Increasing availability through testing” by Alan Hirt. I intend to sit down my entire IT group and read them this chapter outright. Allan covers testing, environments, commonly overlooked testing needs (e.g., disaster recovery, hardware configurations), and more. *Favorite/Like/RT.

8* – “Page restores” by Gail Shaw. In her usual efficient manner, Gail sets up the context for partial DB restores, and takes us through the methods and pitfalls of page restores. She ends with a section on page restore improvements in Denali (now branded SQL Server 2012). *Favorite/Like/RT.

9 – “Capacity planning” by Greg Larsen. Covers “managing the space and performance capacity of your…environment”, with useful scripts.

10 – “Discovering your servers with PoweShell and SMO” by Joe Webb. Exactly that, and well done, but I have two comments. First, it’s a good chapter for a .NET audience, but not necessarily for SQL-only guys who might need to be convinced to use PowerShell. Second, I’d prefer the scripts show how to track gathered data in SQL tables, not in Excel.

11 – “Will the real Mr. Smith…” by John Magnabosco. A short treatise on information security that discusses what, why, who and how. A chapter with real personality.

12 – “Build your own SQL Server 2008 performance dashboard” by Pawel Potasinski. Exactly that, using CLR, DMVs, and SSRS. A good chapter to get you started on the project, with additional ideas for you to grow your own.

13 – “SQL Server cost recovery” by Peter Ward. Understanding costs and using chargebacks to cover the use of SQL Server in an organization. First (I think) usage of the phrase “private cloud”.

14* – “Best practice compliance with Policy Based Management” by Rob College. Proactive administration for enterprise DBAs. A thought provoking primer that provides context, and introduces Central Management Servers and PBM. *Favorite/Like/RT

15* – “Using SSMS to the fullest” by Rodney Landrum. Covers 3 nonobvious SSMS features – multiserver querying, script templates, and multi object scripting – that did indeed raise an “Ahhh, cool” from me, as promised. A beautifully useful chapter. *Favorite/Like/RT

16 – “Multiserver management and Utility Explorer…” by Satya Shyam K Jayanty. With the exception (I think) of the short “Best Practices” section, this is a facts only, BOL-style presentation on Utility Explorer, which includes prerequisites and setup steps. I really hope to see more contextual, insightful, and/or useful information from Satya’s future publications.

17 – “Top 10 SQL Server admin student misconceptions” by Tibor Karaszi. An entertaining and accessible chapter that debunks the advertised 10 misconceptions.

18 – “High availability of SQL Server in the context of Service Level Agreements” by Tobias Koprowski. Covers “the tip of the iceberg” on this topic. Includes overview and types of high availability, and SLA measurement, structure, and context.

Review of Parts III-V will be up in the coming weeks.

-Jen McCown

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