Book Reviews

SQL Around the Clock

Valuable and accurate information enabling you to excel as SQL Server database administrators.

Sybex has a Web site dedicated to its book series at, with an introduction that reads, "Written to build on the knowledge you already have, 24seven books don't waste time covering the basics—the information you know already or that you can easily figure out in your own. Instead, 24seven books focus on the hard-to-find information that will enable you to make informed choices when installing, administering, and troubleshooting hardware and software." These titles are definitely not for beginners, and this book is no exception. For example, you won't find any review of Transact SQL syntax.

24seven SQL Server 7 provides the operational information needed to effectively administer SQL Server 7.0 databases. However, the book goes beyond this, delivering a broad range of information and in-depth knowledge required to tackle difficult challenges.

For a book focused on operational issues the depth was surprising. A comparison of OLTP vs. OLAP surfaced on page one, followed by an excellent single-page comparison chart. Charts, flow diagrams, screen snapshots, and other visual aids are used throughout the book. The authors have done an excellent job of balancing text with graphics to help communicate important SQL Server concepts. The book covers virtually every concept vital to administration of SQL Server 7.0 including indexing, security, RAID, network connectivity, installation, locking, replication design, performance, and backup strategies.

The arrival of the book couldn't have been better timed-just before I tackled the Data Warehouse beta exam (70-019)! The data warehouse coverage, though only 24 pages long, was to the point and covered key issues, including explanations of MOLAP, ROLAP, and HOLAP cubes, along with a brief explanation of the OLAP service components.

One complaint: I'd like to have seen coverage on English Query. On the other hand, I considered the three chapters on application development issues a real coup de grace, since I wear two hats: as an application developer and a DBA. Internet access, OLE DB, ADO, and Transaction Server are all explored in depth. Every DBA should have a basic understanding of these areas to implement the stored procedures, views, and triggers needed for a sound enterprise solution.

I'd never seen some of the excellent nuggets that appeared in the form of warnings, notes, and tips. But lest I sound like a salesman for Sybex, I do have a criticism: Although I found the tips useful and accurate, some needed more explanation. For example, a tip recommending the placement of SQL Server on a domain controller when using integrated security provided no supporting information. Although the authors undoubtedly had some basis for this, I wouldn't agree with it as a general statement based on my understanding of authentication performance issues.

In summary, 24seven SQL Server 7 addresses SQL Server 7 administration, installation, and troubleshooting in depth. While this book isn't aimed at "exam-crammers," it covers much of the material on both the SQL 7.0 Implementation and Administration tests. More importantly, it provides valuable and accurate information to enable individuals to excel as SQL Server database administrators.

About the Author

Robert Leithiser, MCDBA, MCSD, MCSE+I, MCT, OCP DBA is a database consultant/technical trainer currently residing in Montgomery, Alabama. In his spare time, he takes his family on outings to Barnes and Nobles to read books.

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