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Review: The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Architecture and Internals
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by Teemu Keiski
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Overview

Let's face it, not to underestimate other database products at all, but for us .NET developers 'SQL Server' is often the same as 'database'. And in the near future the release of SQL Server Yukon makes this even more true. However, the current release of the product is SQL Server 2000, which is also great software and offers many, many features to utilize in our applications.

I had a wonderful chance to have a peek at the newest SQL Server book, The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Architecture and Internals by Ken Henderson, published by Addison-Wesley. Mr. Henderson is a highly regarded author and has written popular titles such as The Guru's Guide to SQL Server Stored Procedures, XML, and HTML (Addison-Wesley) as well as The Guru's Guide to Transact-SQL (Addison-Wesley).

To start with, the book focuses on SQL Server 2000 and is targeted at developers and architects who have familiarity with SQL Server and Windows as well as other SQL Server-related technologies. Deep architectural understanding from SQL Server standpoint is not assumed as the book is intended to provide that. The book continues where documentation and other SQL Server material left off, covering the entire product starting from Windows Fundamentals and ending with undocumented features.

Basic Information

The book separated to five sections.  It has 1021 pages in 25 chapters and 2 essays including the index.

Chapters

Part I: Foundations

1. Overview
2. Windows Fundamentals
3. Processes and Threads
4. Memory Fundamentals
5. I/O Fundamentals
6. Networking Fundamentals
7. COM
8. XML

Part II: Subsystems, Components and Technologies

9. SQL Server as a Server
10. User Mode Scheduler
11. SQL Server Memory Management
12. Query Processor
13. Transactions
14. Cursors
15. ODSOLE
16. Full-Text Search

Part III: Data Services

17. Server Federations
18. SQLXML
19. Notification Services
20. Data Transformation Services
21. Snapshot Replication
22. Transactional Replication
23. Merge Replication

Part IV: Undocumented SQL Server

24. Finding Undocumented Features
25. DTSDIAG

PART V: Essays

Why I Really, Really Don't Like Fish!
Pseudo-Techie Tactics 101


The publisher, Addison-Wesley maintains a web site for the book. The author does not have a direct web site for the book, but a naturally interesting resource about the product itself is SQL Server's pages at http://msdn.microsoft.com/sql 

Pros, Cons and Conclusion

Pros

 

All I can say is wow, I am impressed! I probably have read the best SQL Server book I've ever seen. The book goes to unbelievable details in explaining the product, especially the knowledge given about SQL Server's foundations, which is rock solid and a must read for everyone who wants or needs to know the inner workings of the product.

 

The quality of the book is excellent from beginning to the end and it won't be a disappointment. The author gives the reader tips about best practices and recommended solutions in different scenarios. However, the focus is to provide the solid ground for the reader to make decisions related to the product usage. And this book is definitely one of the best ways to learn the basis for such decisions.

 

Cons

 

Because of the chosen target audience, this book isn't necessarily the best bet for beginner users. It starts with so much deep information about the product foundations that that alone might scare off some developers. Luckily, it's not necessary to understand all to get understanding of the product, but the more you understand about OS foundations, the more you can get out of this book. So starting with SQL Server and this book only is the harder route.  If you can make it, I can assure you you will know all you need to know about SQL Server's architecture but it can be a rocky road. Having another, usage-oriented book, with this one is a wise choice.

 

Conclusion

 

As was mentioned, if you need a true hardcode book about SQL Server, this is the one for you. In fact if I were you, I'd already be running to the book store. You wouldn't want to miss this one.



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