Archive for November, 2007

First impressions of SQL Server 2008 November CTP …

November 25, 2007

I have just installed SQL Server 2008 November CTP on my Windows XP Professional SP2 test machine (freshly built for July CTP and fully patched).

The installation process is an improvement over SQL Server 2005 and previous SQL Server 2008 CTP releases. The screens are a lot bigger so you can actually see what is going on. You can even maximise the installation window. There are however quite a few installation screens to go through and it is easy to miss the tab on one of the screens which allows you to specify the data directory locations. I personally think this should be its own screen to avoid mistakes particularly when installing in a production environment. The process of specifying usernames and passwords for the various services is a little clunky if you have selected to install all of the services.

The installation process defaulted to the following location

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\
MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA

Rather than

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data

I initially thought this was because I had uninstalled the July CTP and did not ensure the underlying directories were deleted. The directories were left behind by the uninstall program because they had database files in them. However, I later uninstalled the November CTP and deleted all of the directories that might confuse it. When I reinstalled, it still prompted to install in

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\
MSSQL10.MSSQLSERVER\MSSQL\DATA

Let’s hope the RTM default is

C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\MSSQL.1\MSSQL\Data

Overall the installation process is an improvement though.

Once installed if you look under Services for some reason Microsoft have included the version number in the service name for Integration Services, i.e. SQL Server Integration Services 10.0. A minor point but I hope they don’t do this for the RTM version.

The SQL Server 2008 July CTP had an issue restoring a database backup measuring several tens of gigabytes in size. It appears the issue has not been fixed in the November CTP. The error is

“Msg 3167, Level 16, State 4, Line 2 RESTORE could not start database”

and occurs right at the end after everything appears to have been restored. There is a chance the file could be (although I don’t think so) corrupt however I have transferred the file several times to the test machine and the same database backup file restored fine on a laptop installed with SQL Server 2005. It should be noted that this database contains two full-text catalogs.

As the backup wouldn’t restore I detached the database from the SQL Server 2005 instance and copied it to the test machine. There I used

CREATE DATABASE mydatabase ON (…), … FOR ATTACH

to restore the database. I received the following error message for each of the two full-text catalogs

NECPM4RSY(NECPM4RSY\Administrator): Msg 7689, Level 16, State 1, Line 1
Execution of a full-text operation failed. ‘The specified service does not exist as an installed service.

When I installed SQL Server 2008 I elected to install FTS (Full-Text Search). It claims to have installed it, however, I can’t see the service listed and I can’t find it using Task Manager. The issue with the database restore previously mentioned could be linked to this.

I tried uninstalling SQL Server 2008 and reinstalling however the same issue occurred.

I have had a quick play with SQL Server 2008. The IntelliSense feature is pretty handy! Hopefully I will find time soon to take a more indepth look.

Given that SQL Server 2008 is scheduled for release in February 2008 and the November CTP has just been released and there have been no beta releases, I would be surprised if Microsoft released a fully functional, high quality release in February 2008.

eCommera website is now live…

November 22, 2007

The eCommera website is now live!

SQL Server 2008 November CTP released

November 21, 2007

Microsoft has just announced the availability of the SQL Server 2008 November CTP. The improvements are listed here.

There are a number of key improvements in this CTP worth noting including, Backup Compression, new data types (Filestream, Date, Time, Geography and Geometry), T-SQL IntelliSense, Resource Governor, Transparent Data Encryption, XML & XQuery improvements, etc.

So far I cannot see the improvements to FTS (Full-Text Service) that Microsoft SQL Server Programme managers told me they had planned.

Given the features announced I cannot see companies rushing out to upgrade their production environments to SQL Server 2008 in March 2008 though.

Trip to Woburn, Massachusetts …

November 21, 2007

I have just got back from a week in Woburn, Massachusetts in the US. Woburn is just north of Boston.

We had the usual travel incidents that seem to plague my travels. A colleague who was travelling with me was taken aside by US customs just because his British passport stated he was born in Baghdad. Fortunately they didn’t keep him too long.

We were in the US to attend a course on Demandware. The course was very good and I would like to thank Philip, Tom and Julian for their hospitality. I would also like to thank everybody for their time on Friday.

Dear Michael Dell …

November 10, 2007

I previously posted on this subject here

Just over a week ago I received a call from Dell. The upshot was Windows Vista x64 support would not be available until 16th November, despite Dell assuring me it was supported when I ordered my new laptop; therefore I had the option to rebook the order with Windows Vista x86 or wait until after the 16th November. Given how desperate I am for the laptop I asked them to rebook it rather than wait.

I received another call from Dell on Friday regarding my laptop order. This time they said the order was on hold because they needed my credit card details as I had not paid for the laptop. I checked my credit card account online and sure enough they took the money at the beginning of October. So not only have I been waiting for 2 months, paid £1900 (including VAT) for a laptop I don’t have but they tried to take the money again!

Michael Dell, what are you going to do about this?

I have joked with one of the guys who works for me, who is an Apple fan, that if Dell don’t deliver my new laptop soon I might resort to walking up to Regents Street in London and buying a Mac Pro.

CentOS an alternative to RedHat

November 4, 2007

This article prompted to me post this.

In 2006 when we decided to move from a fully managed service to a collocation facility we had to make the difficult decision as to pay the RedHat license fees or go with CentOS. We took the decision to go with CentOS and never looked back. It saved us a fortune given the number of servers we were talking about. I would have no hesitation in making the same decision again. I totally agree with the following from the article

It’s not that my friend’s organization doesn’t appreciate Red Hat’s contribution to Linux. They do. They understand perfectly well who does the heavy lifting to put the RHEL distribution together. They see clearly that CentOS does not add value in its own right. They know that the engineering effort at Red Hat costs serious money and that someone has to pay for it. And if circumstances were different my friend would certainly be willing to throw a little something Red Hat’s way. But not $50K per year. It’s just too much. He just doesn’t see the value proposition that Red Hat is pitching him, and he feels – like many others – that what CentOS is doing is not only legal (of that there can be no dispute) but perfectly moral. After all, the vast majority of the packages in RHEL were not created by Red Hat, and they are all governed by the GPL, which is absolutely clear about the obligation to redistribute code.

BEA AquaLogic Service Bus

November 3, 2007

I met with BEA on Friday to discuss BEA AquaLogic Service Bus. Prior to me joining eCommera this product was selected by one of eCommera’s partners.

We are about to go live with out first retailer where we have utilised the BEA AqualLogic Service Bus. ALSB looks like a very comprehensive product. I will blog more about our experience with BEA ALSB in the future. So far BEA have been being very helpful.

I am currently in the process of selecting a Managed Services Hosting supplier to host this component of our solution.

eCommerce Expo at Olympia

November 3, 2007

I attended the eCommerce Expo at Olympia on 31st October. This was a very useful event for various reasons. The only disappoint was meeting a very arrogant person called Robert from Google. Google would do well to avoid recruiting people like him in the future!

DataCash event

November 3, 2007

I attended the DataCash event at the London Stock Exchange on 31st October. DataCash have made a number of acquisitions over the last few years. To date customers of DataCash have had to interface with the respective APIs individually. DataCash plan to change this in Q4/07 and Q1/08 so customers program to a single API so that they can take advantage of their other products and services more easily. They are also planning to consolidate the various data centres and put in place more scalable, reliable and resilient infrastructure. eCommera work closely with DataCash as DataCash is an integrated component of our solution.

So what have I been up to…

November 3, 2007

I have been at eCommera for four weeks now and all that I have blogged about in that time is MySQL and Rightmove/Exalead.

So what have I been up to…well I have been really busy getting up to speed with the business, partners, clients and technology. I have also recruited 4 people.

The eCommera website should be live within the next couple of weeks.