The cat’s out of the bag – awesome new DBPro edition of VSTS

Hi Folks,

I’ve been dying to talk about this one for ages and now the cats out of the bag. Received the following from our RD lead Kevin Schuler this morning.

The team has been working away hard at this for quite a while. Gert Drapers has been leading a lot of the development and that can only be a good thing, given Gert’s skills.


This morning (09:00 PST, Wednesday May 31st 2006) the Visual Studio Team System team announced the availability of a brand product in the Team System family.


Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals delivers a market-shifting database development product designed to manage database change, improve software quality through database testing and bring the benefits of Visual Studio Team System and life cycle development to the database professional. It delivers on Microsoft’s commitment to provide tools that reduce communication barriers and complexity across software development teams and fulfils increasing demand in the market for more advanced database change management tools. Database professionals such as database architects, database developers and database administrators, can now employ integrated change management functionality to streamline changes to their databases, ensure quality, and speed deployment.


Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals includes a number of great new features:


·         A new Visual Studio Database Project allows you to import your database schema and place it under source control. When the time comes to deploy schema changes the new project system allows you to quickly build update scripts or packages and then provides a mechanism to deploy them to the database of our choice.

·         Rename Refactoring allows you to easily rename any object in your database and be assured that all references to that object will be renamed to correspond to the change

·         A New T-SQL Editor allows you to be more productive when writing T-SQL code from within Visual Studio including support for parallel execution of queries and viewing of execution plans.

·         SchemaCompare allows you to quickly compare the schema of two databases (or your source controlled project and a database) and script updates to bring the database schemas into sync

·         DataCompare allows you to quickly compare two databases and script updates to bring the data in these databases into sync

·         The Database Unit Testing infrastructure allows you to create database unit tests using T-SQL or managed code.

·         DataGenerator lets you create data generation plans that produce repeatable sets of meaningful data based upon your existing production databases that can be deployed to a database prior to running unit tests thus ensuring consistent test results


You can find out more about this great new release, see screenshots and find out how to get the early community technology preview which will be available on June 11th at


We are making Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals part of the Visual Studio Team Suite, so you’ll get this product for free when we RTM this edition if you are a Visual Studio Team Suite subscriber through MSDN. You can learn more about how to upgrade to Visual Studio Team Suite at


Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals will also be available as a stand alone Edition in the Visual Studio Team System family. You can learn more about how to buy Visual Studio Team System at


The team has already started blogging. You can find out more information directly from the product team by visiting the following blogs:


You can also see what others are saying by visiting the new Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals forum at


SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Planning Consulting Engagements

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time lately helping customers plan for their SQL Server 2005 upgrades. I’ve had a few people ask what sorts of things we do in those engagements. I’ve listed the basic topics in those reviews. Hope it helps someone. The basic topics are:

1. Provide an overview of the most significant changes and enhancements in SQL 2k5.

2. Discuss and review the client’s reasons and expectations for an upgrade to SQL 2k5.

3. Review existing database structures to identify any opportunities for improvement in SQL 2k5.

4. Review existing T-SQL coding (samples of stored procedures, etc.) to identify any opportunities for improvement in SQL 2k5.

5. Discuss version 90 database compatability mode requirements to investigate any possible impacts.

6. Review existing backup/restore strategies to identify any opportunities for improvement in SQL 2k5.

7. Review existing index maintenance strategies to identify any opportunities for improvement in SQL 2k5.

8. Review existing DTS packages, specifically deciding if they should be migrated to SSIS or kept running via the legacy DTS runtime support.

9. Discuss any existing significant problems with the current system (performance, faults, application timeouts, etc.) to identify strategies for improvement using SQL 2k5 or actions that might be taken in conjunction with the upgrade.

10. Discuss SQL Server 2005 license SKU’s to identify any possible savings or alternately, any increased licensing requirements.

11. Review existing management procedures to identify any candidates for automation via SMO.

12. Discuss existing disaster recovery strategies to identify any opportunities for improvement in SQL 2k5.

13. Review usage of add-on products (reporting services, analysis services, full-text indexing, notification services, etc) to identify any issues or opportunities for improvement in SQL 2k5.

14. Review the customer’s hardware platform and operating system plans for the upgraded system.

15. Work with the customer to define an upgrade strategy that achieves the goal in a short time but is sufficiently risk-averse for the customer’s profile.


Would you like to work for us ? (Readify)

Over the last year, we’ve gone through quite a growth spurt. The process we go through to hire someone often takes quite a while. Most of the people we hire are already pretty busy with what they are currently doing and so we do understand that they might not be available immediately either.

Different to most companies, the emphasis we have is on finding the right people when *they* are available, rather than on hiring people only when we have a need to fill an existing role. We believe that if we have the right people, it won’t be hard to find the right roles for them.

What this means is that we need to have a pipeline of people in place who might be interested in working for us, as it oftens takes a while for both them and us to decide if they are a good fit for the company. We value:

* Passion about the technologies

* Passion about the technical communities surrounding the technologies

* Sharp skills with the technologies (we will check this carefully)

* People who we feel will fit in with our business culture.

* People who can relate well to clients.

The technologies that we are currently most interested in are:

* .NET Development (ASP.NET and/or Smart Client)

* SQL Server (Development and Administration)

* SQL Server Business Intelligence (Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Integration Services)

 If you feel you’re up to it, start a conversation about it with one of our senior consultants. If you’re not familiar with any of them, feel free to ping me an email at or Mitch at to ask any questions.

Cleaning out old stuff #2

Another favourite was an entrance exam for the “Australian Joint Warfare Establishment“, also no doubt, borrowed from elsewhere. No idea who to give credit to but felt the need to record it before throwing it:

Time Allowed:   40 minutes

All questions to be completed.

1. History. Describe the history of the Papacy from its origins to the present day, concentrating especially but not exclusively on its social, political, economic, religious and philosophical impact on Europe, Asia, America and Africa. Be brief, concise and specific.

2. Medicine. You are provided with a razor blade, a piece of gauze and a bottle of scotch. Remove your appendix. Do not suture your work until it has been inspected. You have 15 minutes.

3. Public Speaking. 2500 riot-crazed immigrants are storming the local Citizens Advice Bureau. Calm them. You may use any ancient language except Greek or Latin.

4. Biology. Create life. Estimate the differences in subsequent human culture if this form of life had developed 500 million years earlier, with special attention to its probable effect on the British parliamentary party system. Prove your thesis.

5. Music. Write a piano concerto. Orchestrate and perform it with flute and drum. You will find a piano under your seat.

6. Sociology. Estimate the sociological problems which might accompany the end of the world. Construct an experiment to test your theory.

7. Engineering. The disassembled parts of a high-powered rifle have been placed in a box on your desk. You will also find an instruction manual, printed in Swahili. In 10 minutes, a hungry Bengal tiger will be admitted to the room. Take whatever action you feel is appropriate. Be prepared to justify your decision.

8. Political Science. There is a red telephone on the desk behind you. Start World War III. Report at length on its sociological aspects, if any.

9. Philosophy. Sketch the development of human thought; estimate its significance. Compare it with the development of any other kind of thought.

10. General Knowledge. Define the universe. Describe in detail. Give three examples.

NOTE: A pass mark of 85 percent is required for entry.

Cleaning out old materials part 1

Over the past 3 weeks, I’ve been cleaning out a lot of old materials. It’s always interesting to see things you haven’t seen for a long time but I don’t like dwelling on them much. A couple of things caught my eye enough to share though. First was from my HP days in the 80’s. There was a cute new product announcement passed around internally that talked about a 7903 MPU with an enhanced instruction set. I’m sure it was “borrowed” from another unknown source but I thought I’d share a few of the processor instructions I liked:

BH   Branch and hang

JRL   Jump to random location

DO   Divide and overflow

DC   Divide and conquer

ARZ   Add and reset to zero

SRZ   Subtract and reset to zero

XM   Exclusive maybe

UER   Update and erase record

CRN   Convert to roman numerals

PCB   Pause for coffee break

SSW   Scramble status word

and for those that have been around a long time to enjoy:

RASC   Read and shred card

RCI   Read card and ignore

PBC   Print and break chain (used to be called a “chain smash” – not a pretty thing)

BST   Backspace and stretch tape (I recall being at a site and seeing something that was more like: rewind, melt and mangle tape)

MET   Misread and eat tape (Yes, seen this instruction being carried out)

STT   Stretch and tangle tape (Also seen this one many times)

SSD   Seek and scar disk (Many long nights associated with this one)

BPB   Blob plotter pen

MPS   Move pen somewhere

and my all time favourite that I’ve also seen executed was:

HCF   Halt and catch fire

Wikipedia shows the last one as strictly metaphorical. I’ve seen a few where it wasn’t 🙂