SQL Server 2008 R2

Get ready for Microsoft's latest release of SQL Server. This is SQL Server 2008 R2. It was formerly code named Kilimanjarao.

There are four editions available: 1) parallel data warehouse, 2) datacenter, 3) enterprise, and 4) standard. There is also a free express version. So I guess that makes 5 versions. The express version now allows you to hold up to 10GB of data in your database. This is up from 4GB in the previous express version.

One new feature in SQL Server is called PowerPivot. This is a self running analytics component. It was previously code named Gemini. There is also a new StreamInsight event processor included with the shipment. This version of SQL Server supports 256 logical processors for SMP.


Hadoop is a Java framework for dealing with huge data stores. Microsoft is bringing Hadoop to Windows Azure soon. Although Microsoft already has a map/reduce solution called Dryas, it is not ready for prime time production use. Hadoop will fill that gap now.

Map/reduce operates at a lower level than plain old SQL. It moves your regular business layer processing down to the data storage layer. And it does so in a parallel mode. That is how you get the good performance at a large scale.

There are other map/reduce solutions out there. Hadoopdotnet implements Hadoop for .NET. And MySpace has their Qizmt solution. However look to Microsoft for the new Hadoop port to the Microsoft cloud.


Most organizations upgrade their operating systems every few years. A lot of these organizations have skipped the Windows Vista operating system. They are now preparing to go directly to Windows 7. There is not any simple options for a Windows XP to Windows 7 migration.

Users do not like change in general. So it is best to let the users know why you are upgrading their operating systems. Involve them early in the requirements gathering stage. You should set aside a lot of time for migrating data to new application as well.

Set a firm deadline when you require users to be off of Windows XP. Know that any legacy applications will also take a while to migrate. It would be good to have a date when the legacy applications are frozen and get no more upgrades.

You had better be prepared to deal with the legacy app situation. Know the full costs of their maintenance well in advance of the move to Windows 7. Know this. In the end, you will exert a lot of energy but get no thanks for your Windows platform upgrade.

Microsoft Word Complaints

Yesterday I read an article complaining about Microsoft Word. That seemed strange as Word is probably one of the most used software applications. What exactly was this guy having problems with?

Well it seems he just got Office 2010. Perhaps he was still getting used to the new version. He did admit that Word was better than a typewriter. However that is not saying much. He also thought Word was sufficient to get some small jobs done.

He went into a rant about Word being initially written to serve secretaries. Does anybody know what a secretary is any more? Oh yeah. That's an administrative assistant. Anyway I finally go to this guy's beef. It was hard to move sections around in Word. It was also not easy to do general page layout for publishing purposes.

Sure this is not a dedicated publishing software. But you can use it for publishing. Sounds like this dude need to do a little training is all. Microsoft Word rules. I am still becoming familiar with Word 2007. I used Word 2003 for so long I became too used to it. Let's hope this guy learns how to use the tool better. I will do so myself.

The Service Bus Buffer

Let's talk about messaging in the Azure, the Microsoft Cloud. You can think of URLs as buffers. Messages get stored in the buffers. Multiple services can access these buffers. However your client and server don't have to run simultaneously. Thus the buffer.

These type of messages are unidirectional. Messages get stored in memory. They are not grouped into transactions. And they do not last long. You can use the service bus if you deal with unstable network connections. It also works for one way asynchronous comms.

Messages remain by default for 5 minutes. The can stay for as little as 1 minute, and as high as 10 minutes. This is configurable. Buffer size defaults to 10 messages. The max is 50. The minimum is 1. It is best to choose the maximum setting for both the message duration and the size.

I am sure we will be hearing more about service bus buffers as Azure apps become more common.