Sunday, November 25, 2012

[Book Review] "What's New in SQL Server 2012"

"What's New in SQL Server 2012"


Disclosure: A free ebook version of this title was given to me by the publisher.

As you might know, I've been a SQL Server using dev for about 1.97 million years (since 4.21a on NT 3.5) and have watched this database grow from a "departmental" database server to the mission critical, bet the business on it, database server that it is today. From being just a database to an entire family of data services. From something that most could grok in its entirety to the beast we have today where you're lucky to fit just parts of it into our brains...

On a low priority background thread, I've been working a SQL Server 2012 Dev-To-Dev videos, so felt I had a good grasp on some of the goodness that's in SQL Server 2012. But even so, there was only so much I could cover and research. So I ignored anything not LOB "dev" related.

Then I start a new gig and I'm asked, "So hey, what's new in SQL Server 2012? Stuff that the business/DBA would be interested in? What's in the different editions? Disaster preparedness?" Pretty much everything I'd been ignoring... sigh.

Then this book fell into my lap. I quickly found it's a perfect means to help answer those questions and more!

First of all "What's New in SQL Server 2012" is not the end all, be all for getting up to speed on SQL Server 2012. For a book that is 258 pages and the scope of changes in SQL Server 2012 that would be impossible. But this book is a perfect onramp into knowing what you don't know about what's new in SQL Server 2012. It's a survey course in what's new...

I found the book (I read it in PDF form, but it's also available as ePub, Mobi and print) a fast read, that it truly focused on what's new, but also not afraid to mention features/capabilities from earlier versions if those features/capabilities were under-used, under-documented or under-sold, and that now in 2012 they start to shine. i.e. if background was needed to help explain why this "new" feature was cool/useful then that background was provided.

While there were a few screenshot page sets, there were not too many and used judicially. Nor were there pages and pages of T-SQL. Again, it was used where it made sense but not overly.

The key point is that this isn't a rehashed "what's new" book from an earlier version that was just tidied up and refreshed for the latest version. It is clearly new and fresh content.

One of the things I liked about the book is that it didn't even try to be the "end all, be all." Again, where it made sense, it introduced a new feature and then referred the reader to a web resource that did do the explanation in detail. Content curation at it's best. I also thought it cool that these web resources were not just MSDN doc's, though those were used, but also links from around the SQL web community.

Look, if you are SQL Dev, LOB coder, T-SQL Geek, DBA, CIO/CTO, IT'er, someone interested in "selling, buying or influencing" getting SQL Server 2012 in the door, but need some backup, background or supporting material, this book is a must get.

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