Microsoft SQL Server - license & software assurance - 1 CAL

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Business today demands a different kind of data management solution. Performance, scalability, and reliability are essential, but businesses now expect more from their key IT investments.

SQL Server exceeds dependability requirements and provides innovative capabilities that increase employee effectiveness, integrate heterogeneous IT ecosystems, and maximize capital and operating budgets. SQL Server provides the enterprise data management platform your organization needs to adapt quickly in a fast-changing environment.

With the lowest implementation and maintenance costs in the industry, SQL Server delivers rapid return on your data management investment. SQL Server supports the rapid development of enterprise-class business applications that can give your company a critical competitive advantage.

Benchmarked for scalability, speed, and performance, SQL Server is a fully enterprise-class database product, providing core support for Extensible Markup Language (XML) and Internet queries.

Microsoft SQL Server - license & software assurance - 1 CAL is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 23.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I use it to fine tune my procedures and functions What is our primary use case?I use SQL Server to optimize SQL queries and find the estimated cost of my queries.I also use it to fine tune my procedures and functions.How has it helped my organization?* SQL Server has maintained my database problem in an arranged manner.* SQL Server Profiler makes finding and debugging easy.* Support for third-party tools, like SQL Search.What is most valuable?* SQL Server Profiler: Know exactly which procedures and functions are being called and how much read and write they are taking.* Tuning Advisor: It suggests where to add indexes and from where to remove them. It works like an adviser.* Storage capability* Debugger: The debugger tool can execute code step-by-step.What needs improvement?* Third-party services from Redgate should be built-in to it, like SQL Search.* Debugging from the debugger tool functionality should be enhanced.For how long have I used the solution?Three to five years.What do I think about the stability of the solution?No stability issues.What do I think about the scalability of the solution?No scalability issues.How is customer service and technical support?It is good.Which solutions did we use previously?I have been using SQL Server from the start.How was the initial setup?It was straightforward.What about the implementation team?In-house.What was our ROI?It is good.What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?The setup cost is high, but it will return every penny.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2018-12-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The SQL language is very simple and straightforward. What is our primary use case?We primarily use this solution for the relational database. The SQL language is very simple and straightforward.What is most valuable?The most valuable feature is the syntax. The TS clouds are very straightforward. The newer version has apps which are quite useful.For how long have I used the solution?More than five years.What do I think about the stability of the solution?I think the stability of this product is great. It is one of the best products on the market.How is customer service and technical support?I do not have direct experience with technical support.What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?It is an expensive solution, and it is part of a Microsoft bundle. So it appears that it should be a bit less expensive as part of the bundle, but it is not.Which other solutions did I evaluate?I also have previous experience with Oracle.What other advice do I have?I advise others considering this solution to try it. This is the most valuable learning experience you can have. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Sometimes it is better to set the wheel to do things which are particularly good at something than to strictly go by the book.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2018-11-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A relational database system that is critical for storing reporting data Primary Use CaseThe primary use of SQL Server ( /products/sql-server ) is to store and retrieve data. If you go into the extra features that come with your license, you can also do reporting, analytics and ETL ( /categories/other-data-integration-and-access-tools ).Valuable FeaturesEverything is valuable. It is a relational database system which is critical for storing reporting data or any data that is highly relate-able. Plus your data is one of the most important assets in your company. Might as well have a good system to protect it.Improvements to My OrganizationIn a manufacturing system, storing test data in an Excel file has limitations in how much data can be stored at one time and how many people can manipulate the data at one time. Storing it in SQL Server ( /products/sql-server ) allows you to store as much data as you have disk space for. It can be viewed and modified by multiple people at one time.Room for ImprovementSetting up some of the more complex systems could be simpler. Things like service broker can be tricky to set up for the inexperienced.Use of SolutionMore than five years.Stability IssuesStability seems very good. I have not seen any issues with this.Scalability IssuesI have not run into scalability issues. It feels very scalable.Customer Service and Technical SupportI have not needed to contact technical support for this productPrevious SolutionsI did not use a previous solution. I have heard of other companies using Microsoft Access or Excel for similar problems. However, after hearing the headaches they have, I would not recommend those for large scale projects.Initial SetupThe initial setup was straightforward, but configuration post-install can be complex. Complexity comes from attempting to optimize it and implementing some of the new features that come in new versions.Implementation TeamWe implemented it entirely in-house.Pricing, Setup Cost and LicensingPricing and licensing is based on a per core and/or per-processor license. Try to keep these low, but keep it above four. (Four is the minimum number of cores.) If you are working mostly with OLTP, make sure your single thread CPU speeds are high.Other Solutions ConsideredWe did not evaluate other options. The other options lacked support, lacked performance, or were too expensive.Other AdviceIf you don't have a DBA on site, hiring a consultant is recommended to help get things setup and configured. This will reduce headaches down the line.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enabled us to use an Agile approach to the design and implementation of DW solutions. Valuable Features:* SQL Server Integration Services tools* Data Quality Services tools* Master Data Services tools* SQL Server Reporting Services tools* Data Partitioning (Horizontal Partitioning) tools* ColumnStore Indices* In-Memory OLTP tablesImprovements to My Organization:We design and implement DW solutions with SS 2016 Dev Ed tools. This solution has given us high levels of productivity, which has allowed us to use an Agile approach to the design and implementation of DW solutions for our customers, and this Agile approach has in turn given us a competitive advantage in our market.We have also started exploring the use of Microsoft R Client, MS R Services and MS R Server with SQL Server 2016 Dev Ed, which are part of the hosted Data Science package.We are also looking forward the inclusion of Python support in SQL Server 2017 for said hosted Data Science package.We are very interested in complementing DW solutions with Data Science and Machine Learning solutions, which could be a major plus for our existing DW customers, even though all hosted data science tools are only available in Enterprise Ed (for our customers), which again presents the same limiting factor (budget) already mentioned.Having said that, we see that the potential that the hosted Data Science tools offer to some of our customers is large enough to be explored and considered on a case by case basis, with proper ROI analysis.Room for Improvement:We do not have much to complain about SS 2016 Dev Ed in itself, we do have some complaints regarding licensing for SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Ed. In an emerging market like Argentina, it is very steep for our customers to pay U$S 28,000 or more on licensing for an instance of SS 2016 Enterprise Ed, and this poses a limiting factor to our growth.Use of Solution:We have been using SS 2016 Dev Ed for a few months so far, but have been using the previous version (SS 2014 Dev Ed) for more than two years.Deployment Issues:The deployment tools for DW solutions in both 2014 and 2016 editions of SQL Server are part of the SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) package. As SSDT is based on Visual Studio, this toolset has been very stable since its inception, both in terms of performance as well as in terms of functionality, so, deployment in 2016 is done in the same way as in 2014, which translates into no issues during deployment.Stability Issues:There were no stability issues.Scalability Issues:There were no scalability issues, even though the Dev Ed does not offer the same level of performance and scalability that the equivalent Enterprise Ed offers.Pertaining to the hosted Data Science package that we have been exploring, we have found an important increase in scalability when comparing the performance of a given solution running as hosted, and the same solution running on the same server with only client R tools.This scalability advantage presents itself as an important reason to consider these tools as a viable solution to some of our DW customers.Customer Service:As usual, MS offers a very good customer service. The amount of resources (self-study materials, online courses, tutorials) is huge, most of it is free.Paid customer service is also very good.Technical Support:Paid tech support is very good and efficient.Previous Solutions:I have always used DW tools from Microsoft since SQL Server 2000.Initial Setup:If prior to the setup you do the proper training, there are no issues with setup, but the learning curve is wide and tall.You could get started fast and sure if you stick to the many Wizards included with the tools, but the scope of said Wizards is limited.Implementation Team:We did not have deployment/implementation issues.ROI:Since SS 2014 Dev Ed, MS is offering these tools free of charge, ROI mainly is focused around training investment. As I have said, we do the training in-house. ROI is around one year (12 months).Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing:No issues with pricing and licensing for SS 2016 Dev Ed, as it is free of charge, as mentioned above, the thorny issue with pricing and licensing is with customers. We do our best to design DW solutions that can cover reqs from our customers within the capabilities of SS 2016 Standard Ed.Other Solutions Considered:The cost-benefit ratio offered by Microsoft's DW solutions is, by a long shot, much more convenient for our customers (small and medium companies) than solutions from other vendors, hands down.Other Advice:Consider the ROI (most training investment). If training is not in-house, only hire training from an official Microsoft Training Center in your region. Look for the best Training Center. Once you are done with the training, you can start taking customers for DW projects.Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:I teach MOC courses on the design and implementation of DW solutions with the aforementioned tools.
Date published: 2017-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from You can share the results of an integration without having to share the file. The performance could be better. Valuable Features:The most valuable feature is the easy installation. The user just needs to know how to read.Improvements to My Organization:The SQL Server is helping us with the most feared corporate problem: Excel spreadsheets. The individual user can perform an integration and share the same results with others without the necessity to "share" the file. This reduces the data traffic on my company network.Room for Improvement:Table partition and memory management. The performance could be better.Use of Solution:I have used it for more than 10 years.Stability Issues:The SQL Server has a big issue when some systems use Java as a primary software interface. This database loses the ability to manage memory, consequently locking the processes and losing performance in the execution of some robust queries.Scalability Issues:Unfortunately, this database doesn't have a good concept of partition table. If you need to create monthly (Jan to Dec) partitions in one table, this action create 12 different files for the same table. In others database this process are more transparent and are capable to create partitions inside the same Database.Technical Support:The technical support team for SQL Server is very friendly if we compare with others commercial database products. Not only with Microsoft but, this database have more technical information published on the internet, books and self-taught users to help.Previous Solutions:I am still using other commercial solutions, but the price of this database is much less expensive than others. It is about four times less expensive.Initial Setup:The initial setup is one of the good things about MSSQL. It is very easy to do and to start the development that you need to use after the installation.Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing:In my point of view, the MSSQL are the most inexpensive database commercial solution. If do you need to build a consistent ERP for example, with a medium to hard capability and don't have much budget to spend it, this is your solution.Other Solutions Considered:Of course I evaluated other options! I never choose the first option and I always try to look around to find competitive vendor options. I already know and have expertise with IBM/DB2 and Oracle solutions. For this new architecture, MSSQL was the best option at the moment for being a pilot project.Other Advice:I suggest that you are first familiar with the bundle functions and plan some of the functions before starting the project. Find more information about the routines and how easy or hard it might be to start the development when you are thinking about cascade and constraints.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The database engine is one of the most valuable components of the platform. Valuable Features:The database engine within SQL Server 2014 is one of the most valuable components of the platform to me.The engine provides a solid and efficient database backend for any relational database requirement, performance is strong and there are options such as table, index partitioning and columnstore indexes that enhance the scalability of the platform.In addition to the database engine, I would also highlight the built-in integration services platform (SSIS) for ETL purposes as well as the Reporting and Analysis Services functionality (SSRS and SSAS respectively).One of the key features that I would use regularly to support the delivery of a Data Warehouse solution would be the Master Data Services (MDS). This is an extendable Master Data Management platform that works very well out-of-the- box.Improvements to My Organization:As an IT Services organization, our companies have used this product in dozens of customer deliveries for solutions such as ERP applications, Data and Analytics solutions, and more. We also use the product internally as the backend for some of our most important operational systems.Room for Improvement:The user interface to the web frontend of MDS could be more intuitive and the Analysis Services platform has not evolved much in recent times, these are the two things that come to mind.Use of Solution:This specific version (2014), I have used for approximately three years. However, I use other versions of the software on a regular basis, such as 2012 and 2016.Stability Issues:There were no issues with stability.Scalability Issues:There were no issues with scalability.Technical Support:Microsoft has a solid support structure for the SQL Server platform and I’ve always been provided with a good service.Previous Solutions:We used a combination of RDBMS platforms and we still do in addition to this solution.Initial Setup:The installation and configuration was very straightforward. The full setup typically takes less than one day.Pricing, Setup Cost and Licensing:The Enterprise license includes features that enrich the product experience as well as performance and scalability options. Choose this over the standard license where possible.Other Solutions Considered:We reviewed many RDBMS platforms for suitability depending on the requirements of the customers. We would also use the likes of Oracle 12c and Amazon RDS.Other Advice:Install a trial version as soon as you can and give it a try.Disclaimer: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer:My company (Version 1) is a Microsoft Gold Partner. We are also an Oracle Platinum Partner as well as Amazon, etc.
Date published: 2017-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The High Availability feature provides us with failover if a node becomes unavailable, but it lacks realtime data refresh in SSRS. Valuable Features:It's a solution that's always on.Improvements to My Organization:It has High Availability, therefore provides failover if a node becomes unavailable.Room for Improvement:* Few in SSIS* Realtime data refresh in SSRS* More datasources in Power BIDisclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-07-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The SSIS or SQL Server Integration Services is a vital component that is associated to the Server. SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services – Informative ArticleSQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services: Discussed and ExplainedThe concept of Relational Database Management System when brought forward by Microsoft was known as SQL Server. Architecture of SQL is a division where all the components combine and work, both; independently and together. This is done in order to process the services offered, in a defined way. This allows SQL Server to work smoothly.The external SQL Server interface is developed by the Protocol Layer. All the operations conducted on the server are transmitted through a defined format known as the Tabular Data Stream (TDS). Basically, this is an Application Layer Protocol that helps to transfer data between the client and server (database).Some other points that in a combination help make SQL an essential database management system for users include the following:Data StorageIt is a collection of a variety of tables with all sorts of types including; primary types – decimal, integer, float, etc., varchar, and more.Concurrency and locking:The server permits users to make use of the SQL database concurrently by multiple types of clients. So it is required to take control of the simultaneous database access to the shared data. The two concurrency control modes provided are; pessimistic and optimistic.SQL uses lock mechanism, in the pessimistic mode of concurrency control and they can be further classified as; shared & Exclusive Locks.Data retrieval:Data in SQL Server is retrieved via querying it and this query procedure is executed by the SQL Server variant; T-SQL. The order of steps in the procedure of querying for essentials to recall the data requested for is decided by the Query Processor.Buffer ManagementThis part of SQL Server plays a critical role in reducing the Disc I/O while it buffers the pages into RAM. One can store up to 8 KB of pages in the buffered memory and this collection of all buffered pages is known as the Buffer Cache.SQL Server and Its VersionsThe entire database held by SQL Server is available as Primary (*.mdf) and Secondary (*.ndf) Database respectively. While an LDF file’s role is to hold the entire log details of the transactions carried out on any of the database.Amongst all the versions of SQL Server; 2005, 2008 R2, 2014, and others; 2000 was the first version to be adding multiple performance measures to the Server. And out of all the measures introduced by SQL Server version 2000, SQL Server Integration Services or SSIS was the most vital one.Detailing Of SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services SecurityThe SSIS Security of SQL Server consist of a variety of layers offering a completely sound environ for the services. These layers constitute of the below mentioned components:* Package Properties;* Digital Signature;* Operating System Permissions;* Database roles.When used in a combination for applying security measures, these components act as a defensive shield to the packages of SQL Server.In order to interpret the concept of SQL Server and SQL Server Integration Services security, understanding the platform of SSIS is of primary importance. The forthcoming segment of this article discusses about the same as well as the attributes offered by it in SQL Server environ.Understanding the SSIS Concept of SecurityThe SSIS or SQL Server Integration Services is a vital component that is associated to the Server. Normally used for carrying out a wide number and variety of operations related to data migration this platform has been structured considering the two mentioned elements:* Data Integration which happens to be an approach for combining the data from different set of resources. Thus, representing it in a manner that is unified and coordinated.* Workflow programs a set of applications that modify procedures to some point and even require manual agreement / customization or modification of activities sometimes.The following functions are allowed to be performed at a higher level:* Data retrieval through any source and loading of components into any source with a defining workflow.* Carrying out a wide number procedures on the database including; calculation, conversion, etc.This was an overview of the SSIS platform therefore, proceeding to the concept of SSIS security measures is feasible now.The Concept of SSIS SecurityAlways using trusted mediums for launching the packages is one of the most important concepts of the SSIS Security measure. And prior to that, you must necessarily identity the source of package before opening it, which can be done by allotting certificates to packages.The Perks of It: Unauthorized access to the server’s sensitive data can be kept under control via allotting identity features to a package. Also, it guarantees control on the SQL Server package configuration.Even the logs, checkpoint files, and the configurations can be protected as well.The Package Information displayed via SSMS (SQL Server Management Studio) Integration Services is offered integrity and protection by the medium of this platform.A better understanding about the functional measures and features of the SSIS Security can be referred in the upcoming sections below.* Access On Package Data Components To Be Controlled: To limit or restrict access to package or its components, they are encrypted via “ProtectionLevel” property applied. Level of this type of security can be adjusted accordingly. Values get automatically encrypted for properties that are assigned to sensitive set of data by the IS (Integration Services). Only on providing the correct password, can an encrypted data be displayed.* Package Access To Be Controlled: SQL’s MSDB database or an XML file can be used for storing the IS Packages with file extension as .dtsx. In an MSDB database the “sysdtspackages” & “sysssispackages” for storing the package, tables are taken into usage. Thus, when database backup is created, associated packages automatically get backed up. In order to control access to these packages, three types of database roles are allotted to them:* Db_ssisadmin* Db_ssisltduser* Db_ssisoperatorTIP: In case the file system is used for package storing, make sure that file or folders containing the packages are secure completely.* Access to Packages Containing Files To Be Control: Information encapsulated within the log, checkpoint files, and configuration packages require being prevented and protected due to the sensitive nature they have. Some of the factors associated with the approach are:* Checkpoint file storage must only be done into the file system.* Storage of Logs and Config files can be done using; SQL DB Tables or the File System.* Extra provision of security is needed by the checkpoint files stored under file system.* IS Service Access To Be Controlled: “Windows Administrative” group members are assigned with package running access & stop roles. Meanwhile, users that are not member of the group are authorized to access or eliminate packages started only by them.Conclusion: Security is a matter of concern regardless of the platform being discussed about. And understanding the detailed aspects of the SSIS Security measure helps prevent the SQL Server packages from unofficial access.Disclaimer: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
Date published: 2017-07-04
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