On Thursday myself and Dave (the Madgex DBA) headed off to the Microsoft offices in Victoria to attend the SQL Server User Group meeting which was the launch event for SQL Server 2008.

There were 2 key speakers (blurb taken from an email from SQL Server User Group):

  • Jasper Smith did the first stint on Admin stuff. He’s been an MVP for quite a while and has until recently been working at Nationwide. His blog can be found here and his website here. He’s got some great utilities like server manager for vista and Reporting Services scripter.
  • Simon Sabin did the last session on dev stuff. He is also an MVP and is a freelance consultant and works as part of SQL Know How and SQL Skills. His blog can be found here.
Bruce posted a link to the Dev Team earlier this week which covers a lot of the same ground, 10 reasons why SQL Server 2008 is going to rock, and so I'm going to use this as a starter and just supplement it with the additional areas covered.
  • Database encryption – another enterprise only tool. You can now encrypt a database against a user defined key (stored as a certificate on the filing system). This will also result in tempdb being encrypted. When encrypted the mdf and ldf files are also encrypted, as are backups.
  • Debugging has improved in the Management studio, can debug through a series of statements not just stored procedures.
  • Using Inline variable assignment you can use a rowset to insert multiple data items in one line – Insert into values (1), (2), (3) – at the back end this gets translated into a union statement (see more here).
  • Merge is introduced (finally) – see here for some posts about it. But the short version is the ability to do
    Merge Into
    When matched then
      Update set
    When target not matched then

    Basically doing an insert and update in one statement. Merge is deterministic, and appears to be quicker but mileage may vary.
  • CLR now handles larger data types (> 8000 bytes)
Another good evening, this time complete with pizza and beer.
Update: Simon has posted a follow-up containing the answers to questions he didn't get time to answer.