Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tracking database schema changes - why and how

There are many scenarios that highlight the need for tracking changes to the database schema – security, auditing and performance issues often require that you be able to pinpoint what changed when in the database schema. An index may have been dropped, a stored procedure may have been changed, a trigger may have been added and so on, and any one of those changes, however “small”, could have huge un-intended consequences from performance degradation to loss of data integrity and more.

Why can’t we use the daily full database backups to always go back and figure out what changed when – after all the database backup does not only capture the data but it also captures the database schema? Yes, BUT:
- full database backups are in many cases only available for the last few days / weeks and you are not able to go back beyond that period;
- it takes a long time to let say restore 20 different versions of a large database and figure out what changed in the schema from one version to the other
in short, even if it is possible it is not practical.

A nifty feature in xSQL Object called “schema snapshot” addresses this issue in very elegant and practical way – it allows you to take snapshots of the database schema that:
- capture 100% of the database structure – not the data, just the schema;
- have a very small footprint thus enabling you to store them forever – the database itself could be in the tenths or hundreds of Gigabytes in size whereas the schema snapshot could be a few Kilobytes in size;
- can be compared with each other and with the live database instantly without having to restore anything – instead of taking days restoring and comparing trying to track down a change you can do that in minutes using the snapshots.

xSQL Object is free for SQL Server Express with no limitations and is also free for other editions of SQL Server as long as the number of objects in the database does not exceed certain limits that you can find here…

Friday, July 4, 2008

There is still time to get your RSS Reporter license for free

It's about 10 am EST right now which means there are about 12 hours left to claim your free RSS Reporter license.

RSS Reporter for SQL Server is a great little utility that allows you to generate aggregate RSS feeds containing job status information from multiple SQL Servers eliminating the need for the annoying email alert notifications. A really cool feature is also the ability to right any T-SQL query and with a click of a button generate a standard RSS feed containing the results of that query.

To claim your free license go to: --this offer is no longer valid--

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

4th of July celebration - huge software giveaway

In celebration of the 4th of July we are giving away 1000 RSS Reporter licenses worth $99 each. You can read the details here: --this offer is no longer valid-- but hurry the offer is limited to the first 1000 people and it expires at the end of the day on July 4, 2008.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Script database – schema and data together

Scripting a SQL Server database schema is a fairly trivial task if the dependencies between the objects are ignored. The trouble is that if you generate a schema script on server A and try to execute it on server B to create a copy of that database you will soon realize how critical those dependencies are – the script will simply fail to execute.

That’s where xSQL Object and xSQL Data Compare come in – both of those tools allow you to script an individual object in the database or the whole database schema and the script you get is properly ordered respecting the dependencies between objects so that it executes flawlessly.

Furthermore, those tools allow you to script the data as well or you can script both the schema and the data in one place. Scripting both schema and data together is very cool as it allows you to transfer a whole database from one server to another even if you can’t use a backup and restore. For example, you have a database hosted on a web server somewhere and you can execute T-SQL scripts against the database but you don’t have access on the server to be able to place a copy of your database backup which you can then restore. No worries, you simply generate a schema and data script of the whole database and execute that on the target server and there, you have transferred the whole database.

Best part: the scripting functionality included in the xSQL Object and xSQL Data Compare is completely free – no limitations, no expiration.