Feeds

Windows experiment meets the bottom line

Resist anything but temptation

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Project Watch: Microsoft 2008 This project I began writing about in late January, the prototyping of a large database project using the latest versions of a Microsoft software stack, has been an unusual exercise.

Unusual because, from the start, both the executive and the technical personnel were fully co-operative throughout the entire undertaking. The starting point was an existing SQL Server 2005 database running on top of Windows Server 2003.

Both the executive and technical sides agreed that SQL Server 2008 had significant advantages for this particular project. Every group will identify its own killer functionality or functionalities, but for us these were the spatial data types and file streaming.

We were aware that other database engines also offer spatial data types - both DB2 and Oracle do - but a change of engine was not an option. The level of disruption that an engine change would entail was deemed unacceptable, and it seemed likely that the pain would outweigh the gain.

Having decided to prototype the move to SQL Server 2008, though, we then resolved to go the whole hog and move to Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 at the same time.

What madness was this, moving to products so new they hadn't even launched? Well, we knew Windows Server 2008 was coming shortly, Visual Studio 2008 was already out and SQL Server 2008 was due with Windows Server 2008. SQL Server 2008 was later pushed back to the third quarter of the year.

We knew if we could make this work, though, then the entire set-up should be stable for the next two to three years at least. The development team was keen to go ahead - we all love new toys, after all - and the executive team reasoned the experience gained would benefit the project over the two to three year period.

Now the project is complete, it will - in the fullness of time - go live with about 1TB of data and to several thousand users. It is being used in its prototype form by a small subset of users who report that it is already delivering invaluable insight into the data.

Where was the horror typically associated with migration, where was the pain? I was expecting - not to say looking forward - to writing about the hair-tearing frustrations and incandescent rages attendant upon working with Microsoft's community technology previews (CTPs) and early releases of new software. But it was not to be.

Apart from the software installation the project has been pretty much drama-free: the operating system hasn't crashed, the database hasn't crashed, stuff just works. As a developer, I am delighted the project has gone so well.

There seem to be good indications that Microsoft is beginning to take its CTPs relatively seriously, at least for its high-end server products.

Of course not everything is perfect - there are bugs, some of the functionality is not yet in place in the CTP software - but there's nothing at all out of the ordinary about such imperfections. The news is all good when viewed in a broader context.

This series of Project Watch was intended to let people observe the migration to an all-new software stack from a safe distance, see what worked and what didn't; and ultimately help them to decide whether to follow suit.

The bottom line from our experience is this: if you are happily using SQL Server 2005 (or some other database engine) and can see no killer features in SQL Server 2008, don't rush to change. If you are tempted by SQL Server 2008's new features and potential benefits as both our technical and management teams were, then - unequivocally - the time is right to go ahead and start prototyping.®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Cloudy CoreOS Linux distro declares itself production-ready
Lightweight, container-happy Linux gets first Stable release
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?