MVA – SQL Server Essentials for Oracle DBAs

The Microsoft Virtual Academy has just released a free course covering SQL Server Essentials for Oracle DBA’s.

This is a Level 200 course containing 15 modules (each consisting of a video presentation, demos and a slide-deck) and while it’s intended to be delivered as a four-day workshop for Oracle DBA’s, the content in its entirety is a reference guide (rather than a mere guideline) and contains valuable information for any SQL Server professional.

Course Description

This course is to help Oracle database administrators (DBAs) leverage their skills and experience as an Oracle DBA to manage a SQL Server 2012 system.  It provides a quick start for the Oracle DBA to map, compare and contrast the realm of Oracle database management to SQL Server 2012 database management.

The content is a comprehensive course with descriptive reference material while the course itself focuses on introducing the concepts and providing hands-on learning. This course has been developed to extend the terminologies familiar to the Oracle DBA and relate those terminologies to the SQL Server world.

Course Presenter

Maciej Pilecki (@DrHouseOfSQL)

Maciej is a Microsoft Certified Master in SQL Server 2008, Microsoft Certified Trainer and former SQL Server Most Valuable Professional (MVP) who is an expert in cross-platform integration and interoperability between Oracle, MySQL and Microsoft SQL Server.

Course Modules

Module 1 – Database and Instance

Provides an understanding of the two major components of a database system.  Contains the following sections:

  • Schema and Data Structures
  • Storage Architecture
  • SQL Server Data Files
  • Logging model

Module 2 – Database Architecture

Goes in-depth into structure, components and contents of the files that constitute the database.  Contains the following sections:

  • SQL Server Instance Environment
  • Client interaction with Database and Instance
  • Database capacities

Module 3 – Instance Architecture

Discusses the memory and process architectures that are key to a database’s performance.  Contains the following sections:

  • Memory Architecture
  • Memory Address Space – Comparison
  • Monitoring memory usage
  • Process and Thread-Based architecture
  • Using the Resource Governor
  • Oracle client-database interaction
  • Comparing background processes

Module 4 – Data Objects

Examines in greater detail the schema objects introduced in Module 2.   Contains the following sections:

  • Reviewing large allocation units
  • Views comparison
  • Creating a table
  • Non-native data types

Module 5 – Data Access

Focuses on how data is accessed and manipulated by the clients.  Contains the following sections:

  • Structured query language
  • Control statements
  • Integrated full-text searching
  • Query optimization
  • Transaction management

Module 6 – Data Protection

Fulfils the twin tasks of protecting data against unauthorized access (database security) and also from the destructive interaction between authorized users working concurrently (concurrency control).   Contains the following sections:

  • Locking
  • Isolation level behaviors
  • Database security
  • Instance security

Module 7 – Basic Administration

Contains discussion on planning and installation of SQL Server.   Contains the following sections:

  • Installing SQL Server 2012
  • Server configuration
  • Database system
  • Database maintenance

Module 8 – Server Management

Discusses the administration of various types of resources such as system resources (such as memory, processes, storage, and so on) as well as low-level database resources (such as lock, latches, queues, and so on).   Contains the following sections:

  • Using the performance monitor
  • Managing storage
  • Locks and latches
  • Capturing deadlock information

Module 9 – Schema Management

Provides the administrative aspect of schema objects described in Module 4.   Contains the following sections:

  • Referential integrity via constraints
  • Managing triggers
  • Managing indexes
  • Managing views

Module 10 – Database Security

Continues the discussion of data protection initiated in Module 6.  Contains the following sections:

  • Managing privileges
  • Managing roles
  • Create logins and users

Module 11 – Data Movement

Examines the non-transactional mechanisms for moving data into and out of a database.  Contains the following sections:

  • Data transport
  • SQL Server Integration Services
  • SSIS data flow
  • Import/export wizard

Module 12 – Backup and Recovery

Lists the types of errors encountered in a database and the various mechanisms that are available to safeguard against these errors.  Contains the following sections:

  • Backup methods
  • Recovery model
  • Recovering from database errors
  • Maintenance plan backup

Module 13 – Performance Tuning

Is divided into two sections: tuning an instance and tuning an application.  Contains the following sections:

  • Application tuning
  • Instance tuning
  • Data compression
  • T-SQL hints
  • Plan guides

Module 14 – Scalability and High Availability

Provides a high-level overview of the scalability and high availability features available in each RDBMS.  Contains the following sections:

  • Clustering
  • Database mirroring
  • AlwaysOn
  • Replication – objects
  • Scalability

Module 15 – Monitoring

Shows the mechanisms by which the database can be monitored for availability, errors, and performance.  Contains the following sections:

  • Error logs
  • Error messages
  • Monitoring performance
  • Activity monitor

SQL Server 2012 SP 1 Breaks SQL Server Database Projects

After installing SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 you will discover that SQL Server Database Projects can no longer be opened (or created) using SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT).  The error presented when trying to open existing projects is:

Unable to open Database Project

This version of SQL Server Data Tools is not compatible with the database runtime components installed on this computer


(BTW, Clicking on the “Learn more…” and “Get the latest version of SQL Server Data Tools…” links at the bottom of the dialog returns “Page not Found” errors.)

To fix this problem you need to install SQL Server Data Tools – November 2012 update.  That said, when you now try and open an existing project/solution, you are advised that the project needs Migrating however no migration wizard is launched and there is no visible way of migrating the project.

To migrate your project you need to Right Click on the Project name and select “Reload Project”.


This will launch the “One-way Upgrade wizard” which converts your project into the latest version of SSDT.


Would be nice if SP 1 included the SSDT update and that the migration wizard automatically launched when opening a project.

AdventureWorks OData sample with Named Resource Streams

Derrick VanArnam (MSFT) has updated his AdventureWorks QueryFeed OData sample to show how to implement Named Resource Streams to stream AdventureWorks product images. In addition, the QueryFeed sample also illustrates how to select Named Resource Streams within a business workflow, and render a stream in a Word document.

Announcing the AdventureWorks OData Feed Sample

Derrick VanArnam (MSFT) has put together a great blog post on consuming an OData feed based on the AdventureWorks 2012 database.

The AdventureWorks OData service exposes resources based on specific SQL views. The SQL views are a limited subset of the AdventureWorks database that results in several consuming scenarios:

  • CompanySales
  • Documents
  • ManufacturingInstructions
  • ProductCatalog
  • TerritorySalesDrilldown
  • WorkOrderRouting

Well worth the read Smile


Certification: SQL Server 2012 Upgrade Exams are Now Available

The following SQL Server 2012 upgrade exam are now available:

Exam 70-457: Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 1

Exam 70-458: Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA: SQL Server 2012, Part 2

Exam 70-459: Transition Your MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 or MCITP: Database Developer 2008 to MCSE: Data Platform

Exam 70-460: Transition Your MCITP: Business Intelligence Developer 2008 to MCSE: Business Intelligence

A New Era in Microsoft Certification

Today Microsoft released details of it’s new certification program which is designed to address the growing need for IT Pros and Developers to have skill sets that run both broad and deep.

At first glance it appears that Microsoft has simply reintroduced acronyms used in previous certification streams (such as MCSD , MCSA and MCSE) however this isn’t so and it’s important to understand that these acronyms now represent new certification structures and requirements, not just a renaming of terminology.

So What Has Changed?

As you can see from the diagram below, the new certification program consists of three core levels:

  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) / Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)
  • Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

You will also notice that Microsoft has introduced recertification as a requirement of MCSD/MCSE level certifications.


Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Associate level certifications validate the core skills required to work with a technology at a beginners level.  They also represent the prerequisite certifications required to obtain Expert level certification. 

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) & Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD)

The Expert level is Microsoft’s flagship set of certifications validating that skills obtained are relevant in the constantly changing tech environment. The Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE) is the destination for established IT Professionals who have expertise working with Microsoft technology solutions.  The Microsoft Certified Solutions Developer (MCSD) is the destination for established Developers who have expertise developing solutions with Microsoft tools.

As previously stated, Microsoft has also introduced recertification as a requirement of this certification level.

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master (MCSM)

This certification is for the select few who wish to further differentiate themselves from their peers and achieve the highest level of skills validation.

Example: SQL Server 2012 Certification Path


Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA)

Prerequisite: No certification prerequisites exist however Microsoft recommends that candidates have at least 2 years experience with the technology being tested.

There are three exams required to obtain the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification:

SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Path

Please Note: SQL Server 2008 certification exams will be retired in July 2013 and exams 70-457 and 70-458 are expected to be available by August 2012.

Candidates who have achieved an MCTS on SQL Server 2008 will be able to earn the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification by passing two exams:

Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert (MCSE)

Prerequisite: MCSA: SQL Server 2012

The MCSE level consist of two platforms (Data and Business Intelligence) and there are two exams (per platform) required to achieve MCSE certification:

MCSE: Data Platform: 

MCSE: Business Intelligence Platform:

SQL Server 2008 Upgrade Path

Please Note: SQL Server 2008 certification exams will be retired in July 2013 and exams 70-457, 70-458, 70-459, and 70-460 are expected to be available by August 2012.

Candidates who have achieved an MCITP on SQL Server 2008 will be able to earn an MCSE: Data Platform or MCSE: Business Intelligence Platform certification by passing three exams.  This upgrade path will also earn the candidate the MCSA: SQL Server 2012 certification.

MCITP: Database Administrator 2008 / MCITP: Database Developer 2008

MCITP: Business Intelligence 2008

Microsoft Certified Solutions Master

The MCSM level consist of two platforms (SQL Server and Intelligence):

MCSM: Data Platform

Prerequisite: MCSE: Data Platform

  • Exam 986: MCSM Data Platform Knowledge
  • Exam 986: MCSM Data Platform Lab

Full requirements are still being finalised.  More information can be found at

MCSM: Intelligence

Prerequisite: MCSE: Business Intelligence Platform

  • Full requirements are still being finalised however this level of certification will require the completion of Lab-based and Technical exams

Microsoft Certified Architect

Prerequisite: MCSM: SQL Server and MCSM: Intelligence

MCA: SQL Server

  • Full requirements are still being finalised

Offers and Promotions

Microsoft, in conjunction with Prometric, has released the following offer and promotion to assist candidates with achieving MCSA and/or MCSE certification.

Certification SKU Offer

If you purchase a set of exams to achieve MCSA or MCSE certification, you will receive a 15-20% discount (depending on the number of exams in the set) off the purchase price.

Two-for-One Promotion

Purchase and take a full-priced exam before 30 June 2012 and you will receive, at no cost, a voucher valid for a MCSA or MCSE exam in the same technology.  More information about this offer can be found here.

Additional Information

Microsoft Certification overview page:

Microsoft Certification overview video:

MCSE information page:

MCSE video on YouTube:

MCSE Data Platform:

MCSE Business Intelligence:

The New MCSAs and MCSEs, Your Questions Answered:


Free Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 eBook Now Available

2012The final version of Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012 by Ross Mistry (@RossMistry) and Stacia Misner (@StaciaMisner), is now available. 

Although this book expects readers to have an understanding of SQL Server from a database administrator and business-intelligence perspective, anyone who has an interest in SQL Server will find its content valuable as it provides insight into new and improved capabilities of 2012 as they apply to achieving mission-critical confidence, breakthrough insight, and using a cloud on your terms.

The  PDF version of this book can be download from here (288 pages; 10.8 MB) and a hardcopy is also available for purchase from here (US$14.99).


1.   SQL Server 2012 Editions and Engine Enhancements

2.   High-Availability and Disaster-Recovery Enhancements

3.   Performance and Scalability

4.   Security Enhancements

5.   Programmability and Beyond-Relational Enhancements


6.   Integration Services

7.   Data Quality Services

8.   Master Data Services

9.   Analysis Services and PowerPivot

10.   Reporting Services

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