Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 – a business overview for software developer


I am a certified SQL 2005 Technology Specialist. While this means a lot from a professional point of view, the new technologies come toward us, developers, too fast sometimes. It is quite a while since SQL 2008 was launched, and now SQL 2008 R2 brings its novelties. One good developer must keep up to date with its skills, otherwise the quality and quantity of his or hers work will suffer. New technologies means usually more productive developers – and I wish to stay on the wave instead under it.

When the invitation to this workshop came into my e-mail I knew that I must go. Since for us, Microsoft Student Partners, were some places reserved, I couldn’t resist and I enrolled for this – the event was booked for 7 February.

For me, it had an additional bonus: this talk was completely given in German, so I looked forward also for my language skills improvement.

It proved to be a very good idea – Not only that I got the update of my knowledge on SQL 2005 to 2008, but I learned a lot on SQL Azure, the new version of it.

We started at 10 am with a overview of SQL Server 2008 R2 and learned what is in it for me as power user / developer of Microsoft SQL Server. Then the presentation moved into the direction of efficiency both in dev time and fast running operations, evaluation of the technical potential of new version of SQL 2008 and then a little bit of marketing to our customers – learning about cost-benefit ratio and of course how can they can save money, time, server capacity by using the improvements in this new release.

The next point in the workshop was about Project Gemini, a new feature in SQL Server 2008 R2, which enable Excel users to use real Self-Service Business Intelligence. Users who are more confortable to use Excel are now able to import directly data from different sources, create relations and then they can share and evaluate interactive pivot tables and charts – and this is possible even when using huge data sets. There are also a lot of improvements in other areas like Reporting Services, Master Data Services.

Another technology that I found very interesting was Stream Insight, which enables users to create streams of event data. This data can be acquired from different sources such as RFID, sensors and web logs across different businesses in manufacturing, financial services and utilities.

We continued on the soft skills side – understanding the customer and his expectations in the context of the new introduced features – how to create the best solution for a given business based on SQL Server 2008 R2. That included a small talk about how to draw the architecture from the customer’s point of view and set the right expectations of the customer.´

Then we dived lightly (after all, most of us were developers, but to add to my skills a little experience in consultancy is not bad) in to the know-how required to architect a solution based on the needs and particularities the partner and also a some hints for leaders on what expertise should build your developers.

I left with a big bag of new knowledge and my only regret was that it was just one day event!