Whilst I am here in the good old US of A I am catching up on a bit of my light reading. A trip to the states would not be complete without a trip to Microcenter Computer & Electronics as they have such a fantastic collection of geek candy and a great book section to boot.

After drooling over an endless stream of Laptops and Netbooks and having a good old chin wag with the staff there I ended up in the book section and found on the shelves the book I have been looking for. Finally an update (although this one is not Microsoft Press) to the bible that was and still is SQL Server 2000 Performance Tuning and Optimization*.

* I need to double check on this link when I get back to Oz as they might have changed the title to what I have on the bookshelf at home

So the sequel (as I shall call it) is Professional SQL Server 2008 – Internals and Troubleshooting from Wrox Press and is exactly the update I have been looking for. Literally for 3 or 4 years now. This little companion would have helped at work no end the last couple of weeks and I think the benefit of it will be reaped in the months ahead.

It starts off nice and fluffy and I have to say so far is very well written. Chapter 1 covers SQL Server Architecture and goes through the life-cycle of a query which is an excellent chapter for people new to SQL Server who want to get an appreciation for what goes on underneath the hood.

Chapter 2 then covers memory from both a SQL Server and Windows perspective so you can really understand what is going on. We have moved on from fluffy now and we are in to the hardcore (not XXX) stuff. You will learn about AWE, memory nodes, clerks, caches and the buffer pool.

SQL Server 2008 Internals and TroubleshootingChapter 3 covers SQL Server Waits and Extended Events. It talks about the benefits of reviewing them, how they occur and what they mean. It then goes on to cover a new feature of SQL Server 2008 called Extended Events and how they can be used to get a deeper look in to what waits are occurring for individual tasks and why.

Chapter 4 is one that I always loved about the old MS Press book and it is about Working with Storage. Hopefully we all know by now if we work with SQL Server how important the disk storage sub-system is and what a radical effect this has on performance. If you don’t then this is the chapter for you, it will explain it all. You can even talk with confidence about the difference between a SAN and DAS and where each is appropriate.

I am not going to go on and on about each of the chapters in this book as if you have gotten this far, I am sure you would rather check out the book for yourself, and probably have already :-)

I will say one last word (well a few sentences actually) on the fact that a large portion, probably 2/3 of this book covers purely troubleshooting and how to use the tools that Microsoft have provided to aid in your troubleshooting efforts. This also includes a tool I had not heard of before this book called RML Utilities for Stress Testing and Trace File Analysis. The author claims that these tools will help you draw conclusions in seconds; conclusions that would have been unbelievably laborious to reach in the past, so I look forward to that chapter.