MICROSOFT HAS BEEN BUSY AGAIN. AS I was finishing Chapter 12, which was to be the last chapter of this book, the SQL Server team at Microsoft released the second beta of new versions of SQL Server and ADO. While I won't be able to offer many concrete examples that are guaranteed to work on the new version, I think it's important to discuss where Microsoft is taking its database technology. Although this book is supposed to be about ADO, we really can't ignore the innovations brought about by the folks in Microsoft's data-access development shops. One of the most significant changes we're witnessing is the apparent devolution of ADO and data-access interfaces like ADO. Yes, this means that once the tools arrive to support the new paradigms, you might find it makes sense to use newer data-access interfaces instead of ADO, especially when connecting via the Web. In this light, I suspect that you're interested in how you, as a developer, will be impacted by these changes. That's what this chapter is all about.
SQL Server 2000 is different. It has changed almost as much as SQL Server 7.0 changed from SQL Server 6.5. SQL Server 2000 (SS2K) reflects a tremendous amount of work that has been done to improve scalability. The briefings I attended made it clear that Microsoft is serious about taking the lead in NT and SQL Server markets, where millions of operations per second is a business requirement, not just a marketing check-off feature. SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition offers scalability and availability up to the highest levels of the enterprise by taking full advantage of up to 64GB of RAM and up to 32 processors, supporting four-node failover clustering out of the box with Windows 2000 Data Center. The new TPC-C and SAP benchmarks clearly show that SQL Server has taken the lead on two fronts—raw performance and cost/TPC. This means SQL Server is faster, far faster, than its next closest competitor (over 250,000 TPS) and far, far cheaper to implement (about $19/TPS).
A primary focus of the SS2K enhancements seems to be e-commerce and the Web, but more traditional client/server implementations also benefit from these improvements. This means far more ways to implement client/server, Web-based, and middle-tier applications. In addition, TSQL has added a number of new XML and programmatic features that radically change how you can approach data access solutions. I'll give you a brief look at these paradigms, but until they are cast in stone, we can't really depend on any examples we might create with the beta. This chapter will help you prepare your SQL Server 7.0 designs, keeping these features in mind.
TPC-C is an independently created and certified set of (rigorous) benchmarks that help in comparing various competing database engines on an apples-to-apples basis. These tests measure performance in "transactions per second" or TPS.