Devenius Software is offering a free tool to help you manage SQL Server encryption keys. Its called the SQL Encryption Assistant (Basic Edition), and it allows you to create, modify, and drop encryptions keys and certificates. There are two versions of the software, one each for SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008.
Devenius Software is also the company behind the website Snipstorm.com. This is a brand new community website where SQL Server DBAs can share snippets of their T-SQL code with other members of the community.
You have probably heard that the SQL Server 2008 R2 CTP is available, but you may not have given it a try yet because it is such a pain to download the huge install file, find a test server to run it on, and then install it. Under the best of conditions, this is at least a 3 hour job.
Now, if you want to check out the new features of SQL Server 2008 R2 (the August 2009 CTP), you can without going through all this hassle. Instead, you can go to www.sqlserverbeta.com, create a virtual instance of the software, and try it out, all for free.
All you have to do is fill out a short registration form, and shortly thereafter, you will have your own personal instance of SQL Server 2008 R2 to play and experiment with. So now, you don’t have any excuse to learn about, and try out for yourself, all the cool new features in R2.
This offer is sponsored by PASS, Microsoft, Dell, and MaximumASP.
Rodney Landrum, SQL Server MVP, is the author of the new book, The SQL Server Tacklebox: Essential Tools and Scripts for the Day-to-Day DBA. This 240 page book, and accompanying scripts, is chock full of advice for DBAs, from novice to experienced.
Whether you like it or not, as a SQL Server DBA or Developer, you will eventually have to learn about XML and XSD (XML Schema Definition Language). XML has become, and continues to grow, as a popular format for exchanging data. If you are not up to speed on this technology, check out the this free e-book by Jacob Sebastian called The Art of XSD: SQL Server Schema Collections.
I often get questions in e-mails, or at user group meetings, for advice on writing T-SQL database maintenance scripts. There seem to be a lot of DBAs who need more flexibility than what the Database Maintenance Wizard offers to perform database maintenance, which means they must user either T-SQL or PowerShell scripts in order to get this flexibility. Unfortunately, many of the DBAs who ask me this question don’t have a lot of time, or T-SQL experience, so they don’t know where to start.
The advice I generally give to them is to not reinvent the wheel, but to see what others have done, and to emulate them, especially to those DBAs with lesser experience. For example, the following websites offer T-SQL database maintenance scripts that are freely available for others to use with little or no modification, or to use as a learning tool in order to see how other DBAs have tackled this issue.
Greg Larsen, a SQL Server DBA, and the owner of the website SQLServerExamples.com, has released a free plug-in for SSMS called the SQL Server DBA Dashboard. The useful tool produces a multitude of reports to help both DBAs and Developers in their quest to see inside of SQL Server, and how it is performing.
SQL Server security expert, John Magnabosco, has just authored the new book, Protecting SQL Server Data, the first book of its kind to be devoted to the protection of SQL Server data using encryption.
Covering both SQL Server 2005 and SQL Server 2008, the book handholds the reader, step-by-step, throughout this entire topic, from beginning topics, all the way to the most advanced.
Below is a list of the chapters from the book:
Chapter 1: Understanding Sensitive Data
Chapter 2: Data Classification and Roles
Chapter 3: Schema Architecture Strategies
Chapter 4: Encryption Basics for SQL Server
Chapter 5: Cell-level Encryption
Chapter 6: Transparent Data Encryption
Chapter 7: One-way Encryption
Chapter 8: Obfuscation
Chapter 9: Honeycombing a Database
Chapter 10: Layering Solutions
If you have been shying away from learning about SQL Server encryption because of a lack of any good sources to learn about it, now you don’t have any excuse, especially since the book is available as a free eBook from Simple Talk Publishing and Red Gate Software.