SQL Server Learning Tools and Support
Microsoft SQL Server TechCenter
If you are responsible for deploying or administering SQL Server, TechNet is Microsoft’s site for all things IT Pro. This is a great Microsoft resource for all the SQL Server tutorials you could need.
SQL Server Technical Certifications
The end game for IT folks should be their certifications. Nothing says "I know my stuff” more than a certification. Check out what's new in SQL Sever 2005 certifications.
Exams for SQL Server
You've taken SQL Server 2005 classes, read every SQL Server article and even tried some real deployments. Now evaluate your technical proficiency and go for certification with these exams.
SQL Server Books Online
Enhanced and fully searchable, SQL Server Books Online is more content rich than ever before. Download BOL here.
SQL Server Support Knowledge Base
Search the Microsoft support sites for useful content. You'll be surprised at what you find to help get your routine SQL Server tasks done.
Related Communities for SQL Server
Microsoft supplies links to related SQL Server communities at large. Browse through them here.
Getting Started with SQL Server 2005
Learning SQL Server 2005
Start learning about SQL Server 2005 with Microsoft's e-learning resources, found on the MSDN and Technet sites. Many of the lessons include virtual labs.
Learning Resources for Microsoft SQL Server 2005
Whether you are a SQL Server newbie or a seasoned pro, this Microsoft resource will explain how you can get and keep your skills.
SQL Server 2005 Features Comparison
This is an indispensable resource when deciding which version of SQL Server to purchase and deploy. Notice the subtle differences between Enterprise and Standard edition with regards to Analysis Services:
SQL Server 2005 Help and Support
Here’s a link to the SQL Server 2005 product support site. This basic service is free.
SQL Server 2005 Administration
SQL Server 2005 – Planning and Architecture
There are many and subtle considerations for deploying SQL Server 2005. This hefty 300-page article covers them all.
SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Technical Reference Guide
SQL Server administrators, developers and IT decision makers looking to
upgrade SQL Server 7.0 or 2000 databases to SQL Server 2005 can certainly use the guidance in this 350-page document. It outlines everything from prerequisites to downloads.
Database Mirroring in SQL Server 2005
Database mirroring is one new feature in SQL Server 2005 that requires some reading up. This article by Ron Talmage explains all you need to know to get started and do it right.
Windows Server System Reference Architecture Design Considerations for SQL Server 2005 High Availability
Microsoft has focused much energy in bringing affordable high availability solutions to the masses. This presentation will provide a useful overview of these high availability options.
SQL Server 2005 – Security and Protection
Focusing on security, there are many new features in SQL Server 2005 you must be aware of. This Microsoft resource will help you stay on top of various security enhancements in the new release.
Security Considerations for SQL Server
SQL Server 2005 includes various configurable security features to help you harden databases against specific security risks. This MSDN guide reviews these security settings.
SQL Server Integration Services
Probably the most interesting and active forums on Microsoft's site, the SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) Forum is hosted by the genius Donald Farmer, who answers many of the posts himself (amazing considering how busy he is)
SQL Native Client Data Access Blog
If you want to get geeky about data access, check out this blog. Discussions relate to all things regarding the SQL Server Native Client.
Project REAL -- Business Intelligence in Practice
Microsoft put a lot of effort into developing a scenario to illustrate best practices across various BI-related technologies. The SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) technology is particularly interesting. Check out ProjectReal to see the fruit of Microsoft's work.
SQL Server 2005 Development
SQL Server Developer Center: Analysis Services 2005 Processing Architecture
This article details exactly what happens in Analysis Services when it processes a cube. You will find it useful if you are trying to understand the XML/A related to cube processing.
SQL Server Developer Center: Partitioned Tables and Indexes in SQL Server 2005
A new data management technology called table partitioning is introduced in SQL Server 2005. This article provides a great overview.
SQL Server Protocols
Another great source for data access tips and insights is this MSDN resource, which highlights the SQL Server Data Access protocols. Developers would appreciate the attention.
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 JDBC Driver
While not for everyone, Microsoft has shipped a JDBC driver, downloadable here. It is a licensed technology from another vendor:
Microsoft SQL Server Native Client
Learn about the SQL Server Native Client, as it is the new default network connectivity protocol for SQL Server. This Microsoft resource is a great place to start.
SQL Server Webcasts
For some people, webcasts are a friendlier alternative to whitepapers. Some of the same material is covered here as in the whitepapers, but there's also a good deal of original content not available or discussed elsewhere.
MSDN Webcast: Advanced Report Authoring with Report Designer
Learn how to make Reporting Services do more with this webcast. You will feel like a genius after you show your customers the reports.
TechNet Webcast: Reporting Services: Designing and Deploying Secure Reports
If you are deploying Reporting Services and want the skinny, this is the article for you. Learn how to design and deploy secure reports in this TechNet webcast.