Have you checked out the latest SQL Server Resource Kit shipping with the BackOffice 4.5 Resource Kit? Better hurry if you haven't! You're missing out on a valuable source of SQL Server information plus a slew of handy utilities. The resource kit spans a wide range of important topics, including:
- Performance Tuning
- Tools and Utilities
- Disaster Recovery
- Upgrading and Migrating
Some of the information in the SQL Server Resource Kit is more filler than content, but for the most part, you'll find practical and architectural information that will help you become a more skilled SQL Server professional. You'll also find 25 handy SQL Server utilities and a cornucopia of written content in the kit.
Log Shipper is probably one of the most valuable utilities you'll find. This tool provides a customizable foundation to automate the process of maintaining a warm backup server. Log Shipper is a transaction log-based replication scheme that relies on a scheduled pattern of backup, copy, and restore of transaction logs. The utility backs up Transaction logs for the primary database, copies the logs to a secondary location, and then restores them onto a secondary database. Log Shipper maintains the secondary database in a read-only state. You wouldn't issue transactions against the secondary database, but you'll be able to quickly recover your data in an emergency. This type of functionality is a handy addition to any clustering scheme, and it's essentially free. Technically, the resource kit isn't free, but is included with Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN), which many of you probably have.
While we're on the subject of great SQL Server information, you might want to check out http://www.microsoft.com/SQL/index.htm. This page lists many great SQL Server resources, including a list of 40 SQL Server 7.0 white papers.
That should be enough information to keep you busy for a week!