One DBA's Ongoing Search for Clarity in the Middle of Nowhere


Yet Another Andy Writing About SQL Server

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Little Feature Self-Deprecation

The buzz started yesterday, with the rumblings about Database Mirroring showing up on the "Features Not Supported in a Future Version of SQL Server" list for SQL Server 2012 in the wake of the release of AlwaysOn, with multiple blogs and tweets about it (including a blog from your truly here.)

...and then this morning I noticed this innocent tweet from Grant Fritchey (@GFritchey):

I went out and checked the list, and sure enough, Profiler is listed on the "Future Version" list as well, meaning it will be supported in 2012 and 2012+1, but may or may not be supported in 2012+2:

Ah, the continued rise of Extended Events (and by extension, Jonathan Kehayias (@SQLPoolBoy)).  Just another reason that learning about Extended Events should be way up there on everyone's list of things you *have* to learn.

This piqued my interest to continue examining the Deprecation lists, starting with the "Discontinued Database Engine Functionality in SQL Server 2012" list of features that are removed in SQL Server 2012.

The one that made me chuckle was this one:

All I could hear in my head was "Get a real O/S!"(Apologies to all of my brothers and sisters stuck with legacy 32-bit applications...)  {-:

Most of the other Discontinued Features seemed relatively innocuous - we do receive lots of notice these things are coming after all - although this one gets my award for the change most likely to break people's code:

No more *=/=* JOIN's - about time.

I moved on to the "Features Not Supported in the Next Version of SQL Server" list - features that are supported in 2012 but that will be removed in the next version after 2012 (2012+1).  The largest single batch of changes have to do with the long-anticipated drop of support for remote servers:

We have had linked servers since at least SQL Server 2000 and the noise that remote servers would go away "eventually" has been around for some time - and that time will be 3 or 4 years.

Then there's the recommendation I dislike the most:

I don't mind the death of sqlmaint, but why recommend maintenance plans?  Why?  Why can't they do this:

Ah to dream (If you aren't familiar with the Hallengren SQL Server Maintenance Solution, you should be - numerous write-ups exist on the web, and Ola's documentation is thorough - check it out!)

The "Features Not Supported in a Future Version of SQL Server" list is significantly longer (as it always is) - these features are in 2012, and will be in 2012+1 as well (and potentially in many versions after that, but there are no guarantees); they are simply identified as features that will go away....someday.

This list is where database mirroring shows up:

Remember - being on the "Future Version" list means mirroring will exist at least in 2012 and 2012+1, but start considering now whether AlwaysOn will work for you instead.  The big catch in 2012 is that AlwaysOn is an Enterprise-Only feature (YUCK!) while mirroring works in Standard Edition.  There is significant online conversation about whether AlwaysOn will become a Standard Edition feature in 2012+1 to pave the way for the removal of mirroring, but we won't know that for another 3-4 years when the editions and feature lists for SQL 2012+1 are announced.

Another interesting entry on the "Future Version" list relates to backing up directly to Tape devices:

...but how may of us have local tape drives any more?  (Maybe more than Microsoft thinks.)

Many of the entries on the "Future Version" list relate to the apparent desire on the SQL Server team to remove the "classic" sp_xxxxx command formats in favor of extra load on the CREATE/ALTER/DROP commands, such as the following (not an exhaustive list):

...there are also several DBCC commands impacted in a similar way (at least they will be impacted someday):

...and of course Microsoft's ever present threat to force everyone to invest heavily in replacement semicolon keys for their keyboards (since we will all wear them out if they ever actually implement this):

What does all of this mean?

If you are still using non-ANSI (*=) join syntax, STOP.

Learn about Extended Events, DMV's, and although it wasn't mentioned above, Powershell.  All three of these have been Microsoft's general direction with SQL Server for some time, and it wouldn't surprise me if any or all of them are part of the next big paradigm shift with SQL Server (comparable to DTS >> SSIS.)

Look up the deprecation lists at the links I provided above and read them yourselves - they are each only a few pages - because you never know what change might be on the list that is seemingly minor to all of the bloggers like me and therefore not mentioned by us, but that will single-handedly break your production payroll, door access, or medical records system.  Knowledge is Power!

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