Multi-Server Queries – a nice touch in SQL 2008

I have been testing SQL Server 2008 RC0 (Release Candidate Zero) that was made available recently and I must admit I am beginning to like it. Even the new logo is growing on me. There are many new features that I am just beginning to test out as new builds become available. One of those features is the Multi-Server Query in SQL Server Management Studio.

SQL Server 2005, being a five-year release, included many architecture changes across the board and famously had so many new features that, in order to fit them all on one PowerPoint slide, Microsoft had to use a 10-point font! Well, in the words of David Campbell, General Manager of SQL Server at Microsoft, the SQL Server 2008 release, nicknamed "Katmai", is a "14-point font" release!

When SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) came out in 2005 to replace Enterprise Manager and SQL Query Analyzer, I remember being skeptical at first with the new Visual Studio look and feel, but it didn't take too many days to win me over. The fact that you could connect to both 2005 and 2000 instances and administer them from a single tool definitely helped. Another feature I remember impressing me was the Change Connection option. In SQL Query Analyzer, if we had to run the same script against multiple servers, we would have to create a connection for the server then copy and paste the script into the new window then execute and do this as many times as there were servers. In SSMS 2005 all we had to do was to open the script and use the Change Connection button to switch to another server and execute. Much simpler.

Now in SSMS 2008, we have Multi-Server queries. All we have to do now is to make sure we have each of the servers registered in an SSMS Local Servers Group then right-click on the group and choose New Query. You will see confirmation at the bottom of the window (color coded in pink) that you are connected to multiple servers at the same time. Then specify a query and execute. One-stop shopping. And, yes, you can have a mixture of SQL 2000, 2005 and 2008 servers within a Local Servers Group.

To verify this, I registered three servers in SSMS 2008, one SQL Server 2000, one SQL Server 2005 and one SQL Server 2008. I then ran queries through the Multi-Server Query interface with a single click of the Execute button. And it worked!

Microsoft has recognized that most installations have multiple SQL Servers at different release levels so we need multi-server multi-release administration tools. This is one example. Another example is the DMF (Declarative Management Framework) which also supports multiple releases. We can talk more about that later.

In the mean time download RC0 and test it out. I think you'll like it.

Cheers

Brian

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