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on 8 January 2011
I was looking for a text that would help me prepare for Microsoft exam 70-453 to update my existing SQL Server 2005 MCITP to SQL Server 2008. This book provides a good starting point with good coverage of the exam objectives. I appreciated the real world insights and could identify with much of what the author related to. Please be aware that using this book alone will not prepare you fully for the exam.

What was good;
- the handy tips and tricks littered throughout the book
- the real world experience and application
- the technical accuracy of the material (there are errors, but very few compared to other technical texts)
- the focus and attention given to security (this was not all related to SQL Server)
- identifying significant differences between SQL 2000, 2005, and 2008
- bonus practice exams and PDF version of the book

What could be improved;
- More focus on what is now available with SQL 2008 Release 2
- Deeper coverage on using certificates, keys, and the different encryption methods supported by SQL Server
- Expansion on replication techniques and recommended best practice e.g. peer-to-peer replication rather than merge with updating subscribers
- More detail around File Stream implementation

I would definitely recommend this book. For those taking certification exams; use this book and deep dive by referencing MS Books On-Line, TechNet, and the various webcasts, blogs, and specialist SQL Server websites and forums. Finally, try plenty of practice questions.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 29 March 2012
This is one of the better books to give an introductory-level approach of all aspects or SQL Server 2008, but does lack in some areas.

What I found particularly good is the approach of using both SQL Server tools and Windows Server (the Operating System) tools together. Most books I have don't cover the actual OS too, and showing you how to monitor SQL Server through the OS was rather well done.
In some area it did lack in details quite badly. For example, at the start of the book it mentions the features of FileStream and Change Data Capture but then never covers them at all. The section on database mirroring shows how to create endpoints, but none of the other steps to get this working - hardly a worthwhile explanation.
Some of the tools and options mentioned weren't quite correct - a couple of tools have been superseded and other bits looked like they must have been taken from a beta version of SQL Server, but on the whole I'm glad I used this book.

It has left me needing to examine a couple of areas in more detail but it has filled in a lot of gaps I encountered from other material.
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on 10 November 2011
This is not a good buy for any SQL Server DBA (I am one). The text is not well-organised, the information is scattered and lacks detail. The book is clearly written to pass the exams rather than impart useful information to the DBA. The 'bonus' mock exams are frankly crap, with inaccurate answers in two or three cases! (The given answer choice didn't even match the explanation!) There's only one 'bonus' mock exam per course (two in total).

I would avoid this book and go for either the Microsoft Training Kits for each exam (which have mixed reviews too), or my favourite - Professional SQL Server 2008 Internals and Troubleshooting, collectively written by a range of DBAs with years of experience.

Avoid this book like the plague!
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on 9 September 2013
The book is an excellent source of reference for a fairly complicated subject. Well written and easy to find information.
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on 6 November 2010
Some of the questions on the CD have the wrong answers which is obviously not a good thing in book that you are meant to be learning from.

Mostly it is a very good book. I have my exam in 2 weeks time so I guess I will know how good then.

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