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on 16 December 2013

I have written a chapter-by-chapter review of this book on www DOT i-programmer DOT info, the first and last parts of this review follow:

This is a big book, with a very broad coverage of topics discussed over its 25 chapters. This fact itself tells you there is much more to SQL Server 2012 than simply T-SQL. As you might expect given the `professional' moniker of the title, this is not a book for beginners. Instead it is aimed at experienced DBAs and SQL developers.

Below is a chapter-by-chapter exploration of the topics covered.

Chapter 1 SQL Server 2012 Architecture
The chapter begins with an overview of the different types of admin users (production, development, business intelligent DBAs, and SQL developers) and the new features each may want to investigate. The underlying physical architecture is described in terms of database files, logs, filegroups and pages.

The various system databases are briefly described:
*resource database: contains critical internal system tables, metadata, and routines
*master database: contains metadata about the application databases
*tempdb: contains temporary objects and row versioning information
*model database: used as template when creating new application databases
*msdb database: contains a miscellany of information including SQL Agent job details, backup/restore data, and log shipping information

A miscellany of topics follows. The concept of schemas is discussed, as is synonyms. A long list of the various groups of Dynamic Management Views (DMVs) is given and briefly discussed. Various data types and their ranges/values are detailed. Creating your own data types and routines with the Common Language Runtime (CLR) is outlined. Feature lists for the various editions of SQL Server are given for comparison purposes. Lastly, licensing is featured, the big difference being previously it was socket-based but is now core-based, so potentially more expensive.

This chapter feels awkward, since it contains a wide range of topics, with sufficient depth for an introduction, but they are only loosely tied together. There are some good lists that could be useful for future reference.
This book has a very wide scope. It is generally easy to read, with a good balance between theory and step-by-step example walkthroughs, together with good use of screenshots. Most chapters have sufficient detail to take you from level 3 expertise to level 7 or 8 expertise (based on a 1 to 10 scale).

Although many topics are covered, it some ways the book felt lightweight - this is not really a fault of the book, rather that SQL Server 2012 is a big product (each chapter could probably be expanded to a whole book itself).
The physical grouping of chapters could have been better, with all related chapters being placed together (e.g. why is AlwaysOn not adjacent to the other High Availability chapters?). Additionally, an overview of the content of each group of chapters would have put the content into context, and prevented some repetition.

The links between the chapters could have been better, there are several areas where cross referencing of information would have been useful. This might have occurred because different authors were used to write the different chapters, but better editing should have compensated for this.

Although written for 2012, much is applicable to 2008 and even 2005. If you want a good, wide ranging, general SQL Server 2012 administration book, I can certainly recommend this book.
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on 31 October 2013
As a Lead dba in a very busy dot com, this book helps with all of the new features of SQL2012, highly recommended part of DBA's library.
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