Ace Your SQL Server 2005 MCTS Exam
Review by Brad M. McGehee
Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance:
Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-431)
By Solid Quality Learning
992 Pages. Microsoft Press. $59.99.
No matter how much I think I know a subject, I always like to prepare before taking a Microsoft certification test. My philosophy is I would rather be over prepared than under prepared to take the test.
With the release of SQL Server 2005 come three new certification programs and brand new tests. The new SQL Server 2005 certifications include:
- IT Professional: Database Developer.
- IT Professional: Database Administrator.
- IT Professional: Business Intelligence Developer.
See www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/mcitp/ for more information on the 2005 certification options.
“Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Implementation and Maintenance Self-Paced Training Kit,” focuses on Exam 70-431, which is one of the core tests you will want to take.
For more information on this exam, see www.microsoft.com/learning/exams/70-431.asp.
This 992-page book is packed with information you need to master to pass the test, along with real world examples from the team of authors, exercises to be performed with SQL Server 2005, quick check questions to reinforce your learning, lesson reviews, and chapter review questions. In addition, the book includes a 15% exam discount voucher, practice questions you run on your computer, a 180-day evaluation copy of SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, and a searchable e-book. If you should decide to take advantage of every tool provided by this book, you could easily spend a month or so doing everything found in it.
Here are the topics that are covered:
- Installing SQL Server 2005.
- Configuring SQL Server 2005.
- Creating Tables, Constraints, and User-Defined Types.
- Creating Indexes.
- Working with Transact-SQL.
- Creating Partitions.
- Implementing Views.
- Managing XML Data.
- Creating Functions, Stored Procedures, and Triggers.
- Working with Flat Files.
- Backing Up, Restoring, and Moving a Database.
- Using T-SQL to Manage Databases.
- Working with HTTP Endpoints.
- Working with SQL Server Agent Jobs.
- Monitoring and Troubleshooting SQL Server Performance.
- Managing Database Snapshots.
- Implementing Database Mirroring.
- Implementing Log Shipping.
- Managing Replication.
- Working with the Service Broker.
- Creating Full-Text Catalogs.
As you can see, this is a lot of information. But here’s the kicker. Even after you fully read this book, it still does not provide you with everything you need to know. The parts that are missing are the core basics that the book’s authors already assume you know.
In other words, the book’s authors already assume you know a lot about SQL Server, including the basics of T-SQL, XML, and essential database concepts. If you don’t already have a good SQL Server background (2000 or 2005), you will find a lot of this book hard to follow. On the other hand, if you already have a good SQL Server background, then this book should be a good guide to review with before taking the test.
If you already have a solid SQL Server foundation, I would recommend that you read the content, take the practice tests, and if a topic is new to you (such as database mirroring) then try out those exercises. Many of the exercises are basic and experienced DBAs will not need to do them.
One of the things I really liked about this book was its emphasis on performance tuning, which is often ignored in lots of other books. I also really liked the chapters written by Mike Hotek. He’s probably one of the most expert DBAs living today. He is also a good writer, and if you get a chance to see him speak at a conference, you will want to attend his session. Some of the other chapters by the other authors, especially those on XML and T-SQL, were weak.
In any event, I recommend the book to anyone who wants to take the 70-431 exam. Just don’t assume that it will teach you everything you need to know. If you are new to SQL Server in general, be sure you read some other basic books on administration and T-SQL, along with getting as much hands-on experience you can get, before you read this book and attempt the test.]]>