Month: May 2009

We have several new training servers where I work running Windows 2008 and SQL Server 2008. They are the only production machines we have running SQL 2008, and though they work fine, my experience with the latest version of SQL Server has made me wonder why anyone would be eager to upgrade from 2005.

I don’t know what major new features went into SQL 2008, but I do know one big thing that changed in Management Studio and it’s not good. I present exhibit A: the activity monitor. Previous versions of SQL Server had a place where you could see all the processes running on the server. It was handy because you could quickly tell who had locks on what database, find out if there were any processes that were blocking or being blocked, and you could end a process that couldn’t be ended through natural means. Yet somehow Microsoft decided that was all too simple.

First they moved it out of the object explorer and into the context menu of the database server itself, where nobody would think to look. I had to turn to Google to determine how you open it. Then once you start it you’re greeted with one of the worst user interfaces I’ve ever seen. You have to click on the Processes pane to show processes. All the columns of information are in one fixed-width grid with no horizontal scroll bar, so if you want to widen one it will come at the expense of narrowing another. And there are 16 columns! They have filter options in the column headers that dynamically allow you to filter by values in the column, which is all well and good, but the headers are more clunky than anything else. And finally, the grid defaults to only using about a third the vertical space of the window, and that’s all you get.

In short, it’s horrible and evil. I’m amazed that they would take something that was so easy to use and make it so unpleasant. Maybe I haven’t spent enough time with it,and maybe it’s due to the fact that we have the Express version, but if it’s really no more than what I’ve seen, I pray there will be some other tools out there that can show you the same information in a much better package.

Musing