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SQL 7 Training
A Class Act: Hands-on with SQL 7

By Douglas Gantenbein

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SQL Server

The software developers at Global Technology Business Services Inc., a Cleveland-based supplier of software to the medical industry, were eager to switch their database systems to Microsoft's soon-to-be-released SQL Server 7.0.

But they also needed a quick look at how to implement the powerful new database program, which promises improved ease-of-use, greater power and more flexibility for database administrators.

SQL image So in late September five of them took part in one of hundreds of one-day training seminars being offered nationwide for Microsoft.

They came away impressed.

"We wanted to get a jump on how to implement SQL Server 7.0," says Bill Polewchak, an analyst and developer with Global Technology. "The class really was a help."

A bargain, too. The full day of hands-on work was only $99 hundreds less than the typical $350 price for such a seminar. But Microsoft hopes that the price and the opportunity to learn more about SQL Server 7.0 will attract as many as 15,000 IT professionals in the U.S. between now and next June.

The SQL Server 7.0 seminars are being held at 220 Microsoft Certified Technical Education Centers in the United States and worldwide. Their aim is to give database professionals the ability to make a smooth transition to SQL Server 7.0 and improve the value of their investment in this new, powerful database.

The classes are designed to give participants a chance to work hands-on with SQL Server 7.0.

Polewchak's class, for instance, was taught by Glenn Johnson. He is an Advanced Education Group technical manager for Xerox Connect in Cleveland.

Using course materials provided by Microsoft, he put his 12 students through a fast-paced day of short lectures on SQL Server 7.0 followed by hands-on practices with tasks such as creating and managing files and databases, publishing data on the Web, backing up and restoring systems and automating administrative tasks.

"We really crunched it," says Polewchak. "We even took a working lunch. But we covered a lot of ground." Adds Brian Stoneburner, systems coordinator for a company based in Kent, Ohio that manufacturers wiring harnesses for heavy equipment: "It was very enjoyable, very informative and the instructor was excellent. What I leaned about SQL Server 7.0 certainly makes the technology look promising."

The group in Johnson's class represented the typical mix of people who will benefit from the seminars: developers, database administrators and IT workers who want to get a flavor for SQL Server 7.0.

Nancy Lewis, general manager for worldwide training and certification at Microsoft, says the classes are aimed at:Systems administrators who are evaluating database software.Network administrators who want to expand their skill set.Database operators already using SQL Server 6.5.Database professionals who have not had formal training on SQL and want to plug some gaps in their knowledge.

SQL Server 7.0 is designed to make it easier for businesses to build and manage databases for e-commerce, mobile computing and data warehousing.

It's also designed to be easier to use, with tools such as advanced alerting capabilities and new auto-configuration features. "On the Web, having the freshest data is critical," says David Lord, CEO of Holt Outlet, a Web-based retailer of children's toys that has become one of the Web's biggest e-commerce success stories.

"The biggest bottleneck is the database. Our testing shows that SQL Server 7.0 makes a huge difference in handling complex queries." The new products scalability and ease-of-use also have impressed Lord. "We already have several hundred gigabytes of data, and that's growing daily," he says. "So scalability and performance are really important to us."

The final release of SQL Server 7.0 will be available near the end of the year. The beta 3 version is available now to anyone who registers at www.microsoft.com/sql/beta.

Based the early response, demand for the SQL Server 7.0 classes will be strong. "Word got out about it, and 'boom!,' it was full," says Glenn Johnson. "And the feedback on the course that came back to us was really positive."

Certainly Polewchak and his fellow students came away impressed with the class and anxious to implement the Microsoft SQL Server 7.0. "Anybody who takes the class and then doesn't want to use this new technology has really missed the boat," he says. "The seminar really shows what you can do with this product."
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Last Updated: October 21, 1998