SQL Server 2008 - Whats new in the tools

Given my previous post on how the SQL Server tools suck its only fair for me to point out what has been added/improved in SQL Server 2008

Thanks to Buck for a nice concise list,




What's the big deal?

Connection String Additions

Connection Panel

User Productivity

Users can enter additional connection strings, which enables full use of Analysis Services. Previously, there was no way to connect with special behavior to AS.

Data Collector


Increased management information

Allows automatic, declarative collection of trace data, performance counters or transact-sql queries into a single database collection system.

Installation Enhancements


Increased speed in install

Re-worked UI to enable faster installations. Also, SSMS Express is now a combined codeset with SSMS (although with less features), allowing a consistent management experience. SSMS can now also be shipped "out of band", meaning that releases of CE can be combined with SSMS so that you don't have to wait on a service pack to connect to CE.

Policy Based Management (formerly DMF)

Management Framework

Pro-active management

Policy-based framework for managing, controlling and monitoring a SQL Server instance.

Resource Governor

Management Framework

Greater control of system resources

Enables you to specify limits on the amount of CPU and memory that incoming application requests can use.

PowerShell integrated to work with SQL Server


Total and complete scripting control

PowerShell, which will ship with SQL Server, is now aware of SQL Server 2008 objects. You have the full scripting constructs of PowerShell against SQL Server Objects. Navigate the SQL Server instance using "CD" commands.

Create a Data Collector Set (for Data Collector) from a Profiler Trace


Use the same tool to monitor as to control

You can use a Profiler trace definition to create a data collector set, which allows you to find expensive queries and control them.

Profiler Improvements


Profiler launchable from SSMS.

Profiler can be launched directly from a Query Editor Results window to the SPID of the query.

Multi-Server Query

Query Editor

Run a query against multiple servers

Run a single query across multiple server. Results have the server name pre-pended to them. Results show in a color-customizable result set.


Query Editor

Auto-fill for keywords and objects, prevents mistakes, increases speed

Shows proper syntax and object names automatically.

Customizable tabs in Query Editor

Query Editor

Better navigation

You can set the tab text at the top of the results pane.

Launch Profiler from Query Editor

Query Editor

Quick access to activity information

You can launch Profiler directly from a Query Editor Results window to the SPID of the query.

Error List in Query Editor

Query Editor

Recall last errors in T-SQL

Shows a list of the last errors generated by Query Editor

New Right-Click options on Results Grid

Query Results Window

Easier Export of data

Users can now select a range of rows in the Results Grid and copy the headings as well. Also, you can select individual cells and copy them with headers if you wish.

Framework Improvements for SSMS

SQL Server Management Studio

Increased Performance

Multiple internal code cleanups and fixes to improve the load time of the Object Explorer tree to over 20 times it's current performance. Also takes much less memory per object to load.

Object Search

SQL Server Management Studio

Quickly locate and work on SQL Server objects

Using PBM (DMF) under the covers, the user enters a full or partial string to match, which is searched within the current database to bring objects into Object Explorer Details.

Speed Enhancements


Increased performance

Multiple fixes and framework changes to enable faster loading, and faster population. Connection consolidations where possible to take a lighter load on the server.

Activity Monitor built for the DBA


Quickly diagnose performance data with little overhead

The new Activity Monitor was written from the ground up with the perspective of the DBA needing to chase down a performance problem in real time. Modeled after the new Windows Resource Monitor, DBAs can quickly see the active sessions, wait states, file I/O, and long running queries in a command console like UI.

UI Framework Enhancements


Better feedback and navigation

A new "info bar" appears in many screens that guide the user with pre-validation (saving time and frustration) and visual navigation cues.

New Object Explorer Details Pane


Quick access to customizable information

The header columns for each object can be selected. Selections are saved. Single-click on object instantly returns property information in a sizable panel at the bottom of SSMS like Vista.

Security - Admin can reset password


Easier to manage security

The Security Admin can now reset a password for a user from SSMS.

Security - More information on effective permissions


Easier to determine permissions

Enhanced the "effective permissions" display to show exactly what a principal has access to.

Security - reduced clicks for permissions


Faster implementation of security

Reworked the screens to make it easier and faster to set permissions

"Open Table" enhancements


Takes a lighter load on the server

A limited amount of rows is returned to the "Open Table" dialog to avoid taking locks and load on server.

Database Diagram/Table Designer safety additions


Prevents accidental operations

The Table Designer and Database Designer tools have been reworked so that safety checks are taken for operations that would drop an object or cause data loss.

Activity Monitor can launch Profiler


Instant access to activity information

Activity Monitor can launch SQL Server Profiler for the SPID it is centered on.

Showplan - Extract Query from graphical plan


Quickly show a query from a graphical display

You can right-click a graphical showplan and extract the SQL query that generated it.

Showplan - Extract XML from graphic


Quickly access query breakdown

You can right-click a showplan graphic and see the XML version of the plan.

Showplan - XML is now formatted


Improved visualization

The XML created by the showplan is now formatted instead of showing as a large string.

The sys.dm_exec_query_plan XML output can generate graphic


You can go from the xml to the graphical plan in a single click

The output from the sys.dm_exec_query_plan stored procedure includes an XML column of the query plan. Clicking it now generates a graphical display of the query.

Performance Studio


Complete performance tuning information with navigable reports

Tracks historical performance metrics from SQL Server and the operating system, stores them in a repository, using drill-through reports.

Configuration Servers


Register servers at a central location

Enables teams to register servers in a single location, once.

Add GUI for Table Partitioning Setup


Easier to set up table partitioning

You can now set up Table Partitioning (which previously required a lot of typing) with SSMS. Includes a Manage Partition wizard to implement the “sliding window” scenario for managing partitioned tables, where for every unit of time (could be month/week/quarter), you bring in a new partition for the latest data and slide out the oldest partition for archival purposes.

Service Broker UI enhancements


Easier setup of Service Broker

Hooked in the creation/alter templates with the context menu in the object-explorer. We have also added read-only property pages for each of these object types.

Transact SQL Debugger integrated in SSMS

It’s about time!

Published Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:12 AM by simonsabin


Tuesday, March 11, 2008 2:03 AM by Pages tagged "ground"

# Pages tagged "ground"

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 4:40 AM by Uri Dimant

# re: SQL Server 2008 - Whats new in the tools

Very informative article, thanks Simon

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 6:21 PM by Buck Woody

# re: SQL Server 2008 - Whats new in the tools

Very Nice! Thanks for posting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008 9:24 PM by Chris Webb

# re: SQL Server 2008 - Whats new in the tools

Wrt the first point on the list - what exactly is this referring to? The connection dialog in SQLMS? I don't see any change, or any way to set connection string properties for AS. Is this change in CTP6?

Thursday, April 3, 2008 6:25 AM by TrackBack

# I am on a quest for a idera..err..idea of new feature. Could it be just beyond the red gate?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 10:18 PM by transact sql stored procedure

# transact sql stored procedure

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Thursday, September 25, 2008 5:32 PM by Blog de Bertrand AUDRAS

# SQL Server 2008 est disponible en RTM

La version finale le SQL Server 2008 est disponible Toutes les informations sur www.microsoft.com/.../2008

Wednesday, October 1, 2008 3:14 PM by SQL Server, BizTalk Server, le 64 bits et au-delà !...

# SQL Server 2008, What's new in the tools ?

Monday, June 8, 2009 1:23 AM by SQL Server Blog by Jason Massie

# SQL Server Blog by Jason Massie

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