Today is the general availability release date for the newest version of SQL Server, aptly named SQL Server 2014. I’m excited about many of the new features being rolled out today, but the ones that will impact data architects, modelers and database designers are the new datatypes that will be introduced. But first, for those of you who have their heads stuck in the deep piping and spit-managing of databases, some background about datatypes:
A datatype is a categorization of data items, based on the range and types of data that it can contain and a set of actions that can be validly taken against that data.
As such, applying a datatype to a column in a database makes it work as another type of constraint. A tinyint column can’t hold my Starbucks name (Kitty) because it constrains the values to integers and only a subset of all integers, for example.
The number and type of datatypes (yes, I’m being meta there) varies depending on the strength and quality of the tequila the DBMS product management teams were drinking at their last
Vegas Blow Out team building retreat, as called for in the ISO Standards for databases, AKA
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 32 – Data management and interchange.
One of the things that developers and DBAs will tell you is that choosing the right datatype is important for performance reasons. And by that, they mean the smallest datatype you can fit most of the data in. And maybe a bit smaller. Soooo much bad info out there, I know. When Knowledge Conquers Fear, we can love our data. Thank the Cosmos you have me here to help you out.
What’s new in SQL Server 2014: A New Datatype
This new datatype is exciting for me as a data & space enthusiast. The new feature finally allows modern database designers to properly specify the constraints for tracking time and location data in the same column. Yes, this means that your developers and DBAs no longer have to use comma-delimited values in their relational database designs when they need to track how much time and personal space they need to get up to speed on professional database design. And it’s big enough to store that many man-hours. Yeah. I said that.
BTW, it seems that Stack Overflow is *the* place to find info on how to implement comma-delimited values in database columns. Kids, don’t get your database design knowledge from random forums on the Internet.
Anyway, back to the news!
The new feature makes so much sense with Microsoft’s push to the Cloud, it’s embracing of NoSQL technologies and all. It’s AWESOME.
Defines a time and location in a universe.
SQL Server 2014
spacetime [(fractional seconds precision)], (universe, 5DGeometry)
CREATE TABLE Table1 ( Column1 spacetime (1000, 2014.12.0.2000.8
–∞ to +∞ and beyond
[you’ll need a 5D monitor to view this range.]
Timezone offset range
Thank Venus, no, nope, never. We are scientists here. Use Multiuniversal Universal Time Coordinates (UTMC).
Daylight saving aware
Oh, for Carl’s sake. Do you really think something like spacetime needs to be sullied by DST?
If you have to ask, you don’t ever need to use this datatype. Seriously.
+/- 10 Plancks. Depending on how far your server is from the Sun. Earth’s Sun, that is.
Microsoft Azure DB Support
|Yes, of course. But only in Premium plans and higher.|
Special Considerations and Gotchas
Some gotchas with this new datatype:
- Due to the highly multi-dimensional, multiuniversal nature of this datatype, there isn’t any backwards compatibility. Unless, of course, you can fold spacetime and go back and change earlier versions of SQL Server. But if you could do that, you wouldn’t be reading my blog, would you?
- Just like the confusion over timestamps, you can’t really treat this like a date or time datatype. It’s special. And spatial.
- This means you can’t convert it to date, time, datetime, timestamp or spatial datatypes, either.
- The 5D geometry thing is way too complex to explain in a single blog post. But for those of you that managed to stick it out through some college level math, it involves parsecs (the correct usage of the term) and the double declining balance method of space depreciation. In this first rollout of spacetime, the geometry completely ignores most OctoDeca Bands. Except for Miller tracks.
- You can’t use normal date and geometrical math on data in the columns. You can bend or fold the values, but since space has no center, and time has no beginning or end, spacetime has no beginning or end. It is infinite. So the usual infinity rules apply.
- This datatype is only available via O365, but that makes sense since as announced today, SQL Server 2014 is also only available via O365 subscriptions.
- This datatype is only available at O365 plans at U3 and higher. Wait, I don’t think I should have said anything about the new Universe O365 plans. Forget I said anything. That’s probably not going to be a rule in our universe. Seriously. No NDA broken. I think.
Some of this post may have been inspired by some bad veggie April Fish (poisson d’avril) I had last night. If you want to get some real information about the new features of SQL Server 2014, you probably shouldn’t read random blogs on the internet on launch day. Especially when it’s 1 April.
Did you catch all the special references in this post? Let me know.
This past weekend I attended SQL Saturday San Diego, AKA, #SQLSat157. This was my first time speaking at this event and I want to give lots of thanks and kudos to the organizers for putting on a fine event.
Because I arrived in town early to meet with friends from both the space and data world, I was able to visit the San Diego Air and Space Museum. It was fitting that it was the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s Rice University speech on space exploration:
There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation many never come again. But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
Not only is this fitting for motivating a generation to invest in space exploration, it’s fitting for professional development work, too. We attend and speak at SQL Saturdays not because it’s easy, but because we need goals to serve to organize the best of our energies and skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been inspired to learn something new because I saw a fellow community member demonstrate how it could help make life for end users or co-workers better. And SQL Saturday gives me a full day of these sorts of workshops and demos…all for free. How great is that? It means giving up a Saturday and for those of us who travel to speak, 2-3 days plus expenses. And yet every time I leave one, I think "That was so worth it".
I spoke three times at this SQL Saturday: DB Design Throwdown, the Women in Technology Panel, and Career Management for Data Professionals. Between those, I was able to see just a couple more sessions. I really enjoyed Lynn Langit’s (@lynnlangit | blog) NoSQL for the SQL Server Developer. Lynn did a fabulous job explaining the differences between SQL and NoSQL technologies, as well as demoing MongoDB and cloud-based technologies. You should spend some time on her blog; she has a lot of great stuff with plenty of videos and demos.
I also had the pleasure of being on the WIT panel with Lynn. This panel, moderated by Tara Kizer, focused mostly on how we can energize the next generation of girls (and boys) to be interested in IT careers. Lynn is doing some fabulous stuff over on http://teachingkidsprogramming.org, where she and her partner, Llewellyn Falco (@llewellynfalco | blog ) are building a framework for, well, teaching kids programming.
I talked about the importance of talking with girls in your life, which is my usual homework assignment for attendees. Having someone in the IT profession share the fact that the industry isn’t just about typing and programming can make a real difference to a girl who just needs to hear that IT professionals can make a difference in the world. In fact, I have another blog post coming up soon on that topic.
Download the Database Design Throwdown: The Trailer presentation.
Download the Career Management for Data Professionals presentation.
On Monday, 13 February I’ll be part of another NASATweetup, this one at NASA Headquarters. Administrator Charlie Bolden will hold a briefing on the 2013 NASA Budget. There have been many reports that the 2013 budget will remain about the same as it was in prior budgets. However, this means that NASA will most likely have to pull out of agreements with other space agencies such as the European Space Agency (ESA) on collaborative efforts for future MARS missions.
I believe this is the first time that NASATweetup attendees will be attending a formal briefing and the first time we will be able to ask questions. In addition, NASA will be taking questions via Twitter from tweets using the #askNASA hashtag. My interest will most likely focus on the impact on NASA’s successful open government (http://open.nasa.gov ) and open data ( http://data.nasa.gov ) programs. I’ll also be interested in hearing what these budget restrictions mean to ongoing collaboration with other space agencies such as the Canadian Space Agency, Roscosmos, JAXA and ESA.
You can watch the budget briefing live at NASA TV on Monday, 13 February at 2 PM EST. This is available in many formats; make sure you take advantage of the formats offered for your device.
NASA prepared a video last year about their quest to win the future. It looks like NASA will be scaling back on those plans for 2013.
Briefing photo by Bob Jacobs
- http://www.nasa.gov/news/budget/index.html NASA Budget Page
- http://www.nasa.gov/pdf/516674main_NASAFY12_Budget_Estimates-Overview-508.pdf The FY 2012 Budget Estimate
Today marks the anniversary of the first and only orbital mission of the Buran, the Soviet Union’s only shuttle program. This flight was unmanned. Haven’t heard of the Buran? Neither had I until I visited the Speyer Technik Museum just outside of Frankfurt, Germany as part of the social activities of the European Space Agency’s first SpaceTweetup a few months ago. In 1988 I was working at Space Division at a US Air Force base and I still had not heard of this program. I guess I was focused on data and process models to much.
During the visit we were able to climb up to view the payload area and some of the crew areas. I’m betting that the general public won’t get this sort of access to the US Space Shuttle orbiters once they are delivered to their museum homes next year.
The only orbital launch of Buran occurred at 3:00 UTC on 15 November 1988 from Baikonur Cosmodrome Site 110/37. It was lifted into orbit unmanned by the specially designed Energia rocket, which to this day remains the heaviest rocket running on liquid fuel. Unlike the Space Shuttle, which is propelled by a combination of solid boosters and the Shuttle’s own liquid-fuel engines sourcing fuel from a large fuel tank, the Energia-Buran system used only thrust from the rocket’s four RD liquid-fuel engines developed by Valentin Glushko. From the very beginning Buran was intended to be used in both fully automatic and manual mode. Although the program accumulated a several-years delay, Buran remained the only space shuttle to ever perform an unmanned flight in fully automatic mode until 22 April 2010 when the US Air Force launched its Boeing X-37 spaceplane. The automated launch sequence performed as specified, and the Energia rocket lifted the vehicle into a temporary orbit before the orbiter separated as programmed. After boosting itself to a higher orbit and completing two revolutions around the Earth, ODU (engine control system) engines fired automatically to begin the descent into the atmosphere. Exactly 206 minutes into the mission, the Buran orbiter landed, having lost only five of its 38,000 thermal tiles over the course of the flight. The automated landing took place on a runway at Baikonur Cosmodrome where, despite a lateral wind speed of 61.2 kilometres per hour (38.0 mph), it landed only 3 metres (9.8 ft) laterally and 10 metres (33 ft) longitudinally from the target mark. The unmanned flight was the first time that a spacecraft of this size and complexity had been launched, completed maneuvers in orbit, re-entered the atmosphere, and landed under automatic guidance.
Wikipedia contributors, "Buran (spacecraft)," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Buran_(spacecraft)&oldid=459715789 (accessed November 15, 2011).
The Buran program was the Soviet Union’s response to the NASA Space Shuttle program. Once the cold war came to an end, the Buran program was ended in 1993. No manned space flights of the Buran happened. Now both programs are over and we are back to non-reusable vehicles to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
Watch the video of the Buran being delivered to the Speyer Technik (German)
As we left the exhibit, I wondered what a joint shuttle program with more space agencies co-operating might have been.
Image via Wikipedia
Like many complex projects, this mission wasn’t without its problems. According to The Guardian, the Russian Space Agency will be declassifying and releasing documents today about technical glitches that happened leading up to the launch, including shorted out sensors, a door hatch problem and a pencil that floated away.
While I understand why data is sometimes released years and decades later than it was originally collected, I’m always taken aback by delayed release of such information. On my projects, it seems we are always working on getting data to people faster. In the case of classified data, it seems there are two different performance metrics: right now and 50 years later.
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