I remember the first time I used SQL Server 2005.
I was a database administrator working on a new-build data warehouse project in Miami. Both our data warehouse and SQL Server 2005 were looking like they were going to come out at the same time, and I kept hoping I could make the timing work.
SQL Server 2005 looked so seductive. Let’s take just a moment to think back about all the cool new technologies it introduced:
SQL Server Management Studio – for better or worse, this user interface has been with us for over a decade. I still hear some folks pining for the old days of Query Analyzer – not me, man.
Dynamic Management Views – no more obscure DBCC commands. Now you could just query system tables and get all kinds of health information.
SMTP email – which doesn’t sound awesome until you remember that in the SQL Server 2000 days, we usually had to install Outlook on the database server just to send mail.
Database mirroring – well, technically it wasn’t supported at RTM, but you could do it with a trace flag.
VARCHAR(MAX) – goodbye, text and ntext datatypes, and say hello to Max Headroom.
Index improvements – table partitioning looked better on paper than it actually was, but include fields on indexes are a staple of tuning today.
T-SQL crowd pleasers – common table expressions (CTEs), windowing functions, ROW_NUMBER(), cross apply, outer apply, try/catch…
Business intelligence – what an incredible flourish of new stuff. SSIS replaced DTS packages, and SSAS and SSRS were huge. SQL Server Notification Services, uh, not so huge.
Looking back, 2005 was an incredible leapfrog past SQL Server 2000. Granted, a lot of that was due to the looooong gestation period – Microsoft will surely never wait 5 years to release a database update again.
But here’s the awesome part: for the last 10+ years, you’ve been able to take your database from the last version up to the new version, as-is. You’ve been able to use the same T-SQL syntax, and just add on a few new tools. You haven’t had to learn a new language (if you don’t want to), or even change any of your tooling.
If you wanted to keep your skills exactly the same from SQL 2005 to SQL 2016, you could. All of the core stuff still works the same.
It’s just faster and more powerful.
Here’s to the foundation laid by SQL Server 2005.