This book is a “must have book”, if you want to dig into the SQL server. Not only because it is written by some of the most Genius SQL persons (Kalen Delaney, Jonathan Kehayias, Benjamin Nevarez and Paul S. Randal), but because with this book, you get deep dive knowledge about how the SQL Server 2012 works.
The book is split into 14 chapters, starting with a very good introduction about the SQL server architecture, the SQLOS and databases.
Some of the new features are described in chapter 4, where an introduction to Contained databases are given.
As a MCT, then I really like when a book is focused and understandable, and one good example of this is on page 23, where it is stated that “SQL Server Books Only lists only 17 trace flags that are fully supported”. That means: If you want to pass an exam for MCSE on SQL server, then you must know 17 trace flags!!! (of course now the MCSE is changed so that it also covers Microsoft SQL Server 2014).
Chapter 6-9 is about indexes and storage, and that is of course important knowledge to have if you e.g. want to optimize performance.
Chapter 10-13 is a deep dive into how the SQL Server executes, how the Query optimizer works, and this is among my favorites. You can’t get enough information about how the Execution is done, how SQL server works with concurrency and how the SQL server is working with execution plans.
Knowing that the last chapter about DBCC is written by Paul Randal, then it is a “must read chapter”. Paul Randal has been writing a lot of the DBCC functionality, so here we get information about the DBCC command directly from one of the architects. And he knows what he is talking about 🙂
On the downside, then the book is not for beginners. I think that the reader should have at least 3-5 years of experience with Microsoft SQL Server, and he / she must have a good understanding about tables, indexes, queries, maintenance, Backup and so on.
Another downside is that in some places of the books, then we have output and examples that span multiple pages. It can be a little bit difficult to read.
I think this book deserves 4 out of 5 stars. I was a little bit in doubt about if it should be 4 or 5 stars, but on the other hand, then I must also say that this book is an update of the same book for SQL server 2008, and even though it describes new things in Microsoft SQL Server 2012 very well, then I can’t give 5 stars, when a lot of the material has been published before (to be fair. Everything has been rewritten and changed to SQL 2012).