Microsoft SQL Server 2008
Microsoft SQL Server 2008, aka "Katmai", gives SQL Server shops plenty of reasons to get excited.
It's not without its faults, but Microsoft SQL Server 2008 easily passes our own five-point test for upgrades by bringing at least five significant improvements to a data environment. It's a winner.
Microsoft SQL Server 2008: index improvements
Indexes have received an overhaul. Not only can indexes be compressed in SQL Server 2008, but you can also build filtered indexes. Filtered indexes have a "where" clause, allowing you to partially index a large table. This may not seem very useful at first, but there are situations where it's very beneficial.
For example, let's look at a Sparse Column situation. Say you have 400 million records in a table with a significant number of null values, and you've defined a Sparse Column, so you're not taking up space for all of those nulls. Well, if you don't want to take up storage space with null values, then you surely don't want to take up index space with them either. Here you would define a filtered index on that sparse column where the value is not null so that only rows with actual data in them are indexed.
Not only can you save a lot of index space with filtered indexes, but the queries that use those indexes will be faster because they're running against a subset of the entire data set. You also shrink the maintenance window and re-index space for the index.
Another good use of filtered indexes might be if you have, say, 10 years of data in a table but nobody ever queries further than two years back. You could create a filtered index for just those two years and get the same benefits as in the first scenario.
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