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Alert Program, with SQL Server backend

I am going to attempt a small project to create a warning system for my company... I have in mind a small program that would reside in the system tray and when a central SQL Server is updated with a message, the program would flash and show that message. Problem is there are almost 30,000 computers in my company and I dont know if a SQL Server could handle that many computers constantly hitting it requesting if there are any new messages...

does anybody have any thoughts on the right way to go about setting something similar up?
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NickJPhillips
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NickJPhillips
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nmcdermaidCommented:
Do the warnings go to specific groups of computers?

i.e. would there be a single warning to, say, 300 computers? Or is it a global broadcasting system?

You can actually use NET SEND (a dos command line program) to send pop up messages to computers or users. That way you don't need to roll out a desktop application.

Are you doing this on SQL 2000 or SQL 2005? SQL 2005 has a message queue service that would let you push out messages to desktop applications.


If your server, and more importantly, network supports it, it SQL Server will have no problem doing this. The main issue is the network - you could flood it with packets and cause havoc if there is not enough bandwidth.

The main idea is to push the messages out to the client. Don't have a zillion people polling SQL Server every second.
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NickJPhillipsAuthor Commented:
The Backend would be SQL 2005. I thought of actually developing something in Express for testing. I am not envisioning anything to large or fancy... My initial thought is this would be a broad-based global warning system... and maybe in the future I could refine it to allow warnings to specific groups, people, etc...

I am very curious as to the "push-methods" you bring up. I am definately not familiar with this method or process...

Thanks in advance!!
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dqmqCommented:
Since you are using SS2005, I would refer you to notification services and .net alerts for that app. I've never used it, but conceptually it fits to a T (what does that mean, anyway?)

At a very high level, your application can issue an alert using notification services, which I'm almost certain is a message queueing application.  There would be almost no overhead to raise the alert. Client's would be sitting on a "hot read" as opposed to continuously polling for alerts, so there would be almost no client overhead, either.  Of course, there would be some load on the message server and a network burst to deliver the alert messages.  I doubt an occasional 30,000 messages would really be that much, but if it were, the messaging topology could always be configured so that far fewer messages are "pipelined" to intermediate message servers and distributed from there to spread the workload.
 
Here's the MS page to get you started:
http://www.microsoft.com/sql/technologies/notification/default.mspx 
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nmcdermaidCommented:
... what he said  :)

Any reason you don't want to just use email?
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NickJPhillipsAuthor Commented:
Problem with e-mail is people dont always read them when they come in. The program I would like to write would be an IMMEDIATE alert... for example,

a weather warning... "TORNADO WATCH IN EFFECT...STAY IN DOORS"

and any other type of warning or message that needed to go out to users immediately. I don't want to use NETSEND or something similar because I want to write a program that takes up 100% of the screen real estate and forces the user to focus on that before exiting it out.

I have beenr eading about the notification services, but I am still completley in the dark. I understand the buisness model for them... allows users to subscribe, send out updates, etc... makes sense. But to start programming a front end program that can communicate using notification services has be drawing a blank!!!
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nmcdermaidCommented:
You just need to code something that listens for messages from SQL Server.

This link in the SQL Server help looks likea good place to start.

ms-help://MS.SQLCC.v9/MS.SQLSVR.v9.en/sqlntsv9/html/73a8501c-9d89-4f47-9735-020fe61b23a4.htm

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