Several years ago, we had thought about using Microsoft SQL Notification Services.  At the time it seemed entirely too limiting from a feature standpoint and quite frankly we did not feel comfortable building a business plan around a 3rd party product which could ultimately make or break us as a company.

Validation was delivered recently when we discovered that Microsoft is gutting SQL Server Notification Services from SQL Server 2008.  PHEW!

Therefore, when selecting a mass notification platform make sure your organization  is NOT committed to a costly solution only to then discover the systems core engine is being discontinued by Microsoft.

This MS page (which it appears has now been taken down days after this article)

Had said:

5.1 SQL Server Notification Services Removed from SQL Server 2008
Notification Services will not be included as a component of SQL Server 2008, but will continue to be supported as part of the SQL Server 2005 product support life-cycle. Moving forward, support for key notification scenarios will be incorporated into SQL Server Reporting Services. Existing Reporting Services functionality, such as data driven subscriptions, addresses some of the notification requirements. Features to support additional notification scenarios might be expected in future releases."

Right after the above page was taken down, a simple search at Google for "ReadmeSQL2008.htm" produced this new published article:

Date Published:2/22/2008

Which was also taken down after we posted this blog.  Hmmmm.

5.0 Features Removed from SQL Server

This section covers SQL Server 2005 features that are no longer included with SQL Server 2008.

5.1 SQL Server Notification Services Removed from SQL Server 2008

Notification Services is not a component of SQL Server 2008, but will continue to be supported as part of the SQL Server 2005 product support cycle. In future releases, support for key notification scenarios will be incorporated into Reporting Services.

.....Which essentially looks like a watered down version of the original article.  Very ambiguous and the language shift seems to be an effort to prevent mutiny amongst NS developers.  The MS community of developers just never took to NS, so what we have here is a whole new shooting match with reporting Services.  No Thanks.  Look at this dated Microsoft link.  Microsoft is now seeing many vendors abandon Notofication Sertvices. Below is a dated link to the Microsoft website:

Mass Notification systems built on and around SQL Server Notification Services must now consider major re-writes  of their alert engines. 

That's called "starting over" as the new engine must go through a proving process and gestation period that can take upwards of two or more years.  The only alternative according to our resident SQL expert Stephen Forte,

is to run a 2005 server side by side with a 2008 server.  Not exactly a pretty picture. 

Stephen is a Microsoft co-author on Programming SQL Server 2005 (MS Press) and working on Programming SQL Server 2008 (MS Press) as well as a Microsoft Regional Director.

NS develpers not committing mutiny are now struggling to port to LIVE Communications Server.  Why?  Live is so not proven yet.  Can you imagine how many Live Communications Server updates will be needed once the gremlins sneak in?  Its too darn all-inclusive and complex.  Standard rationale would dictate that an effective mass notification platform with a gazillion less moving parts will operate more soundly and reliably, and without the need for a single update for years.

This is where Desktop Alert shines.  Desktop Alert is autonomous to the Microsoft embedded notification technology approach.  You can see by the example above where that kind of a business plan can really become a big headache.  By making sure the network alert system (NAS) is not totally reliant on a complex system the likes of LIVE Communications Server, it stands to reason that the system will have less downtime.  How does one send an alert when LIVE Communications Server is down?  <wink>

Desktop Alert did not take a short cut and use somebody else's "desktop alert" piece. 

We wrote our own "desktop alert" web interface and client source code line-by-line over 5 years. 

As such Desktop Alert has a firm grip and control over the company's destiny without any chance of  externally imposed product discontinuations which ultimately bode poorly for both the vendor and the vendors clients.  That is of course, unless Microsoft Windows itself is terminated.

In a word, Desktop Alert continues to improve on its engine while other systems must now remove the Wankel Engine and move towards a new engine, which is as of yet immature in the development life cycle at Microsoft.

UPDATE: Article: "What happend with NS in 2008?

Thanks to:

Joe Webb, SQL Server MVP |

Yes, this has been discussed in several threads over the past 6 months or so.

Microsoft is quick to point out that support for SSNS 2005 will remain available throughout the lifecycle of the product. However the component has been removed from the 2008 release of the product.

This sudden removal of a component without warning in BOL for 2-3 product revisions has left many of us in a rather difficult predicament. A business decision within the SQL Server product can greatly and adversely impact many other businesses who have developed products that depend on the target of that cost cutting decision.