Microsoft made the second service pack for SQL Server 2005 broadly available as of Presidents' Day.
This is not a trivial release. As reported by CRN in August, customers who want their database to be fully supported on the new Vista client, must install the new Service Pack 2.
The fact that SP 2 came out weeks, even months, after Vista itself demonstrates the quandary for those buying into the full Microsoft stack: The components are hardly in lockstep, and updates to one layer can break parts of another. Vista became available to corporate volume licensees in late November/early December and to consumers in late January/early February.
The update allows "unlimited virtual instances" to run on "fully licensed" SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, according to a company statement on Monday.
Other claimed perks: improved analysis services for the newly available Excel 2007; data compression to ease disk storage requirements particularly in data warehousing ; and better manageability. The company also added management reports for the low-end SQL Server Express edition and better links for Oracle in the Report Builder.
For VARs with customers running older applications with the older embeddable Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE), there is guidance on upgrading to SQL Server 2005 Express on Technet.
Microsoft has said that SP 2 will bundle the newer SQL Server Express Edition. VARs maintain that older MSDE applications will probably have to be rewritten. That could be a problem because many customers may run MSDE in applications without even knowing it.
For more on SQL Server compatibility issues see this site.
This report was updated Monday evening with additional information on MSDE to SQL Server 2005 Express migration.