Support for distinctly non-relational data types, such as pictures and sounds, in a single store is still on the docket for Microsoft—but it’ll take time.
“We’ve got to go past words and numbers and get to sounds and sights,” Paul Flessner, senior vice president of data and storage platforms at Microsoft, told CRN in an interview last week.
Part of the deliverables—and he did not put a date on them—will be in the next major SQL Server release, now known as Katmai. Microsoft’s goal remains a single data store that can handle that whole gamut of data, not just relational, not just XML.
Speaking generally earlier in the day, Flessner noted that databases will have to handle tons of data from sensors, RFID information, GPS coordinates—a huge range. “Photos in the future will have not only date stamps, but GPS locators,” he noted.
“Spatial is one data type, but [you’ve] got to do them all or you become irrelevant,” he said.
At one point, Flessner gave props to Google’s underlying file system. “It’s very interesting work, although very specialized. It’s really easy to build a big store when you know you have only one app. When you have lots of apps, it’s really hard.”
Shorter term, Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft plans to deliver SQL Server Everywhere, a tiny (2-Mbyte) data store for small devices or other clients. The free software is due by year’s end and will make it easy to sync up data with SQL Server running on bigger iron. Microsoft will monetize it by charging for client access licenses to the other SQL Servers, Flessner said.
One partner said Microsoft seeded the market with its SQL Server Express database, a free server-side offering. SQL Everywhere is focused on client-side data store and management.
“They have to get the word out that this is not a toy. Eighty percent of the databases we see on SMB Web sites are under 10 Mbytes,” said Robert Spivack, vice president of sales and marketing at SPIV Technologies Group, San Jose, Calif.