SQL Server 2005 may likely be a boon for solution providers that build applications with Visual Studio. Due to its new security, manageability and performance capabilities, which far surpass CRN Test Center engineers’ expectations, it achieves highest marks in every technical category.
SQL Server 2005’s new integrated Visual Studio features allow solution providers, who write lines of business applications, to be more productive by giving them faster access to data and more visibility into data-driven code.
Within Visual Studio, solution providers can build applications and manage all database projects. Developers now can debug and explore data directly from Visual Studio and can mix data from multiple sources in their projects. In addition, developers are able to define SQL Server user-defined types, stored procedures and functions using Common Language Runtime (CLR) languages.
SQL Server includes .Net’s CLR so assemblies can execute on the same server. By managing the execution of multiple applications in process outside and inside the CLR, SQL Server can optimize both code execution and data access. This feature allows SQL Server to optimize deadlocks and virtually eliminate system contentions.
SQL Server 2005 arrives with native data encryption and supports the WS Security standard, allowing database administrators (DBA) and developers to encrypt any data object, including keys and views.
All SQL Server services are turned off by default and only the primary services to get the database server up and running are on. If services are not turned on, SQL Server will restrict some functionality unless DBAs and developers follow good security protocol.
For instance, if a developer wants to send a user name and password over Web services without encryption, the server will only permit it using SSL. With WS Security, clients calling Web services have to match usernames and passwords against any authentication system such as LDAP, Active Directory and SQL Server’s native authentication.
Backups also are encrypted. DBAs can attach backups to new databases, and the data will remain encrypted. Developers also can further encrypt database files using Windows’ file encryption system.
SQL Server 2005’s Upgrade Advisor is a great feature for solution providers migrating data from older SQL Server versions. Upgrade Advisor is quite thorough and makes migration quick and painless. From competing database servers, solution providers have to consider a more manual approach.
One of SQL Server’s hidden gems is the new Integration Services. Originally called Data Transformation Services, Integration Services is now focused on the high-end enterprise data management market. It enables solution providers to add value to their services by providing faster data manipulation processes to any data warehouse and business intelligence application.
Since all the features are included in the same product, SQL Server 2005 is sold with one price point, allowing partners to be more competitive because they can provide more application services without having to charge for features. More money can go into partner offering rather than software costs.
SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition is $24,999 per processor or $13,969 per server with a 24-user connection.
Microsoft declined to disclose its average margin.