Mea culpa, mea culpa.
When I speculated that the world would likely see a Katmai (SQL Server Next) beta at TechEd 2007 in June, it was because that venue would make more sense than a beta drop at WinHEC.
What would TRULY make sense is for Microsoft to make the beta bits—or at least announce their time frame—at its first-ever annual Business Intelligence conference next week in Redmond. Especially since one of the keynoters is none other than Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Data Storage and Platform Division.
(Click here for more on Kummert.)
One SQL Server pundit says he fully expects there to be "real Katmai news" at the BI confab next week (Jeff Raikes, Steve Ballmer will also take the stage), but code being code, it is unclear what's ready enough to test broadly.
Note: Also, "First Look at SQL Server codename 'Katmai' Database Engine" is slated for next Monday morning at the SQL Live adjunct to the VS Live conference in Orlando. Christian Kleinerman, group program manager for Microsoft's relational engine team is on tap to lead this session.
Clearly Katmai stuff is starting to percolate.
Microsoft has committed to getting major releases of SQL Server out in a 36-month cycle. SQL Server 2005 shipped in the fall of that year.
Don't forget that Microsoft execs have started to warn some large partners that the company may hold off on Longhorn shipment until Katmai and Orcas (Visual Studio Next) are also ready to roll. The intended benefit is an all-in-one "platform release" vs. the dribs-and drabs releases.
Suffice it to say, however, that opinion is mixed as to whether locking the three major infrastructure releases will really help more than hurt.
This post was updated Monday afternoon with details on the SQL Live confab.