Microsoft Drops Second Preview Of SQL Server 2008


Microsoft is no longer using the term "beta test" for SQL Server, and is instead offering a series of relatively fast-turnaround CTPs, the first of which was released in June.

The SQL Server 2008 July CTP release includes better policy-based management tools, which allow administrators to reduce maintenance time and apply rules based on a user's role, according to Microsoft.

The July CTP also improves SQL Server's business intelligence features by allowing customers to enter up-to-date information with Change Data Capture and MERGE features, and also includes expanded XML support to allow for new date and time data types, Microsoft said.

With SQL Server 2008, Microsoft is promising to make improvements in four key areas (also known as 'pillars'): Enterprise Data Platform, Beyond Relational, Dynamic Development, and Pervasive Insight. The inclusion of non-relational data, such as image and audio files, is a major focus in SQL Server 2008.

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But despite the new features in SQL Server 2008, it could be a while before Microsoft's partners are ready to upgrade from older versions of the database.

Philip Cardone, a technology services consultant at KDSA Consulting, an Andover, Mass.-based solution provider, says about 90 percent of his clients are still using SQL 2000, with only a handful having moved to SQL Server 2005, which shipped in November 2005.

The reason for the delay in adoption is that SQL Server relies heavily on third party applications that work in conjunction with the database, and many developers are just now starting to write these applications for SQL Server 2005, Cardone said.

"SQL Server won't do anything without those outside applications, which means Microsoft hasn't been able to pressure people to upgrade to SQL Server 2008," said Cardone.

SQL Server 2008, formerly code-named Katmai, is due for release by June 30, 2008 -- the end of Microsoft's fiscal year. However, the database will be part of a three-pronged mega-launch event in Los Angeles next February that will also feature Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008.

Competition is fierce in the highly commoditized database market, with vendors grappling for every point of market share by adding features and slashing prices.

But Microsoft is the top dog in databases, according to a recent survey of 686 software development managers conducted by BZ Research, which found that 74.7 percent of enterprises are using SQL Server, while 54.5 percent are using Oracle database.