Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2008 RC0

unveiled the first release candidate for SQL Server 2008

Frank Cullen, principal at BlackstoneCullen, an Atlanta-based solution provider specializing in business intelligence, says better scalability and new development tools are among the key improvements Microsoft has made with SQL Server 2008.

"Integration with the next version of Office will be key for the battle for the desktop and presentation layer as well as the data layer," said Cullen. "Business intelligence in Office is an important tie-in technology to allow access across all Microsoft tools."

At the TechEd Developers conference last week, Microsoft introduced a new logo for SQL Server 2008 and Chairman Bill Gates discussed how SQL Server 2008 will play an important role as a data repository for multiple Microsoft products.

Microsoft has also made a number of improvements to SQL Server 2008's policy-based management features, including policy violation alerts, policy import, and the ability to run and evaluate multiple simultaneous policies.

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However, some solution providers believe it could take a while for SQL Server 2008 to gain traction due to the still-strong market demand they're seeing for SQL Server 2005. Microsoft in April announced plans to release a third service pack for SQL Server 2005 by the end of the year.