Microsoft Lays Out Roadmap For Next Rev Of SQL Server

SQL Server business intelligence data warehouse

Microsoft will provide an early "community technology preview" version of Kilimanjaro for partners and customers sometime within the next 12 months, according to the company.

The current release of the database, SQL Server 2008, just began shipping in August. Many Microsoft solution providers today are still upgrading customers to SQL Server 2005 from earlier versions.

The focus in Kilimanjaro will be making the reporting and analysis tools easier to use and more "self-service," said Herain Oberoi, group product manager for SQL Server, in an interview. The self-service analysis technology, known as "Gemini," will help information workers create their own BI applications and analyze data using Microsoft's Word and Excel applications as front-end tools. Gemini will also include such enhancements as in-memory, column-based data storage and tighter integration with Microsoft SharePoint Server, Oberoi said.

Kilimanjaro will provide technology that help IT managers see what self-service applications users are building and develop those into more formal reporting and analysis processes, according to Oberoi.

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The advanced data warehousing capabilities, being developed under the code name "Madison," are based on the technology Microsoft acquired last month when it bought data warehouse appliance developer DATAllegro. While SQL Server is already used as a data warehouse platform by many companies, Madison is expected to help businesses build low-cost data warehouse systems with hundreds of terabytes of data, Oberoi said.

The Madison software will be ready in the first half of 2010, the same time as Kilimanjaro. But packaging decisions about whether the data warehouse software will be sold as a separate product or built into SQL Server haven't been made, Oberoi said. Microsoft will not sell the software bundled with hardware as DATAllegro did, letting channel partners and customers decide what hardware they want to run the product on.