More Beta Testing For SQL Server 2005, RTM Now On For Summer

The anxiously-awaited database is now slated to ship in the summer of 2005. That opens the door for another delay. Since March, Microsoft had said to expect the database in the first half of 2005.

Specifically, Microsoft is releasing what it calls the first Community Technical Preview of the database. CTP is the latest Microsoft jargon for a beta release, and this one is described by some insiders as Beta 2.5.

Microsoft Senior Vice President Paul Flessner advised beta testers of the code drop in an e-mail Friday, noting that it is an "interim build" of the software coming between major beta releases. "We may provide additional CTPs before Beta 3 to gather additional feedback," he wrote.

A small beta 1 was launched in the summer of 2003, a larger beta 2 a year later. Additional CTPs, which add some features but don't require the extensive testing of full-blown betas, are expected before launch, a spokeswoman said.

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Last spring, Microsoft offered up a CTP of Visual Studio 2005, aka Whidbey.

Beta 3 is expected in the first quarter of next year, the spokeswoman said.

Microsoft has long struggled to get this release out the door, and it appears that those struggles continue.