Microsoft Posts New SQL Server 2005 Preview

SQL Server

Basically an interim beta geared for developers and other techies, the CTP is available to MSDN and Betaplace subscribers. The first CTP was released in October.

Microsoft also said it posted a technical preview of its promised SQL Server 2005 Express Manager database management tool. It's also available on MSDN and Betaplace, as well as from Microsoft's download site.

And in what appears to be counterprogramming for the annual Oracle OpenWorld confab next week, Microsoft also talked up a new ArtinSoft Oracle migration tool designed to ease customer transitions to the current SQL Server 2000 from competing databases.

Though many industry observers say Microsoft SQL Server made great strides in the 1990s against database kingpin Oracle, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has run into repeated delays in delivering the next-generation Yukon version, which has dampened SQL Server's momentum.

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Oracle updated its flagship database to the 10g release last year and has been touting it as the database-of-choice for enterprises while also pushing reduced-priced SKUs for use in departments and smaller businesses. Meanwhile, IBM has ramped up its SMB push with its lower-priced DB2 Express offering.

On the channel front, Oracle executives say they're trying to mend fences with traditional Oracle partners targeting large accounts and that they plan to recruit Microsoft and IBM VARs in a renewed SMB push this coming year.

Microsoft said the Yukon database is still slated for delivery next summer. The next major beta is slated for the first quarter of 2005, and there will likely be several more CTPs, a company spokeswoman said.