Microsoft Debuts SQL Server 2008 CTP, 'Stirling' Security Platform

Microsoft on Monday announced the first Community Technology Preview and the official name of its next-generation database, SQL Server 2008.

Not that that was much of a mystery. Last month, Microsoft said the database would ship in 2008 and promised the CTP within the month.

At its Tech Ed 2007 conference in Orlando, Fla., Microsoft reiterated that the database, formerly code-named Katmai, is due for release next year and that beta 2 of Visual Studio 2008, formerly code-named Orcas, is expected to be released this summer.

Microsoft also announced the acquisition of data visualization products from Toronto-based Dundas Data Visualizations. The Redmond, Wash., software giant said it plans to incorporate the technology's charting capabilities in the next SQL Server Reporting Services.

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In addition, Microsoft unveiled its next-gen unified security product and platform, code-named Stirling, and said it's slated to go into limited beta testing by the end of the year.

Plans call for Microsoft to incorporate all of its Forefront client, server and network security products and the Forefront Server Security Management Console in a single platform release. Microsoft launched beta 2 of that console on Monday at TechEd.

And that's not all. Microsoft also discussed two security and Web services projects that eventually could impact the way businesses communicate.

One incubation project, BizTalk Services, consists of software in the cloud that's designed to enable business users to communicate across organizational boundaries. Microsoft had discussed some of the BizTalk Services about a month ago.

The company said it's also testing a federated identity service and firewall messaging services and plans to add more over time.

Microsoft also said that BizTalk 2006 R2, which will be more service-enabled and support Windows Communication Foundation, will ship in the third quarter. The platform will offer RFID support and native support for EDI and .Net Framework 3.0.