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SQL Server 2008: It's Here

It's official: Microsoft has released to manufacturing its SQL Server 2008 database. Developers can download the much-anticipated upgrade to the company's database server immediately from MSDN or TechNet.

Officials from Microsoft's Data Platform Group held a conference call for analysts and press to announce the RTM. The company had indicated last month that its release was imminent despite skepticism to the contrary.

Among the key new features Microsoft is touting is support for policy management, improved use of data encryption, the ability to store and query spatial data, a new report builder and improved support for analysis, reporting and administration. It also boasts new data compression capability, which the company said makes better use of storage and provides faster queries.

Microsoft officials belabored the point that organizations can upgrade without having to modify their software. "Customers can adopt these enhancements and features without making changes to their applications," said Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Data and Storage Platform division.

But that raised another question on the call: Will Microsoft's cloud-based incarnation of its forthcoming database platform, dubbed SQL Server Data Services, or SSDS, be just as seamless to developers or will they require new interfaces or development methodologies?

"As we move things forward, I think you will see things change," Kummert said. "Our focus today is on SQL server 2008. I think in the next year, you will see a lot of clarity emerge around SSDS and how SSDS relates to our overall data platform. But the overall commitment is clear, that we are spanning this data platform vision to the cloud and we will provide a consistent application model across all tiers -- that is the edge, the data center and the cloud."

With so much buzz about cloud computing, this will certainly be something to watch.

Note to database developers: Tell us what you think of SQL Server 2008. Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/06/2008

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