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SQL Server 2008 Now in CTP

Microsoft issues technology preview of SQL Server 2008, a release set to have significant implications for developers.

Developers can now take a first-hand look at Microsoft's next major upgrade of its flagship database platform. The company in June released the first community technology preview (CTP) of SQL Server 2008, previously code-named "Katmai."

SQL Server 2008 won't ship before next year, but Microsoft will issue new CTPs every 60 days rather than issue a beta, a plan the company announced after the release of SQL Server 2005.

"We felt it was a better way to get feedback from the community," says Kimberly Colley, a SQL Server product manager. "We can release them on a more regular basis. We'll be adding new features and functionality on a regular schedule."

Microsoft is touting four key capabilities as the basis of SQL Server 2008: dynamic development, support for unstructured data types, support for mission-critical applications and business intelligence.

Reinforcing its bid to push SQL Server into the last category, Microsoft also disclosed that it acquired the intellectual property of three key tools from Dundas Data Visualization Inc.

The components, which Microsoft had already licensed and embedded into SQL Server 2008, include Dundas Gauge, Dundas Map and Dundas Chart-but Microsoft sees business intelligence, analytics and business performance management as key value propositions for SQL Server 2008. Hence, Microsoft decided to acquire the code. Along with the acquisition, which took place several months ago, 11 Dundas engineers have joined Microsoft.

"We found that visualization products were so integral to reporting services that we wanted to incorporate them directly into the product and innovate on top of those," Colley says.

The current version of SQL Server utilizes a lightweight version of Dundas' products, according to Troy Machand, president of the Toronto-based company. "They just exposed a basic feature set," Machand says. "But a lot of people want to have more."

The technology transfer only applies to SQL Server 2008. For any prior versions, Dundas will continue to support the visualization software, Machand says. Dundas will also continue to build new functionality, which it will then pass on to Microsoft.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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