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SQL Server 2008 Is Here

Microsoft releases new database server, adding support for policy management, encryption and new data types.

It's official: Microsoft has released SQL Server 2008, the culmination of a series of new tools and server product launches by the company this year, including Visual Studio and Windows Server.

Microsoft also released the first Service Pack (SP) of Visual Studio and of .NET Framework 3.5 (see the Aug. 15, 2008, news story, "Visual Studio 2008 Facelift Is Ready"). SP1 includes, among other things, the ADO.NET Entity Framework (EF), Redmond's latest data-access technology for building data-driven applications.

While EF is designed for multiple database platforms, Microsoft says developers will get the most mileage out if its features with SQL Server 2008. Microsoft officials held a conference call last month to hail the new database release.

Key Features
Among the key new features of SQL Server 2008 touted by Microsoft officials: 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. The update also boasts new data-compression capability, which the company said makes better use of storage and provides faster queries.

For developers, key features of SQL Server 2008 center around T-SQL and its support for Table Valued Parameters and the new MERGE syntax; support for new data types including date and time, hierarchyID and filestream (storage method); and encryption, in addition to support for the ADO.NET EF and LINQ.

Redmond officials belabored the point that organizations can upgrade from SQL Server 2005 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 raises another question: 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'll see things change," Kummert said. "Our focus today is on SQL server 2008, I think in the next year, you'll 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're spanning this data platform vision to the cloud and we will provide a consistent application model across all tiers -- that's the edge, the data center and the cloud."

Click here to read about "SQL Server 2008's Developer Appeal."

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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