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SQL Server Hits Release Milestone

"General availability" for SQL Server 2012 is scheduled for April 1.

Microsoft has released its flagship database to manufacturing, and will give it an official unveiling tomorrow.

SQL Server 2012, formerly codenamed "Denali", has three versions and comes with a licensing change to reflect newer, core-based processors.

SQL Server 2012 hit the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) milestone today, and is available for download and testing as an evaluation version.

"General availability" is scheduled for April 1, said Doug Leland, general manager of Microsoft's business platform marketing group, in a phone interview on Monday. SQL Server 2012 has already been "battle tested" by around 150,000 customers, according to Leland. Microsoft customers, partners and executives will present more details about the product on Wednesday, during a SQL Server 2012 "launch event," he said.

As Microsoft revealed last fall, SQL Server 2012 will come in three editions: Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard. For this release, Microsoft dropped the Datacenter edition, with many of its licensing benefits having been rolled into the Enterprise edition.

As with other products, Microsoft is changing the licensing basis from processors to cores, based on a minimum of four cores per processor. The licensing limits are 16 cores for the BI and Standard editions and 20 cores for the Enterprise edition. The company is currently working on enhancing its Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit to make it easier for organizations to estimate the licensing changes, according to Tom Bartlett, director of SQL Server pricing and licensing, at a SQL Server 2012 workshop event held last month. (For more on the licensing changes, see "Microsoft Reveals SQL Server 2012 Licensing Model.")

SQL Server 2012, when released, can be self-built, based on reference architecture or purchased as an appliance. Microsoft recommends theHP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance, which is currently available. The appliance will be updated when System Center 2012 ships, according to Darmadi Komo, senior technical product manager for SQL Server 2012, at the workshop event. System Center 2012 is currently at the release candidate stage, with expectations for release in April.

Microsoft's messaging has stayed constant for this release. The company is touting SQL Server 2012's ability to handle "mission critical" operations in terms of performance, scale, security, high availability and disaster recovery. Additionally, Microsoft claims that SQL Server 2012 users have access to the "cloud on your terms" -- either private clouds (via virtualization and management) or public clouds (via SQL Azure).

The management part of the private cloud deployments is linked to System Center 2012, where it is possible to deploy private clouds using a wizard in Virtual Machine Manager. Microsoft also has tools to synchronize and move data back and forth between private and public clouds with its Data Sync technology. Data Sync enables bidirectional synchronization and is currently at the technology preview stage, Leland said. Finally, SQL Server 2012 is optimized to produce "breaking insights," in part because of its leveraging of "big data" and Microsoft's tools.

For more details about the SQL Server 2012 RTM version, read the extended version of this article here.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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