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Changing of The Guard on Microsoft's SQL Server Team

When I spoke last week with Fausto Ibarra, Microsoft's new director of product management for SQL Server, I asked why move his predecessor Francois Ajenstat (who is now working on Microsoft's green initiatives) off the team before the official RTM of SQL Server 2008? Ibarra explained that the product was officially kicked off in February during the Heroes Happen Hear Launch and the timing was right for the transition.

For Ibarra's part, it's onward and upward to the next release of SQL Server, where, if history should be our guide, will come out somewhere around 2011 -- though to be clear, that's what observers suspect. That didn't come from Ibarra or anyone else at Microsoft. All he would offer up on that front is Microsoft's goal of making it easier to manage all content across multiple tiers ranging from mobile devices to the cloud.

Key to that, he offered, will be Project "Velocity" and SQL Server Data Services. You can read more about Ibarra's plans in his new role here.

Data quality apparently is another key area of focus for SQL Server. The company's announcement this week that it will acquire Israel-based Zoomix gives it entrée into that space. The little-known startup offers what it calls Data Accelerator, server-based software that it says provides a scalable and fast approach to synchronization of critical data.

Data quality is an important aspect for numerous business operations, among them identity management, but it remains to be seen how much of a focus Redmond and its other key rivals will place on this area.

"If any of their customers have a need for a powerful matching engine, Zoomix has a pretty interesting product," says Forrester Research analyst Rob Karel. "It's relatively new; they have some customers but for the most part it's really an early stage technology that Microsoft acquired."

It remains to be seen whether Microsoft's key goal was to acquire the product or the team and presence in Israel, adds Gartner analyst Donald Feinstein. "Instead of buying a major vendor of data quality, they bought a development team in Israel," Feinstein says. "It will pay off in that they get the product that they got to date, but they also get the developers out of it."

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 07/17/2008

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