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SQL Server 2008 SP1 Arrives With A Yawn

Even though the release of Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 SP1 last week didn't generate much buzz, it is a noteworthy turning point for Microsoft's key database platform.

As reported by Kurt Mackie, Microsoft released SP1, which includes Cumulative Updates 1 through 3 all rolled up in the service pack. Microsoft also added some administrative improvements, including a slipsteam facility, a service pack uninstall capability and Report Builder 2.0 Click Once.

The latter, actually released in October, lets users query SQL Server and build reports using Microsoft Office Tools.

Those incremental improvements aside, the release of SP1 gives a green light to IT organizations that insist on these key updates before putting new applications in production. It is well known that many enterprises won't put business-critical applications onto a major new software platform until that first service pack arrives.

But is this green light going to be enough to open the floodgates and encourage organizations to upgrade their older databases to SQL Server 2008? Even those who subscribe to Microsoft's Software Assurance plan, meaning the upgrade is already paid for, are looking to hold the line on costs that exceed the software license.

And as noted last week, many organizations are looking to open source alternatives to address costs. Open source databases, still a small slice of the market, are probably not expected to have a huge impact on the larger scale database market despite its growth, but they are a looming factor.

Cost issues notwithstanding, SQL Server 2008 does offer higher levels of performance, scalability, policy management and security, as well as its improved T-SQL for developers and support for the ADO.NET Entity Framework. While not all developers have welcomed some of these new features with open arms, SQL Server 2008 will also be an important component of the IDE Evolution Microsoft is embarking on and is the cover story of this month's Visual Studio Magazine by executive editor Kathleen Richards. In that piece, Richards points out that those migrating to Visual Studio Team System 2010 will need to take a hard look at SQL Server 2008:

VSTS 2010, which includes role-based client tools that incorporate VS Professional and a license to TFS, is the first major upgrade to the collaboration environment since its debut in VS 2005. TFS will drop support for SQL Server 2005 as the back-end source control system and thus require an upgrade to SQL Server 2008.

Team System also rolls up the former Developer edition into the Database edition, resulting in Architect, Tester and Database roles in addition to Team Suite, which includes all of the aforementioned functionality in a single SKU.

What's your take on SQL Server 2008? Does the release of SP1 have much affect on your organization? Drop me a line at [email protected].

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/15/2009

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