SQL Server gets tryout at USGS
The Interior Department agency each year makes several thousand new and revised maps
and sells at least 3 million paper copies. It has around 3 terabytes of geospatial images.
The 18-month cooperative R&D agreement, announced here at Microsoft Scalability
Day, gives the corporation a large image database for testing the SQL Server release,
which goes into beta testing next month.
Company officials said the Structured Query Language database management system,
code-named Sphinx, performs 17 times better than the current 32-bit SQL Server.
The database project, which Microsoft refers to as Terra Server, goes live in October
with 300G of USGS geospatial data running on a four-way Digital Equipment Corp. 400-MHz
AlphaServer 4100. The server has 2G of RAM, 1.3 terabytes of RAID Level 5 disk storage and
2-terabyte Digital TL894 tape robot.
The initial 300G of USGS data represents only a fraction of the geospatial assets that
eventually could go online in Terra Server, which also will have images from Russia's
The AlphaServer will connect through a 100-megabit/sec Cisco Systems Inc. EtherSwitch
to four-way Digital Pentium Pro Prioris ZX 6200 servers running Microsoft's Internet
Information Server 3.0 and ActiveX Automap software.
Jim Gray, a Microsoft senior researcher, said the USGS images will be stored as small
tiles so that anyone with a 28.8-kilobit/sec modem can view them within about 10 seconds.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and other officials at the event escalated the assault on
their Unix competitors, claiming a place for the Windows NT operating system in the
largest data centers. They said Microsoft has set an ambitious schedule of scalability and
interoperability improvements to NT.
They predicted the OS, to be developed next year, will run the most demanding data
center applications now on IBM MVS and Digital VMS mainframes. As Paul Maritz, Microsoft
group vice president, said, "You're never done with scalability."
The fifth generation of NT, now at 19 million lines of code, has just entered beta
tests and will arrive in 1998 as NT 5.0. Before then, Maritz said, Microsoft will ship
scaled-up versions of the Microsoft BackOffice suite: NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition,
SQL Server 6.5 Enterprise Edition and BackOffice Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition.
The BackOffice Server Enterprise Edition will bundle a new version of Exchange Server
with a terabyte-sized message store, along with Microsoft's Proxy Server, SNA Server,
Systems Management Server and Site Server. The BackOffice products will work with older
mainframe CICS and VSAM operating environments, officials said.