Microsoft releases SQL Server 2008 to manufacturers

Long awaited Microsoft database program makes its debut

Microsoft has released SQL Server 2008 to manufacturers, as well as an evaluation edition for subscribers to its Microsoft Development Network and TechNet services, the company announced late yesterday. Microsoft is expected to open the software to general release by the end of September, according to earlier reports.

This version of SQL Server will offer a wide swath of new capabilities, making it a formidable rival to Oracle's enterprise database offering.

One of the chief new features is Policy-Based Management, which will allow administrators to set organization-wide configurations for all running instances of SQL Server, according to Microsoft Federal development consultant Jack Bradham.

SQL Server 2008 also will collect performance data of the database itself through its Performance Data Collector. Administrators also will be able to allocate resources for each workload through a new feature named the Resource Governor.

Other new features will include support for auditing, large-scale data warehousing and geospatial data. It will also offer a wider range of reporting and analysis services.

SQL Server will available in seven editions:
  • SQL Server 2008 Enterprise: The full-fledged version of the software is aimed for widespread mission-critical enterprise use. This version includes the ability to consolidate servers and high-volume online transactional processing.
  • SQL Server 2008 Standard: This version is aimed for departmental use.
  • SQL Server 2008 Workgroup: This version is aimed for setting up multiple instances running in multiple locations, with remote synchronization and management capabilities.
  • SQL Server 2008 Web: This version is tweaked for Internet-facing Web-based applications.
  • SQL Server 2008 Developer: This version is configured for developers who wish to build and test database-driven applications. It is functionally the same as SQL Server Enterprise, but is licensed only for development and testing use.
  • SQL Server 2008 Express: This free version is tweaked for learning environments, as well as for building desktop and small server applications.
  • SQL Server Compact 3.5: This version, also free, is designed for building applications for mobile devices and embedded computing environments.

SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server Compact editions are now available for general release.

The SQL Server software has been widely tested. According to Microsoft, the preview editions have been downloaded more than 450,000 times, and 75 instances are already run in production environments.

One early customer is the Veterans Affairs Department. It has an SQL Server 2008 instance running in a production environment through its Technical Adoption Program, according to VA data warehouse manager Jack Bates. The database holds VA clinical transaction data for the western region that will be fed into a data warehouse.

"We have that up to learn the idiosyncrasies and test the new capabilities," Bates said. The key features that look like they could help VA would be compression, which could save space, and the ability to partition data tables, which could speed query times.

Although Microsoft announced SQL Server 2008 earlier this year, it delayed the release of the software, first to June, and, most recently, to the end of September.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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