New data warehouse SQL Server solutions

Microsoft has released preconfigured data warehouse reference architectures that incorporate Microsoft SQL Server 2008. The new offerings are part of the SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse program and feature servers from Bull, Dell and Hewlett-Packard.

The solutions promise scalability for data warehousing applications. The best hardware/software solutions can scale up to 32T, according to an announcement issued by Microsoft.

The company has made considerable progress in the data warehouse market in competition with IBM and Oracle, said James Kobielus, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. He estimated that Oracle Database, IBM DB2 and Microsoft SQL Server are used in about one-third of data warehousing environments. Two-thirds of those deployments are for transactional applications, such as online transaction processing, enterprise resource planning, customer resource management and others, he added.

Microsoft said the new offerings represent an important step toward the massive scalability promised by a Microsoft project code-named Madison, which aims to integrate parallel processing technologies the company acquired from DATAllegro.

Microsoft closed its acquisition of DATAllegro in September 2008 and plans to launch a product that can scale to hundreds of terabytes of data sometime in the first half of 2010.

Various hardware products have been tested under the SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse partnership program.

Bull offers data warehouse capability through its NovaScale R460 E1 and NovaScale R480 E1 servers using four-core and six-core Intel Xeon processors.

Dell offers two options. The Dell PowerEdge 2950 server has two Intel Xeon quad-core processors for a total of eight CPU cores, and it supports 4T of storage. The Dell PowerEdge R900 has four Intel Xeon six-core processors for a total of 24 CPU cores and 12T of storage.

HP offers three server options. The HP ProLiant DL385 G5p server has two Advanced Micro Devices Opteron quad-core CPUs for a total of eight CPU cores and 4T of storage. The HP ProLiant DL585 G5 has four AMD Opteron quad-core CPUs for a total of 16 CPU cores and 8T of storage. HP offers its top model — the HP ProLiant DL785 G5 – with eight AMD Opteron quad-core CPUs for a total of 32 CPU cores and 16T of storage.

Microsoft said its announcement means the SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse program provides performance and scalability "out of the box with minimal tuning required." Prices start at $13,000 per terabyte.

About the Author

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

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