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Microsoft Ships New SQL Server 2008 Preview

Microsoft  this week shipped the second preview version of SQL Server 2008, and company officials said that the product is on track for release in the second quarter of next year.

Microsoft released the first community technology preview (CTP) of SQL Server 2008 on June 4 at its TechEd conference and is shooting to issue a new CTP approximately every 60 days, Francois Ajenstat, director of SQL Server marketing, told Internetnews.com.

The company is using the CTP process instead of a more formal beta test cycle for SQL Server 2008. By the schedule, a third CTP is targeted to ship roughly 60 days from now, and that would put a fourth CTP at about the end of the year.

SQL Server 2008 will be launched at a Los Angeles gala, along with Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008, on February 27, 2008. But it won't actually ship until weeks later, according to the current roadmap.

"The last CTP will be released around the 'launch' [gala] time frame," Ajenstat said.

In the latest CTP, Microsoft has added a handful of new features, including more reliable database mirroring and support for what Microsoft calls "extended events," enabling correlation between event logs.

"[For instance,] you can combine the database log with the operating system log so that events are a lot richer and have a lot more context for administrators," he added. Overall, SQL Server 2008 builds on SQL Server 2005's foundation, adding support for spatial and unstructured data types as well as more management capabilities.

To date, more than 12,000 customers have registered for the SQL Server 2008 CTP program and there have been more than 10,000 downloads of the first CTP, Ajenstat said. The July CTP is available here.