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Microsoft Readies 'Premium' Database Packages

Microsoft is adding two new, high-end editions to its SQL Server 2008 Release 2, or R2, line of database products, with features that include support for up to 256 processors.

Meanwhile, Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) executives also announced that the next community technology preview (CTP) of the core product -- SQL Server 2008 R2 -- will begin this month. The previous CTP shipped in August.

The two new premium packages meant for high-end, mission critical processing scenarios are dubbed SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter and SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse, and they are meant for industrial strength datacenter and data warehousing applications.

"The move to very low cost memory means the ability to work with large amounts of data," said Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's Server and Tools business. For example, the datacenter product will support as many as 256 logical processors, while the data warehousing package will enable applications that work with tens to hundreds of terabytes of memory.

"With the Data Warehousing [package], data can grow to even a petabyte of data," Fausto Ibarra, director of product management for SQL Server, told InternetNews.com.

Muglia made the announcement during his keynote speech Tuesday at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Community Summit 2009 in Seattle.

In one demonstration to the more than 2000 attendees from 45 countries, Muglia showed off a database "appliance" from IBM running SQL Server 2008 R2 on 192 CPUs.

R2 is the second release of SQL Server 2008, which initially shipped near the end of 2008.

The two new packages each cost $57,498 per processor with no client access licenses (CAL) needed. Two other SQL Server 2008 R2 offerings will be available with either of two different licensing models.

For instance, the Enterprise package will cost either $28,749 per processor with no CAL costs, or $13,969 with 25 CALs. Similarly, the Standard offering will cost $7,499 per processor, or $1,849 with five CALs.

The Datacenter package is based on the Enterprise release and is designed to provide "the highest levels of scalability for large application workloads, virtualization and consolidation, and management for an organization's database infrastructure," according to online Microsoft documents.

Meanwhile, the Data Warehouse offering is built on a hardware-based database "appliance" -- Microsoft has several partners who will offer such appliances, including

Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is scheduled to ship in the first half of 2010, Ibarra said.

Customers who would like to sign up to participate in the CTP can do so here.