RealTime IT News

Microsoft Previewing SQL Server

Trolling for as much feedback as possible as it moves toward its next major database release for 2005, Microsoft Friday kicked off a Community Technical Preview (CTP) of SQL Server 2005.

Described by the company as "interim builds," the CTP is sort of an unofficial beta of the product, giving customers an opportunity to provide the Redmond, Wash., software giant with as many suggestions as possible, said Tom Rizzo, director of product management for SQL Server.

Customers can preview changes coming in beta 3, which is on target for the first quarter of 2005, he said. Successful CTPs have been trotted out for Microsoft's Visual Studio, giving the company the idea to do a similar build for SQL Server 2005.

To date, SQL Server 2005 is in its second beta, with hundreds of thousands of users testing it, Rizzo told internetnews.com, noting that comments and suggestions about the product's management tools lead the feedback charge.

The database software, which will have improved business intelligence, management and extraction transaction and loading (ETL) features, is such a major release that the company wants to offer as many users as possible to comment on the software.

SQL Server 2005 is expected to compete strongly with IBM's DB2 Universal Database 8.2 and Oracle's 10G Database.

Microsoft has 20 applications in production for SQL Server 2005, including SAP, payroll and document repository systems, and plans to put another 30 applications into production before the final release.

The Developer Edition of the SQL Server 2005 CTP is available today on Betaplace and will be available to MSDN Universal, Enterprise and Professional subscribers through the MSDN Subscriber Downloads site within one or two weeks.

Rizzo said users can expect more CTPs for SQL Server 2005 going forward.