Last SQL Server Preview, Then Showtime

Microsoft has just completed its sixth and final community technical preview of its SQL Server 2005. The CTP is a mini test drive that lets customers scrutinize new functions in the database software.

Microsoft Senior Vice President Paul Flessner said the company improved its Database Mirroring feature in the latest preview. Though the feature is complete and has passed extensive internal testing, the tool needs more time in the hands of customers before it is made generally available, Flessner said.

Microsoft programmers are also writing a scaled-down version of the SQL Server 2005 Management Studio for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Flessner said the new utility will help users more efficiently manage SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with increased automation and lower complexity.

Like the Database Mirroring utility, the final delivery of this technology will also depend on additional feedback from customers. Flessner said Microsoft is working to produce both tools in the first half of 2006.

“We now have nearly 100 business-critical applications running SQL Server 2005 at Microsoft and more than 30 customers have put SQL Server 2005 into production,” Flessner said. “During this time, we have learned many things and tuned the product to better meet your needs.”

Office 12 and the Vista operating system remain the talk of the town in Los Angeles at Microsoft’s Professional Developer’s Conference this week.

But Microsoft is counting on SQL Server 2005 to be a tremendous hit with its developer network when it hits the streets alongside Visual Studio 2005 November 7.

Microsoft would like to take more market share from database leaders Oracle and IBM and needs the expected trail-blazing functionality in its new product to do it.

The Redmond, Wash., giant’s CTPs have proven popular, with more than 300,000 downloads of the previous SQL Server CTP. Microsoft initiated SQL Server 2005 CTPs last October, and offered additional ones in December, February, April, June and September.

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