Microsoft Sets SQL Server Free

SAN FRANCISCO — Microsoft unveiled its plans to release a free, mobile version of its SQL Server database at a customer event here today. SQL Server Everywhere Edition is scheduled for release in the second half of this year.

The stripped down mobile version of Microsoft’s enterprise class SQL Server database software will be free to download and use. Microsoft also said it plans to embed “Everywhere” in mobile devices by making it part of the Windows Mobile services already includes in many PDAs and other portable computers.

“We’ve had a lot of requests for a lightweight, very small database that can be truly embedded in mobile applications as one file, and we’ve addressed that here,” Illya Bukshteyn, SQL Server Marketing Director at Microsoft told “It’s pretty unique to have a free database with reporting capabilities and BI [business intelligence] and runs applications.”

SQL Server Everywhere is free to use, but to access or synchronize with a Microsoft SQL Server database users need a client license. Microsoft offers both individual client and per processor licenses.

The real key to SQL Server Everywhere’s growth will be third party applications. Microsoft already offers a free database, SQL Express, released in November. Since its release, Bukshteyn says there has been over two million downloads of Express, and what he called a “booming community” of developers. But the small footprint and mobility of SQL Server Everywhere promises even broader appeal . “We think we’ve taken it up a notch with SQL Everywhere,” said Bukshteyn.

Ron Lichty, VP for product engineering at Forensic Logic, said he was impressed by Everywhere’s potential. Among other applications, Forensic Logic develops database software for police departments.

“For a police officer to be able to open a mobile device out in the field and quickly access the data and analytics he or she needs instead of waiting for a dispatcher would be very valuable,” Lichty told . “Government clients are also going to like the fact that it’s free.”

SQL Server Everywhere will run on any current version of Windows for servers, desktops tablets or mobile devices. It requires only between one or two megabytes of storage, according to Microsoft.

Separately, Microsoft announced its SQL Server AlwaysOn certification program. Essentially, Microsoft said it will certify the high availability features in its database for use by OEMs such as server manufacturers. Those server makers will be able to use the AlwaysOn certification branding in their marketing. Microsoft plans customer roll out announcements at its TechEd conference this June in Boston.

“We’re seeing customers like the NASDAQ stock exchange use SQL Server 2005 for the most demanding applications,” said Bukshteyn. “There’s no work load they won’t trust to it.”

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