Microsoft Taking SQL Server to ‘The Cloud’

Microsoft is about to announce a suite of products allowing users to access their data anytime from any device, has learned.

The updates, as well as a scaled-down, free version of SQL Server called SQL Everywhere for mobile devices, are part of a new product roadmap the company is rolling out today.

The free version is slated to be available during the second half of the year and is part of a strategy that it calls “Your Data, Any Place, Any Time.”

In a letter obtained by, Paul Flessner, senior vice president for Microsoft’s data and storage platform division, told his customers that providing these services in the cloud “is the core of our vision.”

Flessner is speaking at a customer luncheon in San Francisco today to discuss Microsoft’s perspective on the future of the data management industry.

The meeting comes at a time when Microsoft is adjusting its products in order to recognize and capitalize on shifts in computing trends, such as software on-demand, virtualization, and unified communications.

Since Microsoft released its SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 SQL Server products in November of 2005, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant has been keen to take on Oracle and IBM for a bigger piece of the enterprise database market, where the latter two tend to dominate.

The roadmap update, as well as SQL Everywhere release, could help build more interest in Microsoft’s investments in the SQL Server platform.

Flessner’s letter outlines the new products, and is reproduced below:

We see you, our customers, requiring a data platform that can store and manage all of the different varieties of data, XML, email, time/calendar, file, document, spatial, etc. You will be able to do this with security enhanced rich services such as: search, query, analysis, sharing, and synchronization. You will be able to access this data from birth to archive and on any device. So your smart-phone will be able to work with a mega-service in the cloud. This is the core of our vision which we think of as “Your Data, Any Place, Any Time”.

We will work on this vision over the next several releases of SQL Server, which we expect to deliver on a anticipated schedule of one release approximately every 24-36 months. Our investments will be across four key themes: Continuous Availability and Automation. As we work to evolve data management from primarily manual to self-tuning, self organizing, and self maintaining, we will push on TCO, focusing on scaling up our enterprise abilities while also dramatically increasing the level of administrative automation.

As part of our commitment in this key area, today we introduce SQL Server AlwaysOn Technologies. We know that many database applications, and specifically line of business systems, must be built to ensure zero or minimum down time, and SQL Server AlwaysOn Technologies will provide customers with a full range of options for achieving and maintaining appropriate levels of application availability. In SQL Server 2005, SQL Server AlwaysOn Technologies include database mirroring, failover clustering, database snapshots, and enhanced online operations. You can certainly expect us to invest significantly in expanding this list in upcoming releases.

Beyond Relational.

As the data your applications work with changes from “words and numbers” to “sights and sounds,” we will evolve our data platform to go beyond relational data, beyond OLAP, to truly support all of the digital data types of the future. We will strive to deliver the best platform for integrated storage, and advanced applications such as spatial data, while also making it dramatically easier for you to build data-driven applications, without needing to invest significant resources in bridging the gap between data and programming language data structures.

Dynamic Applications.

As the applications you build and use evolve from isolated and rigid to adaptive and synchronized, we will strive to provide you with the richest and most productive platform for database development, while also delivering new synchronization capabilities to enable the rapid creation of occasionally connected applications. As part of our work in this area, today I want to announce a new addition to the SQL Server family, SQL Server Everywhere Edition. This new offering for storage on clients of all types will provide a lightweight, compact, but rich subset of the capabilities found in other SQL Server editions. Beyond having rich local data management capabilities, SQL Server Everywhere Edition will also include support for seamlessly synchronizing with other SQL Server editions and provides features that promote building rich client applications that operate effectively in today’s increasingly “occasionally connected” environment. SQL Server Everywhere Edition also shares a common programming model with the other SQL Server editions, enabling developers to transfer skills and knowledge quickly and easily. We expect to ship the first CTP of SQL Server Everywhere Edition this summer, with the goal of final release before the end of this calendar year.

End-To-End Insight.

The difference between a successful business and a failed one could be the ability to act on a market trend in time, or the capacity to adjust pricing for a changing market, or maybe in the ability to listen and react to the pulse of customers, partners and employees. End-to-end Insight is all about enabling better decision making through technology to help you collect, clean, store and prepare your business data for real-time decision making. It is also about the experiences that your information workers will have when accessing, analyzing, visualizing and reporting on the data. Our goal is to help you improve your organization by delivering business insights to all your employees, leading to better, faster, and more relevant decisions.

As we face the coming data explosion, the age of the personal petabyte, of new devices, data types, and application architectures, we believe we have the right vision to meet your requirements, to help you manage Your Data, Any Place, Any Time.

David Needle contributed to this story

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