Finally, Baker is expected to confirm that DTS (Data Transformation Services) has been renamed SQL Server Integration Services and that it will appear as a beefed-up version in SQL Server 2005 Beta 3. Payne said that the new version of DTS is a completely revamped product that doesnt share a single line of code with its predecessor. Beyond the ETL (extraction, transformation and loading) capabilities DTS now features, Integration Services will be able to source data from Web services or RSS feeds. That represents a significant evolutionary leap because it encompasses nonpersistent data that resides outside of the database. The new capabilities will enable users to snare data flows coming from Web services or RSS feeds and to perform text mining on it, searching for keywords routed into an XML file or database, for example. Lou Ann Leary, director of merchandise systems for Barnes & Noble Inc., in New York, said that the company has performed a proof of concept with SQL Server 2000 in order to develop a full BI solution. Barnes & Noble is using Reporting Services and Analysis Services along with DTS in the beta of SQL Server 2005, which is code-named Yukon. Leary said that Barnes & Noble determined that SQL Server 2000, along with Microsofts BI tools, could indeed process the retailers holiday volume and run sales and inventory and produce reports for users every morning.Thats not a surprising scenario, according to Rob Helms, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, in Kirkland, Wash. "My sense of the SQL Server group is that BI, broadly defined, is deeply important to them," he said. "They were crediting BI for 40 percent of SQL Server sales" recently, he said. "It was a way for SQL Server to sneak into shops that are traditionally Oracle shops." Indeed, the transformation of DTS into Integration Services means that Microsoft is deadly serious as it launches its latest assault on the data warehousing market and as it prepares the market for Yukon, Helms said. "Microsoft today has a set of utilities called DTS that are supposed to be for getting data out of operational systems, cleaning it up and putting it into data warehouses," he said. "Theyve completely rewritten that. It will make use of the .Net framework and be much more scalable because of that. This is probably for the BI side of SQL Server the biggest release since SQL Server 7.0. Theyre really counting on those improvements to get people to move to Yukon." Check out eWEEK.coms Database Center at http://database.eweek.com for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
After determining Microsoft BI tools could handle the 1.2-terabyte data warehouse, the next issue was price shopping. Barnes & Noble is an Oracle Corp. database shop and so, naturally, the company priced out a BI solution using Oracle technology. "Were an Oracle operations shop, and it would be a natural solution for us, but Microsoft was cheaper to do," Leary said. Microsofts BI platform was 20 percent less costly, she saidthe figure that clinched the deal.