Users Prefer Delays to
Glitches"> Microsoft took its share of lumps from critics, major database competitors and industry analysts while SQL Server 2005 encountered numerous beta and general release delays stretching far beyond the software giants initial target release date. Flessner said the repeated delays were not ideal but were necessary to polish the tool. "Theres no doubt it took a long time. Five years [between product cycles] is longer than I would have liked. We made some big bets along the way and they took longer to come to fruition to what I would have hoped. In the future, Id like to be on 36-month cycle," Flessner said.In fact, he said Microsofts decision to pull out a mirroring feature from the final code of the just-released version of the SQL Server database proves to him that Microsoft has learned from past mistakes and is committed to improving product development. "We have been testing the mirroring feature between our New Jersey and New York City facilities. From our experience, we were completely happy. But Microsoft said, We havent tested enough customer validation and we feel some of the facilitating tool we could improve, so if something goes wrong a customer could more easily figure it out," Catassi said. "That kind of thing to me is very positive, because it means that they realize that this is not just an access databasethis is our enterprise-critical tool. If I wait six months or more its not a big deal if its there when I need it for me to rely on." Mediterranean Shipping Co., which features 350 direct offices, runs a massive container ship operation moving across the globe. Following the Sep. 11 terrorist attacks, the organization was forced to comply with much tighter restrictions in terms of changed regulations for getting containers past U.S. borders. That led to a quick makeover of Mediterraneans procedures to ensure that its infrastructure was always available and had a database underpinning it could expand in terms of development and scalability. Catassi said SQL Server 2005s deeper integration with Visual Studio is fitting in nicely with those plans. Why does columnist Charles Garry suggest caution regarding SQL Server 2005? Click here to read more. "We perform 19 million database transactions per day and 15 billion transactions a year. We have 48 new megacarriers in construction and we receive one of them every two weeks between now and the end of next year. Our IT needs grow almost as fast as our business grows," Catassi said. "During the summer, we switched to [SQL Server] 2005. Immediately we saw on the same hardware an increase in performance. That gives me comfort that [the database] doesnt give me any worry on volume size when we increase the size of the ships because we feel this technology is there for us." From an engineering point of view, he said, the databases 64-bit support has helped Mediterranean scale out on the same box without having to perform partitioning. As for availability, SQL Server 2005s index rebuilding has enabled Catassis clustered environment to perform functions such as faster redo on failover, limiting the time that the database is offline. By running over 4 million lines of SQL code in its system, Mediterraneans CTO said the databases ability to catch blocks has made a huge impact toward cutting down hours. "My developers tell me its making a tremendous difference," Catassi said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest database news, reviews and analysis.
However, in a typical customer reaction, current SQL Server 2005 customer Fabio Catassi, CTO of Geneva-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., said he has no problems with the delay of a critical product earmarked for his organization as long as it suits a purpose.