Extended support for earlier

By Lisa Vaas  |  Posted 2004-03-10 Print this article Print

versions?"> Rizzo said Microsoft is now looking into the issue of software lifecycles, although no news was immediately forthcoming regarding extended support for either product. In the meantime, various high-level features that would have made Yukon a compelling competitor to enterprise-class databases—i.e., IBM DB2 and Oracle—have been cut. These include, according to Burton, clustering, hash partitioning, the use of Yukon as a unifying storage engine with Microsoft applications and file system support within the database management system. Are these high-end features important to the small and midsize businesses that are Microsofts sweet spot in the market? Not necessarily. Kevin Kline, president of the PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) user group and director of technology for SQL Server at Quest Software Inc., in Nashville, Tenn., said that specific performance-related features like hash clustering can provide a gain, but in the relative prioritization of features, they dont necessarily come out as all that important to the SQL Server users he works with. "Microsoft might offer [such features] to match what a competitor has, but in the end, you can probably match the performance you can get from that competitor with other features," he said.
But according to Enswers Foote, the most important items on the Yukon wish list arent such enterprise-level features. Rather, theyre run-of-the-mill tweaks that Microsoft could have added to SQL Server with incremental functionality updates over the course of the past few years. For example, Foote wrote, "the simple act of modifying users in a SQL Server instance that already has several thousand users defined is in fact quite bothersome. Enterprise Manager (from 2000) does not provide the ability to search the database users to see what names already exist—you have to scroll endlessly in order to find a name that you are looking for."
Another example Foote cited is the adding of privileges to a role or user. If a SQL Server user has thousands of database objects, such as stored procedures, tables, views, etc., for which he or she administers access privileges, the user has no sorting or searching ability in Enterprise Manager. "Youve got to scroll endlessly to find just the stored procedure that you are looking for to add a respective privilege to the user or role you are working with," Enswers wrote. The list goes on, but perhaps the most frustrating aspect of the situation is that such enhancements would not require a major new release of SQL Server. All of these examples and more could be implemented in existing products with existing class libraries that Microsoft already provides, Foote said. "SQL Server customers would be a lot more likely to renew their maintenance contracts if they had been receiving even incremental updates over the past several years," he wrote. The failure to pump out incremental updates could also hurt Microsoft in the long run, Burton said, as enterprises back off on plans to push SQL Server into broader usage in enterprise applications. "Theyll still use SQL Server," she said. "Theyll just not continue to push it further up into the enterprise." Wait before you pass judgment, though, said Microsofts Rizzo. "Its still too early to say whats in and whats out," he said. "We have a second beta coming out. We expect a lot of feedback on what they find useful and whats not useful. In the end, requirements may have changed for customers, and technology may have changed. We expect Beta 2 to really solidify what we do in terms of features and functionality." Mary Jo Foley of Microsoft Watch contributed to this story. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
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Lisa Vaas is News Editor/Operations for eWEEK.com and also serves as editor of the Database topic center. Since 1995, she has also been a Webcast news show anchorperson and a reporter covering the IT industry. She has focused on customer relationship management technology, IT salaries and careers, effects of the H1-B visa on the technology workforce, wireless technology, security, and, most recently, databases and the technologies that touch upon them. Her articles have appeared in eWEEK's print edition, on eWEEK.com, and in the startup IT magazine PC Connection. Prior to becoming a journalist, Vaas experienced an array of eye-opening careers, including driving a cab in Boston, photographing cranky babies in shopping malls, selling cameras, typography and computer training. She stopped a hair short of finishing an M.A. in English at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She earned a B.S. in Communications from Emerson College. She runs two open-mic reading series in Boston and currently keeps bees in her home in Mashpee, Mass.

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