Microsoft Corp., as part of its push toward XML Web services, Wednesday announced two beta versions of mobile enhancements to its core SQL Server database that integrate it more firmly in the companys .Net platform.
Along with product updates, though, the company also is planning to release a beta version of its next major SQL Server release, code-named Yukon, later this year and is pushing forward plans to offer a 64-bit version of the current SQL Server 2000 before the Yukon release slated for 2003, Gordon Mangione, vice president of SQL Server, told eWEEK.
The new beta releases, announced during a keynote at Microsofts TechEd 2002 developers conference, are SQL Server 2000 Notification Services and SQL Server Windows CE Edition 2.0. The Notification Services beta is available immediately, while the CE Edition 2.0 beta should be available by the end of the month.
Notification Services builds into SQL Server the capability to develop and manage the Web notifications commonly available on Web sites, such as sports scores and weather updates. Notification Services supports deployment of such notifications as SMS (Short Message Service), SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol), Windows .Net Alerts for MSN and MSN Messenger, Mangione said. Notification Services should be generally released in the summer.
Mangione said Notification Services was a very scalable way to deliver millions of events, currently delivering more than 10 million a month for MSN Mobile. "This is a generally used technology that we are making available to all customers, not just cell phone users," he said.
The next release of SQL Server CE, due for general release in late fall, ties it more closely into development tools for the .Net platform. It provides integration with the .Net Compact Framework through Smart Device Extensions for Visual Studio .Net, said Eric Rudder, senior vice president of Microsofts developer platform and evangelism group during the keynote.
"This will provide improved replication capabilities and extends the reach of enterprise data management capabilities to devices," Rudder said.
But Microsoft isnt expecting that its mobile version of SQL Server will be a huge market in and of itself. When asked about the market for it, Mangione said it was an "interesting" part of its business. "Do we think well be able to drive tons of revenue off it? Probably not, but its an important component of our longer-term vision," he said. "If you can build an application using Visual Studio .Net, you can build one for CE."
The two beta releases further SQL Servers role in Microsofts vision of XML Web Services within .Net, but the companys biggest push on the database side is expected to come with Yukon. In Yukon, Mangione said, .Net technology will be more directly integrated into the SQL Server engine to make it "the premier database for developing Web services."
"This is a big release for us, and by the time it is released we will have spent some two-and-a-half years on it," Mangione said.
But he emphasized that customers dont have to wait until Yukon for advancements in SQL Servers capabilities. SQL Server 2000 for 64-bit systems is currently in beta, with a number of customers already deploying it on 64-bit systems. While he wouldnt pinpoint a date for a general release of that version, he said it is slated for release 30 days after the final release of the Windows .Net Server family, which has been pushed back twice and is currently scheduled for the second half of this year.