After delays and speculation, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 is being released to manufacturing Aug. 6.
Microsoft officials did not give a definitive general availability date, but a spokesperson said it is expected to be within two weeks. Pricing for SQL Server is expected to remain the same, which Microsoft officials have said will help the company compete with Oracle and IBM.
SQL Server 2008 contains a host of new functionality and enhancements, including transparent data encryption and policy-based management, which is aimed at helping database administrators manage multiple instances of SQL Server with common configurations and policies. Other capabilities include support for geospatial data, row and page data compression, and enhanced reporting and analysis features.
With more than 450,000 customer and partner downloads of the product's community technology previews, Microsoft officials said they got plenty of feedback on the release.
"[Customers] really like our new features that allow them to scale into high-volume, high-transaction throughput environments," Fausto Ibarra, director of product management for SQL Server, said in an interview with eWEEK. "Features like, in the case of data warehousing, Resource Governor, which allows mixed workloads to work together side by side in SQL Server."
The product will be entering the market next to Oracle Database 11g and IBM DB2 9.5, products from Microsoft's two biggest competitors in the RDBMS (relational DBMS) field. According to the latest estimates from analyst group IDC, Oracle still sits atop the global RDBMS market, capturing 44.3 percent of revenues in 2007. IBM was next with 21 percent. Microsoft came in third with 18.5 percent.
The SQL Server 2008 Express and SQL Server Compact editions are immediately available for free download.