Microsoft Corp. will use this weeks Tech Ed conference in Orlando, Fla., to update product plans and show developers how it hopes to make data a first-class player in the companys development strategy, said sources close to the company.
Not only is Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., expected to release a June CTP (Community Technology Preview) of its SQL Server 2005 platform, but sources said Microsoft is also working on a solution that takes the integration of data into the development scheme beyond that of the integration between Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, code-named Whidbey and Yukon, respectively. The company will announce release-to-manufacturing dates—expected to be mid-October—for these two products as well.
Microsoft will unveil a new SSMA (SQL Server Migration Assistant) for Oracle Corp. products, available free for download this week, to help customers more easily move off the rivals database by understanding associated migration costs and testing existing Oracle deployments and code once its moved.
Microsoft also will announce revamped licensing practices for its Reporting Services capability in SQL Server. Currently shipping in only SQL Server 2005 Standard and Enterprise editions, Reporting Services will be offered free in lower-end Express and Workgroup editions.
In addition, Microsoft will expand Report Builder from Standard Edition to Workgroup Edition once Yukon debuts.
Sources said high-level Microsoft architects are focusing on how "Orcas," the follow-on version of Visual Studio, will more easily and efficiently handle data via future versions of both Visual Basic and Visual C#. In fact, Anders Hejlsberg, a top Microsoft software architect, is working on Visual C# 3.0 and has produced compiler technology that accelerates data integration. The Visual Basic team is working to deliver similar functionality, based on Microsofts FoxPro technology base, sources said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft will make the June CTP of Yukon publicly available, unlike earlier releases, which have been available primarily through the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network).
"I think that for the first time in the last couple of years, SQL Server 2005 is looking very stable and shippable," said Stephen Forte, chief technology officer of Corzen Inc., in New York, who has been a beta tester of the technology.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also will showcase a new CTP of BizTalk Server 2006, among other updates, sources said.
Also at Tech Ed, Microsoft will provide updates on the Trustworthy Computing Initiative, the "Indigo" communications subsystem and new peer channel technology, Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio Team System, SQL Server 2005, a new service consumption feature in Outlook code-named Elixir, and the Dynamic Systems Initiative.
Additional reporting by Brian Fonseca