Microsoft Sets Interim Server Upgrade

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-12-10

Microsoft Corp. plans a mid-2003 release of the next version of SQL Server, its high-end database, that will focus on making the product work with the companys .Net initiative. But between now and then, Microsoft is slating a minor upgrade to SQL Server 2000 for February.

That update will probably bundle SQL Server 2000 with Microsofts Visual Studio .Net, which is due for release in the next few weeks, and with Web services components, according to Gordon Mangione, vice president of SQL Server for the Redmond, Wash., company.

Microsofts plans make sense to supply chain management company Newgistics Inc. "Im very satisfied with the core services provided" by SQL Server, said Ed Stashluk, vice president of technology at the Austin, Texas, company. "Our decision to update depends on the services and features that are provided. I think theyre headed in the right direction." However, Stashluk said he wants to hear more about the details of the rest of Microsofts .Net software-as-a-service strategy.

Code-named Yukon, the new version scheduled for 2003 will not only tie in with .Net but also feature improvements unrelated to the strategy, including task wizards and Intellisense capabilities. Intellisense enables users to automate routine data entry and will be applied to entering datalike stored procedures, Mangione said.

Microsoft is also working on making its XML features "deeper," Mangione said. The company released an XML update this fall, focusing on making the common language run-time and the application frameworks of .Net run inside the database itself, which was a huge shift from the past. Further work on XML will continue to be done in-house—it would be too difficult to integrate with another vendors native XML database, he said.

Also, despite the success of Oracle Corp. and IBM in selling databases for operating systems such as Unix, Solaris and Linux, Microsoft will not expand beyond its Windows platform. However, Mangione said, "there are some customers who are skeptical about that platform, and that may cost us some sales."

Something that wont change is the use of the T-SQL language inside the database. "Code you wrote all the way back to SQL 6 still runs," Mangione said.

In addition, even if Oracles highly touted application clustering technology meets with market success, the architecture of SQL Server wont change.

"They made the big bet on shared disk. Ours is on shared nothing, and I dont regret that," Mangione said.

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