Microsoft Eyes 2003 Yukon Release

The next version of SQL Server, Microsoft Corp.'s high-end database, will likely debut in mid-2003, with a minor upgrade to the existing SQL Server 2000 coming in February 2002.

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The next version of SQL Server, Microsoft Corp.s high-end database, will likely debut in mid-2003, with a minor upgrade to the existing SQL Server 2000 coming in February 2002.

The update in February will probably bundle SQL Server 2000 with the Redmond, Wash., companys Visual Studio.NET, which is due for release in the next few weeks, and with Web services components, Gordon Mangione, vice president of SQL Server, told eWEEK.

"Overall the business looks really exciting at this point," Mangione said. However, "the actual packaging (for the minor update) is still undecided."

The mid-2003 launch, code-named Yukon, will focus on making the database work with the companys .NET strategy and products for native Internet applications, which could be sold as a service. But Yukon will also have improvements in areas unrelated to .NET, like task wizards and Microsofts Intellisense functionality, which helps users automate routine data entry.

Intellisense will be specifically applied to entering data like stored procedures, he said.

Microsoft is also working on making its XML features "deeper," he said. The company released an XML update this fall, focusing on making the common language runtime and the application frameworks of .NET run inside the database itself. That was a huge shift from the past, Mangione said. All further work on XML will continue to be done in-house—it would be too difficult for Microsoft to integrate with another vendors native XML database, he said. XML databases alone are a successful niche product.

Also, despite the success of rivals Oracle Corp. and IBM in selling databases for operating systems like Unix, Solaris and Linux, Microsoft has no plans to expand beyond its Windows platform. Still, "I realize that there are some customers who are skeptical about that platform, and that may cost us some sales," Mangione said.

But Microsoft can learn from the way Oracle makes feature like locks and versioning. Also, he said, "We want to emulate some thing that theyve done" for moving applications.

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.

Also, 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 any day," he said.