Microsoft offered the public a glimpse of the future of SQL Server at its Business Intelligence Conference in Seattle.
During his conference keynote, Ted Kummert, vice president of Microsoft's Data and Platform Storage division, laid out the company's plans to build additional business intelligence capabilities into SQL Server. This version of SQL Server, code-named Kilimanjaro, will include self-service reporting updates and new BI functionality code-named Project Gemini.
According to Microsoft, through Project Gemini, users of SQL Server Kilimanjaro will be able to grab data and create their own BI applications and assets to share and collaborate on from within popular Microsoft Office productivity tools. The Gemini component of Kilimanjaro features a SharePoint midtier for publishing, collaboration and management; Excel-hosted Gemini client Self-service Data Preparation; and a column-based storage engine.
"Kilimanjaro will allow an end user to leverage the technology they are familiar with Excel [and] SharePoint to produce a report and share it with their colleagues for further collaboration," said Tom Casey, GM of SQL Server Business Intelligence, in an interview with eWEEK. "It's a combination really of self-service BI and knowledge management. Additionally, the environment is an IT managed one, so intelligence captured through the application will be transferred back into SQL Server. No more lost intelligence sitting in Excel files on the end user's desktop."
The new self-service reporting capabilities will include an upgrade to Report Builder as well as features such as a reusable component repository.
"One of the more groundbreaking features here is the composite reporting, or -grab-and-go' reporting, capabilities [that allow] someone like the CFO to easily come in and pull a few charts into a report with [the] complete capability to drill down into data as needed," Casey added.
The announcement comes roughly two months after SQL Server 2008 hit the streets. In his keynote, Kummert stressed the company will stick to plans to release major updates to SQL Server every 24 to 36 months. Kilimanjaro, however, will be available within the next 12 months via a community technology preview (CTP). Full availability is scheduled for 2010.
On the coattails of that announcement, Microsoft also clarified its road map for recently acquired DATAllegro. The integration effort is code-named Madison and will provide an appliancelike solution in collaboration with hardware partners Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Unisys, Bull Systems and EMC. Madison will be available via CTP in the next 12 months, with full availability in 2010.