Microsoft Corp. is peeling back the covers of its highly anticipated SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 database this week to reveal enhancements such as support for 64-bit x86 platforms, as well as improved security and management tools.
The Redmond, Wash., company will roll out SQL Server 2005 Beta 2, code-named Yukon, for download to about 300,000 MSDN Universal and Professional subscribers. Yukon Beta 2 includes support for Advanced Micro Devices Inc.s Opteron processors with Direct Connect Architecture and Intel Corp.s 32-bit chips with 64-bit extensions, said Microsoft officials.
AMDs Direct Connect Architecture improves memory and bandwidth by directly connecting memory and I/O to the CPU and by directly connecting CPUs to one another.
Yukon beta tester Tim Kelly, technology director at credit card processor TSys Inc., of Columbus, Ga., said native support for the Opteron could enable him to manipulate a 2TB to 3TB database with a 60- to 90-second response time—versus 5 minutes.
“[The AMD support] is welcome and extremely significant because weve already started deploying the [Hewlett-Packard Co.] 585 ProLiant servers. When we run the Intel 3.2GHz Xeon against the 1.8GHz Opteron, the Opteron is outperforming it for our [customized internal] application,” said Kelly. “Were excited like everyone to get our hands on it to start some lab testing and see what the actual performance numbers are.”
Kelly said hes looking forward to accessing Yukons natively installed AMD instructions for SQL Server rather than having to rely on native Intel instructions.
Kelly pointed to the importance of improved database mirroring in Yukon Beta 2, as well as the stabilization of .Net and code interpretation to launch stored procedures out of C# and Visual Basic .Net versus the T-SQL language.
SQL Server 2005 Beta 3 is on track for release before years end, said Tom Rizzo, Microsoft SQL Server product manager. The final version of the database is due to hit shelves in the first half of next year. No major alterations are expected between Beta 2 and Beta 3, officials said.
However, Rizzo said Microsoft developers are trying to add reporting technology that the company got via its acquisition of ActiveViews Inc. in April. The ActiveViews components will be integrated directly into the databases Reporting Services feature to allow nondeveloper users to create reports without using Microsofts Visual Studio.
Microsoft is a late entrant in the AMD64 support realm. Oracle Corp., of Redwood Shores, Calif., already offers an AMD64-optimized Oracle Database for Linux, as well as a developers release of Oracle Database 10g for Windows.
IBM officials in Armonk, N.Y., said IBM will offer developers later this year a technology preview of DB2 Universal Database for Windows Server 2003 for 64-Bit Extended Systems.
Some SQL Server 2000 customers are lauding Microsoft for widening Yukons appeal for an increasingly cost-conscious database audience.
“This actually helps us in the long run because Intel will have to play by free-market rules and start to become more competitively priced,” said Don Watters, senior database administrator for The Walt Disney Internet Group, a business unit of The Walt Disney Co., based in Burbank, Calif.
“Right now,” Watters said, “the main cost of any server besides licenses is CPU. Actually, getting AMD in will be cheaper because AMD chip sets are [less expensive] than Intel [chip sets].”
In addition to the 64-bit functionality, Yukon testers this week can begin to try out several other enhancements in SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 designed to bolster productivity, security and business intelligence. Among those new features is SQL Server Management Studio, previously called SQL Server Workbench, which combines Enterprise Manager, Query Analyzer and Analysis Manager into one integrated tool.
Yukon Beta 2 will offer users the first widespread glimpse of the databases new encryption features, as well as tighter integration with Visual Studio 2005 and enhancements to Business Intelligence Development Studio for quicker deployment and debugging of business intelligence applications, said Rizzo.
However, DTS (Data Transformation Services) and data management tool functions, including ETL (Extraction Transformation and Loading), in SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 will not support AMD64 or Extended Systems. That capability will exist in future versions of the database, said Rizzo.