Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Release 2 CTP Ready to Go Tomorrow

Microsoft is releasing the community technology preview for SQL Server 2008 R2. The latest version of the flagship database comes with enhancements around SQL Server's management and reporting capabilities.

Microsoft is making the first community technology preview of SQL Server 2008 R2 generally available tomorrow.

The new version of the flagship database - which MSDN and TechNet subscribers got their hands on Monday - has been enhanced with features around business intelligence and application and multiserver management.

"This CTP provides the first opportunity to explore some of the features of SQL Server 2008 R2 and see how it all comes together to enhance performance and scalability, enable self-service BI and improve IT and developer efficiency," according to the Data Platform Insider blog. "The CTP process is also a great way for (users) to give us feedback on the new technologies."

The application and multiserver management capabilities help DBAs manage database environments via a centralized dashboard that offers visibility into resource utilization. Using new wizards, database administrators can set up a multi-server management environment in minutes, Microsoft said.

"Dashboard viewpoints provide insights into instance and application utilization based on default Policy-Based Management capacity policies," the blog post continued. "Meanwhile the introduction of a single unit of deployment, a Data-tier Application, packages database objects with deployment requirements to help accelerate upgrades and deployments."

The new release also includes a new edition of Report Builder. In Report Builder 3.0, users will find new support for geospatial visualization (maps), as well as significant performance improvements, including enhanced ability to use Report Builder in server mode, Microsoft said. The download offers a stand-alone installer for Report Builder 3.0.

The SQL Server 2008 R2 CTP is only one of several the company is launching this month. In the coming weeks Microsoft will also release CTPs for the SQL Azure Database, a limited preview of Project "Gemini" Excel and SharePoint add-ins, low latency complex event processing now called StreamInsight and a private technology preview of Project Madison.