Microsoft to Roll Out 64-Bit SQL Server Early

The 64-bit version of SQL Server promises to up the ante in its ability to scale for larger enterprises.

REDMOND,WASH.—Microsoft Corp. is planning a series of new releases for its SQL Server 2000 data management system this year ahead of its next major upgrade due in 2003.

These include an accelerated release of the 64-bit version of the SQL Server 2000 database, the general availability of the next release of SQL Servers mobile database and a third service pack to address such areas as security.

The Redmond, Wash., software maker has pushed up its planned release of a 64-bit version of its SQL Server database to coincide with the release of the Windows .Net Server, Gordon Mangione, vice president of Microsofts SQL Server Team told eWEEK during briefings here this week. The 64-bit version of SQL Server promises to up the ante in its ability to scale for larger enterprises.

Microsoft officials previously had said the 64-bit version would follow by about 30-45 days the much-delayed Windows .Net Server, which is due in the second half of this year.

And in September Microsoft will put out a second beta of the 64-bit version that, among other things, will be optimized to work with Intel Corp.s 1GHz Itanium 2 chip, code-named McKinley, officials said.

"The 64-bit will be the area where youll see phenomenal performance gains," Mangione said. "The big win is the amount of memory were going to have access to."

Also in September, Microsoft is planning to release version 2.0 of its mobile database, SQL Server Windows CE Edition, which hit beta in April. The next CE version includes support for more CE devices, such as Pocket PC Phone Edition and Pocket PC 2000, and provides new features to allow more index pulls from SQL Server and to provide 249, rather than 32, indexes per table, said Product Manager Mitch Gatchalian. Both will allow faster and more robust lookups in the mobile database.

SQL Server Windows CE Edition 2.0 also will tie more closely into development tools for the .Net development platform with integration into the .Net Compact Framework.

An overall update to SQL Server 2000, Service Pack 3, is due out by the end of the year, officials said. It will, among other things, roll up a series of fixes to security problems that the vendor has focused on during a three-month development hiatus.

Perhaps the 64-bit version, though, will most help users looking to expand SQL Server. Mike Reagin, director of research and development at Providence Health Systems, in Portland, Ore., said he is eager for the 64-bit database version because it will be useful for scaling to larger systems for high-transaction applications as the health-care network expands its use of SQL Server. Microsoft also has promised to include a 64-bit version in its next major SQL Server release, Yukon, due out in 2003.

"From what Ive seen, the 64-bit version of SQL Server is a big plus," Reagin said. "It improves scalability and use on higher-end servers (with) more processors. We want to take advantage of that."

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