Microsoft Unveils Database Products at PASS Conference

At this week's PASS Summit conference, Microsoft has unveiled a CTP for the next version of SQL Server, a new data warehouse appliance and more.

It's been a busy week for Microsoft's SQL Server Team.

Microsoft released the first community technology preview (CTP) for the next-generation version of SQL Server, codenamed Denali, Nov. 9. But that is just one of several announcements to come out of the PASS Summit 2010 conference in Seattle this week. In addition to unveiling Denali, Microsoft also announced the release of SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse and the new Critical Advantage Program, which offers an end-to-end suite of pretested hardware and software configurations, services and support.

"SQL Server code-named Denali will help empower organizations to be more agile in today's competitive market," the SQL Server Team touted on its blog. "Customers will be able to efficiently deliver mission-critical solutions through a highly scalable and available platform. Industry-leading tools will help developers quickly build innovative applications while data integration and management tools help deliver credible data reliably to the right users and new user experiences expand the reach of BI to enable meaningful insights."

Under the hood of Denali, SQL Server users can expect to find a number of new features, including new column-store database technology meant to enhance query performance and a new high-availability feature called SQL Server AlwaysOn, according to Microsoft. Other enhancements include a Web-based, data visualization and presentation tool codenamed Crescent, and a number of enhancements around business intelligence.

As for SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse, the product is pretuned and preconfigured to enable distributed query processing in the name of better performance. Microsoft said it is currently making the appliance offering available to customers with choice in hardware in partnership with Hewlett-Packard, and will make it available through other partnerships in the future.

"Enterprises today are facing challenges of increasing volumes of data from which they need to gain business insight rapidly," said Ted Kummert, senior vice president of Microsoft's Business Platform Division, in a statement. "SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse provides high-scale enterprise capabilities delivered as an appliance with choice and deployment simplicity."

Paul Miller, vice president of Solutions and Strategic Alliances for Enterprise Servers, Storage and Networking at HP, said the HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance is optimized for SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse and improves data access with massive scalability and faster query times.

"Customers need a single view and access point to information across the enterprise without performance impact," Miller said in a statement.

The CTP for Denali can be downloaded here.