Yukon to Add Run-Time, XML Support

Microsoft is bringing its next SQL Server release, code-named Yukon, in line with its .Net and Web services vision, with new data unification and integration technology.

NEW ORLEANS--Microsoft Corp. is bringing its next SQL Server release, code-named Yukon, in line with its .Net and Web services vision, with new data unification and integration technology.

Microsoft plans to embed .Net CLR (Common Language Runtime) in the SQL engine, as well as provide deeper and richer XML support.

With .Net CLR integrated, developers will be able to write stored procedures in 23 languages in addition to Microsofts T-SQL, said Stan Sorensen, director of SQL Server, at the companys TechEd conference here last week.

IT executives said they are more interested, however, in new features that will improve scalability and reliability. While they said the enhancements touted by Microsoft will help in application development for SQL Server, they want to see more improvement in core database areas as well.

"I want to hear about the work theyre doing in the database and not the interface into the database," said Darrell Starnes, deputy CIO at Houston-based Ashford.com, a division of Global Sports Interactive Inc. "By far, our big focus is scalability and reliability. Were worried about more clustering services, disaster recovery and replication."

Yukon is slated for release next year, and a beta version is due by the end of this year, officials said.

"[The CLR support] will give us symmetry between our programming environment in the midtier and the database," said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the .Net enterprise server group. "Now a developer can make a run-time decision about where they want their code to run based on performance or scalability rather than having to make a design-time decision."

Yukon will also provide technology that enables a better way to store and retrieve XML data of all kinds, which has been referred to internally as Storage+. Yukon will provide native XML support inside the SQL Server engine and support XQuery, a proposed standard query language for XML documents.

The Redmond, Wash., company does not plan to incorporate SQL Server directly into its other software products but does plan to incorporate some of the data unification and other technologies planned for Yukon into additional products over time.

"Were not going to take this great asset we have in SQL Server and drop it into a bunch of other products," Sorensen said, adding that the goal is to be able to search and find structured and unstructured data, whether within a relational database or in a file system or e-mail.

Announcements about Yukon so far, however, do not take into account an area where analysts say that SQL Server lags: its lack of functionality for a clustered database environment compared with competitors such as Oracle Corp.

Ashford.coms Starnes said that additional clustering functionality in Yukon would be an incentive for his enterprise to upgrade from SQL Server 7.0.

Lee Margulin, director of database administration at MGM Mirage, of Las Vegas, said SQL Server 2000 vastly improved clustering but he, like Starnes, would like load balancing capabilities built into SQL Server to ease management across multiple servers.

"They improved clustering aspects in SQL Server 2000, which was a big problem in SQL [Server] 7.0," Margulin said. "We do get into situations where it would be nice to put multiple servers on a database and load balance across the servers. Now it takes hoops to get to that point."

Microsofts Sorensen said Yukon will address improved clustering along with other issues such as disaster recovery but said it was too early to provide details.

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