Integrations Pros and Cons

Opinion: What are the results of Microsoft's tight integration of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005?

Microsoft has gotten a lot of mileage from its "embrace and extend" software strategy over the years. Equally as vital is the companys relentless drive toward tighter integration among its products. Tighter not in the sense of squeezing one more person in the back seat but in making many products work together virtually as one. That has gotten Microsoft in trouble in the past, but that hasnt stopped efforts to bring together Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005, formerly known under the code names Whidbey and Yukon, respectively.

When eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft broke the story of the new, tighter integration between the tools and database applications back in April, eWEEKs cover depicted the two products literally bolted together. Now that the products have shipped, eWEEK Labs takes a look this week at the results of that integration—which is much more than bolted together—and whats in store for enterprise users.

Integration is a double-edged sword. The two products work together seamlessly, writes Technology Editor Peter Coffee and Technical Analyst Mike Caton, due to SQL Servers assimilation of the CLR (Common Language Runtime) environment. But, with that convenience, users are ultimately faced with doing things The Microsoft Way. While users can expect productivity and performance improvements, they can also expect to be, for lack of a better phrase, "locked in." Thats the choice IT managers will have to make. Still, it is fair to say that the two products—together—can take on Oracle and IBM DB2 in the back office like never before.

Take BlackBerrys away from more than 4 million users, and what do you get? Not just communication breakdowns but nervous breakdowns as well for those who depend on the handheld wireless devices. Thats what could happen as a result of a court ruling last week that forces Research In Motion to settle its patent suit with NTP or find a way to deliver wireless services without infringing on the patents. RIM CEO Jim Balsillie tells eWEEK Senior Editor Carmen Nobel that he is confident BlackBerrys will continue to be a going concern.

The event that many technology vendors look forward to every year is here: The Sixth Annual eWEEK Excellence Awards nominations are open. Technology companies may enter new or updated products or services at until Jan. 30, 2006. The entries will be judged by a team of eWEEK Labs analysts and eWEEK Corporate Partners. Proceeds from the awards will be donated to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

eWEEK magazine editor Scot Petersen can be reached at


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Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...