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Second SQL Server 2008 CTP Coming Soon

Look for improvements in the way policies are set up in SQL Server 2008 when Microsoft releases the next community test preview (CTP) of the database server by month's end.

Look for improvements in the way policies are set up in SQL Server 2008 when Microsoft releases the next community test preview (CTP) of the database server by month's end.

Those participating in the CTP program of Microsoft's next-generation database server will notice some significant improvements, according to Francois Ajenstat, director of product management for Microsoft's SQL Server,

Perhaps the most noteworthy improvement is the declarative management framework (DMF), a policy-based system for managing one or more instances of the new database, Ajenstat said in an interview.

Microsoft released the first SQL Server 2008 CTP during its TechEd conference in early June. The company last week said SQL Server 2008 will be part of its Global Launch Wave event on Feb. 27, 2008, though Ajenstat acknowledged reports that the database will not be released to manufacturing until the second quarter.

Ajenstat confirmed Microsoft's goal of routinely releasing new CTPs. "We are targeting every 60 days to have a CTP," he said. "The next one should be before the end of the month." Based on feedback of the first CTP, Ajenstat said the DMF feature appeared to require the most attention.

"Thus far, the DMF is probably the most visible one that's getting some attention," he said. "There's definitely going to be some fixes in this next CTP, based on the feedback that we got through the community."

The key DMF improvements center around the user interface. Ajenstat said testers have found that setting up policies requires too much navigation, a criticism he agrees with. "Having used it myself, it did require quite a few clicks to put a policy in place," he said. Based on early customer studies, the intent is to minimize the number of clicks required to set up a policy.

Among other features in SQL Server 2008 in which testers should see improvements in the forthcoming CTP is data mirroring, which provides server replication for disaster recovery; improvements to Transact-SQL (T-SQL), the proprietary extensions to the SQL offered in databases from Microsoft and Sybase; and extended XML support.

Ajenstat also pointed to Microsoft's release of an update to the Astoria CTP last week, which enhances Astoria's compatibility with Silverlight, Microsoft's rich Internet application tool. Astoria is the codename for Microsoft's new technology to extend .NET services, allowing developers to expose applications as a Web-based data service.

"If you are building a Silverlight application that needs to pull data from a database, with the Astoria code you can actually use that and now add data as part of Silverlight," Ajenstat said.

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.

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