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Next Version of SQL Server Slated for 2008

Microsoft kicked off its first-ever Business Intelligence (BI) Conference in Seattle with a keynote speech by Business Division President Jeff Raikes, who spoke in general terms about Microsoft’s efforts to integrate existing products into businesses processes, without offering much in the way of specifics. He also announced the upcoming availability of PerformancePoint Server 2007 and the acquisition of SoftArtisans.

Pointing out that businesses in the U.S. spent $23 billion on BI last year, Raikes lamented what he saw as a low rate of return. "People are paying far too much for business intelligence, and getting far too little. We at Microsoft are very dedicated to changing that." He also claimed that the promise of BI is "unfulfilled."

So much data is being created now, Raikes said, and the challenge is to channel that data "to deliver better business insight and decision-making -- and move the business forward."

A key part of that is Microsoft’s SQL Server database. Microsoft’s next-generation database, code-named Katmai, will be available in 2008, Microsoft stated in a press release. No more specific timeframe was given.

When Katmai ships, it will be tightly integrated with other Microsoft business tools, like Office, SharePoint Server and Excel. On the developer side, it will offer an integrated development environment with the .NET Framework and Visual Studio.

Raikes said that coming sooner is PerformancePoint Server 2007, which will provides many of the tools for which Katmai will serve as a BI platform. Alex Payne, Microsoft Office Business Applications group product manager, explained in a phone interview that monitoring and analysis will come in the form of Microsoft's Business Scorecard manager and Microsoft's acquisition of ProClarity last summer, respectively. Another BI tool for planning is being fulfilled with Microsoft-built technology that's already getting tested inside the company's financial group, said Payne.

Raikes also made note of one big acquisition during his keynote: SoftArtisans, makers of Web-based reporting tool OfficeWriter. How OfficeWriter will percolate up into Katmai -- whether it'll be an integration or a separate product -- is unknown.

More information on the next version of SQL Server will be forthcoming over the next few days of the conference.

Microsoft said that the conference sold out, with more than 2,600 attendees. -Exec. Editor Michael Domingo contributed to this report.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review.

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