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SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 Gets Close

SAN DIEGO -- Microsoft began taking sign ups for participation in the SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 program this week at its Microsoft TechEd show here as the long-awaited test version of the product gets close to availability.

"Beta 2 is coming in a couple of weeks," said Kirsten Hart Ward, senior product manager for Microsoft SQL Server product marketing. "This is the first time we've allowed people to sign up for it."

Attendees at the TechEd show received cards in their Microsoft bags with information on how to sign up for the SQL Server 2005 beta. While the 11,000 TechEd attendees are encouraged to apply, Beta 2 is not the broad public beta it had originally been expected to be. Instead a Beta 3 will represent the large public beta that will be available for general download from the Web, Ward said.

By almost any other software company's standards, however, Beta 2 will be huge. While the Beta 1 went to about 10,000 customers, Microsoft expects about 100,000 customers and partners to participate in Beta 2. It will be available to MSDN Universal and Enterprise level subscribers.

SQL Server 2005, formerly known by the code-name "Yukon," will be the first new release of the database in four-and-a-half years and represents a major overhaul of the technology at all levels. The update to the database has been delayed several times over the last few years.

Native Encryption Added

One major new feature added between the Beta 1 and Beta 2 releases is SQL Server 2005 Data Encryption, Microsoft said this week. "We have previously offered encryption of data over the wire, but we have not offered it natively," Ward said. "We've left it to third parties."

In a keynote demo this week, Microsoft officials showed how encryption can be integrated with user rights to shield certain information. In the demonstration, a power user looking at customer records could see the customers' credit card numbers. A regular user could see the customers' names and other information, but the credit card number field was garbled.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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