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Microsoft Finishes SQL Server 2005 Beta 2

Microsoft this week released its long-awaited Beta 2 for SQL Server 2005, the next major release of Microsoft's flagship database that was formerly code-named "Yukon."

While the beta includes improvements across many of the database's technologies, Microsoft unveiled a major new feature in Beta 2 with the introduction of support for 64-bit AMD Opteron processors. The announcement of AMD Opteron support in Beta 2 is Microsoft's first official disclosure that SQL Server 2005 would include Opteron support.

SQL Server has supported 64-bit computing previously with support for Intel Itanium processors since SQL Server 2000. Unlike the Itanium, the AMD Opteron uses the same instruction set as Intel's 32-bit processors. The improved memory support allowed by the AMD Opteron processors should be helpful for many database tasks, especially OLAP and data mining, without requiring recoding of those business intelligence applications.

The delivery of SQL Server Beta 2 is about two years late. At one time, Microsoft had planned to get a widespread beta of SQL Server "Yukon" to customers in the second half of 2002. As the project timetable has stretched out, Microsoft has delivered major interim functionality including Reporting Services and Notification Services as free add-ons for SQL Server 2000 customers. The final release of SQL Server 2005 is currently planned for sometime next year.

Other improvements in Beta 2 include the SQL Server Management Studio, scalability and availability enhancements, database encryption, a Business Intelligence Development Studio and new data mining algorithms.

SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 is available to MSDN subscribers.

About the Author

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

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