Another piece of Microsoft's Oslo modeling puzzle disappears

Microsoft is dropping Quadrant, a tool originally slated to be part its data-modeling platform, which was originally codenamed Oslo, and is revising its plans for its M data-modeling language.

Microsoft is dropping Quadrant, a tool originally slated to be part its data-modeling platform, which was originally codenamed Oslo, and is revising its plans for its M data-modeling language.

It's been a while since Microsoft talked about Oslo or its successor, a k a the SQL Server Modeling platform. Here's a quick refresher.

In 2007, Microsoft first discussed publicly its plans for “Oslo” — an amorphous multi-product effort that encompased future releases of .Net, Visual Studio, BizTalk and SQL Server. By the fall of 2008, Microsoft had decoupled .Net, VIsual Studio, BizTalk and SQL Server from Oslo. When officials said Oslo, they meant Microsoft’s evolving modeling strategy and technologies, specifically the M language, the Quadrant tool and the associated metadata repository.

In the summer of 2009, as part of one of Microsoft’s countless reorgs, the Oslo team was combined with Microsoft’s Data Programability team (which manages Astoria, Entity Data Model (EDM), Entity Framework (EF), XML, ADO.Net and tools/designers). Microsoft officials said the new Oslo plan was to combine the remaining elements with some future version of SQL Server.

Quadrant was a graphical tool for viewing and editing large datasets stored in SQL Server databases. The idea behind Quadrant was to allow developers to create a database from scratch using Microsoft's new "M" language, that was going to help developers define schemas, queries, functions and domain specific-languages.

Multiple contacts of mine are telling me that Microsoft has decided to shelve Quadrant and "refocus" M. (I'm not sure what form this "refocusing" will take, but it's all I can get for now.)

I asked Microsoft for confirmation of Quadrant's demise and M's hazy future and got back the following non-committal response from a corporate spokesperson: "We are always evaluating how to get this technology into the hands of customers, but we have no updates at this time."

Even though Quadrant and the M language are two of the three legs of the SQL Server Modeling stool, Microsoft is claiming that SQL Server Modeling isn't dead. From the aforementioned spokesperson:

"We are still working on SQL Server Modeling and it remains an important part of our Data Platform strategy. Our current plans are to ship our modeling platform in a future release of SQL Server/Azure. Customers can download the latest CTP which we have updated to use the VS 2010 and .NET 4 to give us feedback."

Microsoft released a third Community Technology Preview (CTP) of SQL Server Modeling in November 2009, and a refresh of that CTP in April 2010.

Speaking of SQL and SQL Azure, Microsoft recently made available for download a white paper that offers "best practices" for syncing those two offerings. The document focuses on Microsoft's Sync Framework, which can synchronize data across multiple data platforms. It also mentions a new Microsoft Sync Framework Power Pack for SQL Azure, which allows SQL Azure customers to make use of the framework.

Back to Oslo... Anyone out there have more information on what Microsoft is planning to do now, in terms of its modeling strategy -- and whether any fruits of those labors may be part of SQL Server 2011/2012 (codenamed "Denali") and/or some future version of SQL Azure?

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