Early reports turned out to be true: Microsoft is planning to release the next version of its SQL Server database, which is codenamed "Katmai," in 2008.
Microsoft announced officially its target date on May 9, the opening day of its first Business Intelligence conference in Seattle. More than 2,600 customers and partners are attending the three-day event, according to Microsoft.
Microsoft is expected to begin private testing of Katmai in June.
Microsoft's most recent version of SQL Server was released in 2005. Last year, Microsoft officials said the company wanted to accelerate the pace at which it delivered database releases by releasing fewer (if any) full-fledged beta builds, but stepping up the number and quality of Community Technology Preview (CTP) SQL Server builds. By obtaining tester feedback more regularly and rapidly, Microsoft's SQL team hoped to be able to release a new version of SQL Server every 24 to 36 months, officials said.
Microsoft isn't yet providing a full feature list for Katmai. But the SQL Server team is promising the new release will integrate with Office 2007, SharePoint Server 2007 and PerformancePoint Server 2007, which is Microsoft's business-scorecarding application. The Katmai release will be able to provide "reports of any size or complexity," according to the Softies, and manage "any type of data, including relational data, documents, geographic information and XML."
Katmai isn't the codename for SQL Server only. Microsoft officials also have used "Katmai" to refer to the next version of Microsoft System Center Operations Manager.
In a related move, Microsoft also is announcing on May 9 that it is acquiring OfficeWriter, a company which makes a Java reporting tool that enables people to generate Microsoft Office documents from any data source through a Web browser.