Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

Summary: Microsoft has relied on the "better together" concept to sell Windows client and Windows Server as a package. It also has done the same with previous versions of Office and Windows. But on May 12 -- the day Microsoft is launching Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 in New York -- Microsoft will be playing up how Office, SharePoint and SQL Server work better together.

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Microsoft has relied on the "better together" concept to sell Windows client and Windows Server as a package. It also has done the same with previous versions of Office and Windows. But on May 12 -- the day Microsoft is launching Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 in New York -- Microsoft will be playing up how Office, SharePoint and SQL Server work better together.

In addition to being the day businesses can get their hands on Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010, today also is the day that volume licensees can get the latest version of Microsoft's database, SQL Server 2008 R2.

"Better together," in Microsoft parlance, means certain features "light up" when two (or more) products are used together. (It also means, in some cases, that certain features won't work unless the "better together" complements are all part of the customer equation.)

SQL Server 2008 R2, Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 are tied even more tightly than other "better together" products around PowerPivot. PowerPivot is a new business-intelligence feature that is built on top of all of these products.

Donald Farmer, Principal Program Manager, SQL Server Business Intelligence, was a key lead in developing and delivering PowerPivot. Farmer, with whom I spoke last week, has spent the last two and a half years working on PowerPivot.

In an unusual move, Microsoft execs agreed to an "exchange program" between the Excel and SharePoint teams, Farmer said. This resulted in about 10 members of the analytics team being "embedded" in the Excel team, he said.

"We actually moved the team into the Excel team. They even moved offices, into their building," Farmer said, and stayed there for the entire product cycle.

At the same time, a number of former Excel team members were recruited into the SQL Server team, Farmer said.

What's the thinking? By making Excel 2010 the front end to PowerPivot, Microsoft is hoping to get users who know Excel but don't consider themselves to be business intelligence experts to use more of SQL Server's business intelligence functionality.

"We have lots of Excel users who felt they really didn't know BI. But essentially, that's what they are doing with Excel" -- slicing and dicing data in new ways, Farmer said. "That's why we said we should use that functionality as much as possible."

Back to the topic of SQL Server 2008 R2, the analysts at Directions on Microsoft said business users should expect to pay more for the R2 release than the SQL Server 2008 version, but noted that they will get a number of new features as part of the update. Volume licensees should expect to see these changes in pricing (before any negotiated discounts):

SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition: Per-processor license goes up 25% SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition: Per-processor license goes up 15% SQL Server 2008 R2 server and CAL (client access license): Prices remain the same (remember, customers can choose per-processor or server-CAL licensing models for SQL Server)

Directions also did a similar analysis for Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 enterprise pricing.

Update (May 13): A couple of related points

* You don't need the latest version of SQL Server to use PowerPivot for Excel. You can use SQL Server 2008 or an Oracle database as the back end, Microsoft officials said during the Office 2010 launch on May 12. You also don't really need SharePoint -- unless you want to take the views you create with PowerPivot and want to publish/share them in a richer and controlled way, company execs acknowledged.

* For more on using Excel as a BI tool, check out Microsoft Regional Director Andrew Brust's recent blog post on that topic, entitled "Responsible BI for Excel, Even for Older Versions."

Topics: Data Management, CXO, Collaboration, Data Centers, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software, IT Employment

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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7 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

    MS Office 2010 is nothing but a reiteration of 2007 with heavy makeup. The Beta sucked at everything and I had to reinstall everything from scratch. Stay away from it to preserve your sanity...
    Wally-M@...
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

      @Wally-M@...

      That is completely contrary to my experience. Then again, I actually used Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 for more than a week.

      The functionality is fantastic, the social network integration fantastic. I consider this a "must buy"
      Steven@...
    • That has not been my experience either

      @Wally-M@...

      2010 has been a great ride so far. The inclusion of the Ribbon UI in all of the products, especially OneNote, might be the justification I have been looking for in upgrading from 2007. We will see...
      The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

      @Wally-M@... Office 2010 beta is EXCELLENT:

      1. "Clean up" conversation in Outlook 2010 took a 20-email thread and boiled it down to the "most important" two (the ones with all content). Not reading the 18 other emails? Priceless.

      2. PPTFLEX plug in to Power Point....not only does 2010 let me do video editing within Power Point, the pptflex plug in http://www.officelabs.com/projects/pptPlex/Pages/default.aspx
      lets me "wander" through the presentations much like you would in a normal conversation (vice slide by slide). Powerful.

      3. Coolest part: docs.com and my Live account allow my local Office files to be synched with the "cloud" version of Office and share with my social networking world (e.g. Facebook to docs. com mash up). I can't get Google Apps to work locally and in the cloud, so my Google App use has decreased since I loaded the 2010 beta.
      garciare
  • RE: Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

    Also sending data from Master Data Services to a SharePoint workflow is another better together example.
    xp-client
  • This spells Sharepoint - Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2

    Office 2010 capabilities with SQL Server 2008? <br>Add a web browser, and you can say 'Sharepoint 2010'. <br><br>I think Sharepoint's going to be the kingpin that pulls more to SQL 2008 R2 and maximize Office 2010 to group collaboration. <br><br>Also, add in Active Directory for a proper implementation, and Microsoft gets income from at least 4 products.
    rwparks.it
  • RE: Microsoft: Office 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 go better together

    All I want from MS Office is for them to take away the crappy icon-based interface they introduced in Office 2003, and give me back my text-based menu bar. Did they do that?
    shagbark