Microsoft delivers first test build of next-generation SQL Server 'Denali'

Microsoft is making available for download by MSDN and TechNet subscribers on November 9 the first test version of its next-generation SQL Server release, code-named "Denali."
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is making available for download on November 9 the first test version of its next-generation SQL Server release, code-named "Denali."

The company announced the availability of the Community Technology Preview (CTP) build -- available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers today -- at the PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) Summit in Seattle. The first Denali CTP is slated to be available at 11:45 a.m. ET on November 9, Microsoft officials said.

Microsoft said in February that its next release of SQL Server would be codenamed Denali, but declined to say anything more about the release at that time. Now the Softies are sharing more. Here's a list of some of what is on tap to be included in Denali:

  • SQL Server AlwaysOn, a new high-availability "solution that will deliver "increased application availability, lower TCO (total cost of ownership)  and ease of use, according to the Softies
  • Project codename “Apollo”, new column-store database technology aiming to provide greater query performance
  • Project codename “Juneau”, a single development environment for developing database, business intelligence (BI) and web solutions
  • Project codename “Crescent”, a web-based, data visualization and presentation solution, and follow-on to the PowerPivot technology that is part of SQL Server 2008 R2
  • SQL Server Data Quality Services (based on technology from Microsoft's 2008 Zoomix acquisition)
  • Other data integration and management tools

Like the SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 releases, Denali will be focused on providing users with more high-availability, self-service and BI functionality, officials said.

SQL Server isn't just a database, but an entire "information platform," said Ted Kummert, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Business Platforms Division. Information platform implies the ability to handle structured data, unstructured data, XML and more, as well as offering customers tools and services like analytics and reporting to interpret this data.

Going forward, the SQL Server team will be focusing on three things, Kummert said: Incorporating more mission-critical features into the platform (on the data warehousing side and beyond); making BI available for every end user; and insuring that the platform continues to evolve as a cloud service.

In addition to making the first Denali CTP available, Microsoft also is making available today a first CTP of the SQL Azure Reporting Services and the SQL Azure Dat Sync Service (based on Sync Framework), plans for which were announced a couple of weeks ago at the Professional Developers Conference. (The Data Sync Service is meant to allow developers to build apps with geo-replicated SQL Azure data and synchronize on-premises with cloud and mobile applications.) The company also announced immediate general availability of SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse, an appliance for customers with data warehouses of hundreds of terabyes of data.

Microsoft also launched a first beta today of a new service, codenamed "Atlanta." Atlanta is a configuration monitoring cloud service that aims to help customers to reduce downtime and improve the performance of Microsoft SQL server deployments. The service monitors the configuration of SQL deployments to help database administrators proactively avoid configuration problems and to resolve identified issues.The target ship date for Atlanta is first half of calendar 2011.

Microsoft is not providing a ship-date target for the final version of Denali. Given SQL Server 2008 R2 was released to manufacturing this past spring, I was thinking it would be a 2012 deliverable. But it seems, there's talk of Q3 2011 as a possibility.

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