Microsoft has started an expanded test programme for its forthcoming SQL Server 2005 database and provided more details on product features, including support for AMD's Opteron processors.
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Microsoft made SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 available to about 500,000 developers and users through its Microsoft Developer Network website, a company spokeswoman said. The first beta version was released about a year ago and was limited to about 12,000 people.
SQL Server 2005, also known as Yukon, succeeds SQL Server 2000, which was released in late 2000. Enhancements in the new release focus on data management, developer productivity and business intelligence and are intended to help Microsoft compete in the database market against IBM and Oracle.
Starting with the second beta, SQL Server 2005 supports AMD's Opteron chips, which can run 32-bit and 64-bit applications. Microsoft already supports Intel's Itanium 64-bit processors and will also support its forthcoming Xeon processors with 64-bit extensions in future versions of SQL Server 2005, the spokeswoman said.
In addition to the Opteron support, Microsoft said SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 introduces a new management tool called SQL Server Management Studio that combines existing management tools with added support for SQL Server Reporting Services, Notification Services, Extensible Markup Language and SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition.
SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 will also offer testers a chance to try the new database encryption feature as well as offer tight integration with Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 developer tool and software for data mining.
A third beta version of SQL Server 2005 is expected by the end of 2004. Microsoft earlier this year delayed the final versions of the 2005 editions of SQL Server and Visual Studio until the first half of 2005. That is still the schedule, the spokeswoman said.
Joris Evers writes for the IDG News Service