Microsoft will release SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, the next versions of its enterprise database and application development environment, in early November.
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The company will also launch the Biztalk Server 2006, its business-process management server, in the same week.
Speaking at the TechEd developers conference last week, Paul Flessner, Microsoft senior vice-president of server applications, announced the first TPC-C benchmark for Windows Server in excess of one million transactions per minute (tpmC) using an early build of SQL Server 2005 running on an HP Superdome.
This breakthrough result of 1,082,203 tpmC is 38% higher than SQL Server 2000, with more than 7% higher performance and 35% less cost per transaction than Oracle 10g on an HP Integrity Superdome, he said.
David Mitchell, an analyst at Ovum, said the launch of SQL 2005 could start a price war. "We are going to see serious price competition for database software, especially for mid-market users. All the ingredients of a price war are in place," he said.
SQL Server 2005 should address perceived weaknesses around scaleability and reliability in earlier releases, Mitchell said. But he added that Microsoft would still have to spend a significant amount on marketing to convince users that the product has the features they need.