The next four months are crucial for Microsoft as it puts the finishing touches to the much anticipated update of its SQL Server relational database, due in November.
Microsoft is telling users the five-year wait since SQL Server 2000 began shipping will be worthwhile. And delegates at Tech Ed Europe were told that Microsoft’s strategy for SQL Server 2005 would be to address performance concerns that have limited the use of its predecessor in the datacentre, where Oracle and DB/2 are the preferred choice of databases that power mission-critical business systems.
Mauro Meanti, Microsoft general manager for the EMEA server division at Microsoft said, “We are focusing on the high end with SQL Server to scale to the top 5% of enterprise [users].” Such organisations have traditionally turned to Unix databases in order to meet the demands of running global operations.
Euan Garden, group program manager for SQL Server, said users can expect a boost in performance when multi-core chips like Intel’s 64-bit multi-core Monticeto chip begin shipping. “With Monticeto and x64 chips, what you will get out of two-way and four-way [servers] will be tremendous,” he said.
Garden also discussed some of the SQL Server management improvements Microsoft has made to lower the cost of database administration. These include database mirroring for automatic failover if the database server crashes; a snapshot database restore facility and the ability to install extra memory on a server running SQL Server 2005 on Windows Server 2003 without requiring a reboot.
Security, as in other Microsoft server products, will now be a priority with high-risk database functions switched off by default. Microsoft is also undertaking certification of SQL Server 2005 under the US NSA EAL4+ programme, a high-level of security accreditation required by governments.
Another performance improvement is the ability to write code using Visual Basic and C# within the database in order to perform computationally intensive tasks. Such tasks cannot usually be achieved efficiently using SQL.