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No price hike for SQL Server 2008, Microsoft says

By , Network World
September 20, 2007 10:23 AM ET

Network World - DENVER – On top of new features in the next version of SQL Server 2008 the most alluring attribute should be that the database’s price will not change, according to Microsoft.

The latter news came from Ted Kummert, corporate vice president for the data and storage platform at Microsoft, and drew rousing applause from the about 2,000 SQL Server users gathered at their annual Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit.

The per-processor retail pricing of SQL Server 2005 is $24,999.

Kummert had little other news to share but used his time to lay out the foundational elements of SQL Server 2008, which is slated to ship between April and June 30, 2008.

It was Kummert’s first chance to talk to the PASS customer base since coming over to Microsoft’s database business unit in January.

He used a series of demos to whip up excitement around SQL Server 2008 even as more than half of the database’s users have yet to migrate to the 2005 version, which Microsoft considers the migration stepping stone to SQL Server 2008.

“I am here to see what [SQL Server] 2008 does and what it means to move the database beyond relational data,” says Johan Bijnens, system engineer for steel-manufacturing giant Arcelor Mittal, which is based in Belgium. Bijenes says his division is nearly 10% into a rollout of SQL Server 2005. “Once we get the first feedback after 2008 ships then we will start a real evaluation,” he says. But the plan is not to skip 2005.

With 2008 in beta, the attendees were at PASS to evaluate and Kummert said he would do that via demos.

“We’re going to spend some time letting the code speak about where we are headed specifically with SQL Server 2008,” Kummert said. “A lot of this stuff you have not seen yet.”

After a brief tour through the history of SQL Server, Kummet said the community technology preview (CTP) program launched with SQL Server 2008 has allowed users to have a huge effect on product development. He said the June CTP would be followed by two more and that the final release of SQL Server 2008 is still on target for the second quarter of 2008 even though it is being featured in a “lauch event” in February with Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008.

Kummert wrapped his messages about positioning SQL Server 2008 around data warehousing and his observation that corporations are experiencing a data explosion driven by new data types including multimedia. That development is forcing the database to push beyond storing just relational data and to develop new management, productivity and developer tools, he said.

“What’s driving this is the evolution of data types,” Kummert said. “It includes images, stills, video, data from sensors such as RFID, the Web and digitization of existing assets. There is a whole new set of data types that you want to use in your business process applications. There is compliance, policies around retention which brings life-cycle management challenges with it.”

With that in mind, he said SQL Server 2008 would stand on four foundational elements: a solid data platform in terms of reliability, scale and security; operational cost reductions through such mechanisms as self-maintaining systems, support for new data types, and universal quick access to data.

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