Kilimanjaro or Krakatoa East of Java?

I was asked by a colleague recently about the next SQL Release being called Krakatoa. Well, I have heard about Kilimanjaro, Madison and Gemini but not Krakatoa. I remember an immense movie called “Krakatoa East of Java” (1969) directed by Bernard Kowalski. It was marketed as “The Incredible Day That Shook the Earth to Its Core!” Maybe Microsoft thought that was a little too dramatic for a database release (sounds too much like a sequel to “The SQL Slammer” (2003) directed by Mr Hacker) and therefore reverted to Kilimanjaro.  At the SQL PASS Summit in Seattle we were treated to the news of the projects underway that are expected to be delivered around the 2010 timeframe. Let’s take a look…

Project Kilimanjaro: This project was described as containing Multi-Server control functionality and real-time monitoring enhancements for centralized management of huge numbers of servers. We were told by Dan Jones (Principal Group Manager at Microsoft) to think of Policy Management and Data Collection, new features in SQL Server 2008 as a down-payment for this future technology. Think of large numbers of servers as a technology “fabric” with Kilimanjaro delivering “Fabric Control”. Also, one stop deployment of applications and databases using “DAC” (Data-tier Application Component) packs.

Project Madison: Inclusion of the recently acquired DATAllegro technology for supporting large databases in excess of 100TB in a MPP (Massively Parallel Processing) architecture. The demo given by Jesse Fountain (Principal Group Manager Data Storage) showed us a 150TB database with 1 Trillion rows of data run across 24 servers with a total of 192 core processors producing an aggregated report in 15 seconds. (Spontaneous applause).

Project Gemini: This was described as Self-Service Business Intelligence using Microsoft Excel “slicers” which effectively are visual filters. We were given a demo by the “flying angel” Donald Farmer (complete with wings) with 10 millions rows being sorted and filtered instantly in a spreadsheet from a cube data source.  (More spontaneous applause).

I have noticed a certain amount of confusion based on the release dates of these projects. I distinctly remember being told in the Key Note speeches that all the projects would be built on SQL Server 2008 with an eye on a 2010 release. I assumed this would be an interim functional release a la Windows 2003 Server “R2”. Not a Service Pack but a functional release. Reading other blogs, it appears that many people came away thinking that meant a new release called SQL Server 2010. That has kicked off a wave of apprehension among DBAs who are struggling at the moment with upgrading numerous servers from SQL 2000 to 2005. Many are looking at SQL Server 2008 with testing cycles but if the SQL PASS audience is anything to go by, those in production are few and far between. So to think there will be a SQL Server 2010 release of the database engine evokes thoughts of a rapidly rising tide engulfing their already busy upgrade project workload. Of course, it would mean that SQL Server 2000 would no longer be supported beyond 2010 and would give a proverbial “kick up the rear” to the customer base to upgrade to the recent releases.

My own sense is that an interim functional release will be available in early 2010 followed by an official SQL Server 2011 release at the end of the following year. But of course, things can change. I remember looking forward to SQL Server 2003 which showed up in late 2005. You get the picture.

Maybe we won’t be quite “shaken to the core”, but there is certainly some exciting functionality coming down the SQL pike.



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