Microsoft releases SQL Server 2008

Microsoft has released the finalised version of its data management and business intelligence platform SQL Server 2008, promising a productive and intelligent platform for business-critical applications and enterprise-class data warehousing support.

According to Microsoft's announcement Wednesday, the "release to manufacturing" version of SQL Server includes new capabilities such as support for policy-based management, auditing, large-scale data warehousing, geospatial data, and advanced reporting and analysis services.

"Microsoft developed this release of SQL Server with the customer in mind," Microsoft data and storage platform division vice president Ted Kummert said in a statement. "SQL Server 2008 is the only major database that includes comprehensive, tightly integrated functionality for data management as well as advanced business intelligence out of the box."

With more than 450,000 customer and partner downloads of an SQL Server 2008 previews prior to the new release, more than 75 large-scale applications are already in production.

Windows-based hosting provider DiscountASP.NET launched a free SQL Server 2008 hosting program in June in order to test its service and receive feedback before its official launch.

Several diverse enterprise companies are testing SQL Server 2008, including Clear Channel Communications, Fidelity Investments, Hilton Hotels, Simon & Schuster, Siemens and Xerox.

Well-received in the analyst community, technology consulting firm Forrester Research ( analyst Noel Yuhanna gave SQL Server 2008 high marks in a January 2008 research note.

"Microsoft is (one of) the only vendor(s) with top enterprise search and business intelligence reporting capabilities," Yuhanna stated in the report.

"It offers strong support for aggregation, summarisation, search engine and dashboards. Transactions across distributed data sources and long-running transactions are also strengths for Microsoft."

SQL Server is a key component of the Microsoft Application Platform suite of products and technologies designed to help customers build, run and manage dynamic business applications according to Microsoft.

SQL Server 2008 is available in seven editions, ranging from compact, free versions to comprehensive, enterprise solutions.

Within hours of the new announcement, several hardware companies have already staked claims on the new platform. AMD ( announced its support of SQL Server 2008, stating that SQL Server 2008 running on Quad-Core AMD Opteron processors provides customers a "best-of-breed" platform for data-intensive business applications even during peak workloads.

However, NEC ( countered AMD's claim, boasting the economical, mainframe-class performance of the NEC Express5800/1320Xf running SQL Server 2008, also taking the opportunity to reminding consumers that its Microsoft-certified server is the only one approved by Microsoft for dynamic hardware partitioning on Microsoft Windows Server 2008.

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