Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 goes worldwide

Microsoft has announced the next version of SQL Server 2008 is now available to volume license customers worldwide, claiming that it represents the firm's continuing commitment to cloud computing.

SQL Server 2008 R2 was released to manufacturing last month, and then became available to download for TechNet and MSDN subscribers from 3 May. Redmond has published an online digital tour to highlight the software's new features.

Over 2,000 companies are planning to build systems based on SQL Server 2008, according to Microsoft, including SAP. Improvements in R2 include better reporting and analysis, enterprise scalability and improved efficiency, and wider platform integration "spanning the datacentre to the cloud".

Microsoft said that the release represents the company's "further commitment " to cloud computing technology.

Principal features of the R2 release include PowerPivot, a piece of business intelligence software that lets users manage information from a range of sources, and SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter edition, which can let companies run databases on systems with "up to 256 logical processors".

"Until now, if business users wanted to take advantage of the large volumes of data their company collected, they had to ask their IT department to generate a report but with the managed self-service BI capabilities in SQL Server 2008 R2, they'll be able to do such analyses themselves," said Donald Farmer, principal program manager for SQL Server.

"That means they'll be able to answer questions more quickly, experiment more, and test 'what if' scenarios. Organisations can become more agile. That's exciting."

Also included are SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services, which improves data consistency, and SQL Server 2008 R2 StreamInsight, which supports high-scale event-stream processing.

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