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At TechEd: SQL Server to gain encryption, XQuery support

At Microsoft TechEd 2004 in San Diego, Microsoft provided further details on its upcoming database release now known as SQL Server 2005 (formerly code-named “Yukon”). The software will natively support Web services, XML and encryption.

“The data encryption capability helps you to meet the needs of data privacy and security,” said Microsoft’s Tom Rizzo, director, SQL Server product management. It helps protect social security numbers, credit card numbers and the like. Interest in this could soon be driven further by legislation as states and the federal government pass acts to protect personal financial data. California, for example, recently enacted such a bill that has far-reaching effects for corporations.

Also discussed at TechEd was the Best Practices Analyzer Tool for Microsoft SQL Server 2000. The product formalizes and implements best practices for SQL Server development teams’ installations. This should ease the data management work of both developers and DBAs. Notably, the analyzer can also scan existing DBs for SQL Server 2005 readiness. This is good because improvements to the upcoming DB will require enhancements to existing DB designs.

Best practices and roadmaps do not always garner much attention during the daily grind of development, but Microsoft is pushing such road maps, as well as design patterns, as it responds to a long series of hack attacks and seeks to tout an ease-of-development and deployment edge, especially as Linux looms ever larger in enterprises.

Where do these practices and analyzer rules come from? “We worked with the SQL Server development team, the Microsoft architectural guidance group and third parties to implement rules automatically in the analyzer,” said Rizzo.

Rizzo said that native Web services support for SQL Server means that developers can publish-out stored procedures and functions as Web services “This allows you to interoperate not just across platforms, but across companies,” he said. With the next combination of SQL Server and Visual Studio, developers will be able to use the same programming model throughout the tiers of their systems. That means a developer can work in C# rather than in, say, a combination of SQL and C#.

XQuery support has been, in some quarters at least, one of the anticipated features of the new release. But XQuery has moved somewhat slowly toward becoming a standard. Standard XQuery support in SQL Server 2005 will be limited to read-only types, said Rizzo, who does not anticipate XQuery “write” standards to be fully defined in the next version of XQuery.

Rizzo said Microsoft is offering proprietary XQuery write capabilities in the upcoming server for shops that want to move ahead with this form of XML development. He said Microsoft is, in turn, prepared to guarantee that it will support the “write” standard when it is published.

Microsoft’s announcements came against the backdrop of DB market estimates from Gartner that show a rebound in 2003. Worldwide relational database management system (RDBMS) license revenue in 2003 totaled $7.1 billion, a 5.1% increase from 2002, according to Gartner. In 2002, according to the research firm, the RDBMS market declined nearly 6%.

In 2003 Microsoft, which holds 18.7% of the overall market, grew its share of the RDBMS pie by about 11%. The segment that suffered a decline in new license revenue in 2003 was RDBMS on Unix (not including Linux). New license revenue in this market decreased 5.9% in 2003, with Oracle accounting for 57.4% of new license revenue, according to Gartner.

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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