SQL Server 2005 here and now, sorta
- By Stephen Swoyer
One thing that was not immediately evident in the noise about the recent launch of Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 was the fact that the next-gen database isn't generally available yet.
Microsoft says SQL Server 2005 will be generally available on December 1. Localized versions of the product will be available in the coming months. An early-December GA is of pivotal importance to Microsoft. “This lets them get [SQL Server] out there while it's still 2005,” says Mike Schiff, a principal with data warehousing and business intelligence consultancy MAS Strategies. “This way, they don't have to rebrand it SQL Server 2006.”
All kidding aside, Schiff says, the early-December GA won't make a whit of difference for most users. SQL Server 2005 migrations won't happen overnight, after all, even for users have already beta-tested the product. At this point, Schiff suggests, the important thing is that the SQL Server code-base has been finalized and is nearly ready to go. “There's so much pent-up demand for [SQL Server 2005], and I think most [users] are just glad it's finally here,” he says.
At the same time, you'd hardly know SQL Server 2000 was running out of gas. For example, while IBM bled database market share in 2004 (dropping 1.4 percent, from 35.5 to 34.1 percent, according to Gartner), Microsoft grew its share by 1.3 percent (from 18.7 percent to 20.0 percent, pace Gartner), which is about as much as Oracle, which had a relatively new 10g database to excite prospects.
With this in mind, SQL Server 2005 should make things more interesting. In addition to its (now robust) BI feature stack, it also has the stamp of a thoroughbred performer for traditional OLTP applications. As Schiff notes, Microsoft showcased several SQL Server 2005 benchmark highlights including a first-place price/performance showing in the Transaction Processing Performance Council's (TPC) TPC-H (decision support) 100-gigabyte category. If that's not enough, Redmond's SQL Server 2005 thoroughbred finished first, second and third in the TPC's 1,000 gigabyte category; notched a first-place price/performance finish in the TPC's TPC-C (OLTP) benchmark; and bested its predecessor by 350 percent in the SAP Sales and Distribution benchmark.
Stephen Swoyer is a contributing editor for Enterprise Systems. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.