Next Version of SQL Server Slated for 2008
Microsoft kicked off its first-ever Business Intelligence (BI) Conference in Seattle with a keynote speech by Business Division President Jeff Raikes, who spoke in general terms about Microsoft's efforts to integrate existing products into businesses processes. He also announced the upcoming availability of PerformancePoint Server 2007 and the acquisition of SoftArtisans.
Raikes pointed out that businesses in the U.S. spent $23 billion on BI last year, lamenting what he saw as a low rate of return.
"People are paying far too much for business intelligence, and getting far too little. We at Microsoft are very dedicated to changing that," Raikes said. He also claimed that the promise of BI is "unfulfilled."
So much data is being created now, and the challenge is to channel that data "to deliver better business insight and decision-making -- and move the business forward," Raikes said.
A key part of that is Microsoft's SQL Server database. Microsoft's next-generation database, code-named "Katmai," will be available in 2008, Microsoft stated in a press release. No specific timeframe was given.
When Katmai ships, it will be tightly integrated with other Microsoft business tools, such as Office, SharePoint Server and Excel. On the developer side, it will offer an integrated development environment with the .NET Framework and Visual Studio.
PerformancePoint Server 2007 will provide many of the tools for the Katmai BI platform, Raikes said.
Monitoring and analysis will be performed, respectively, via Microsoft's Business Scorecard manager and ProClarity (which Microsoft's acquired last summer), according to Alex Payne, Microsoft Office Business Applications group product manager. Another BI tool for planning, using Microsoft-built technology, is already getting tested inside the company's financial group, Payne said.
Raikes also made note of one big acquisition during his keynote: SoftArtisans, makers of Web-based reporting tool OfficeWriter. How OfficeWriter will percolate up into Katmai -- whether it'll be an integration or a separate product -- is unknown.
More information on the next version of SQL Server will be forthcoming over the next few days of the conference.
Microsoft said that the conference sold out, with more than 2,600 attendees.
Redmond Media Group Executive Editor Michael Domingo contributed to this report.