Microsoft unveils SQL Server 2005 offerings

Microsoft unveils SQL Server 2005 offerings

Microsoft Corp. this week took the wraps off its next-generation SQL Server 2005 database lineup.

The SQL Server 2005 family, code-named Yukon, includes four editions -- Enterprise, Standard, Workgroup and Express -- priced at up to 25 percent more than comparable offerings in the SQL Server 2000 line. The new systems will ship this summer.

A Microsoft spokeswoman said the price increases can be traced to new features in the offerings and contended that the products carry lower price tags than similar ones from rivals IBM Corp. and Oracle Corp.

Moreover, Microsoft pointed out that it offers multicore processing licenses, or per-processor charges, that cut price/performance costs.

In addition, SQL Server 2005 will allow users to exploit passive fail-over capability at no extra charge, the company said.

At the high end of the new lineup, the SQL Server Enterprise product includes business intelligence, data mirroring and other advanced capabilities, the company said. These features will let users buy for one price -- US$24,999 -- a full-featured database without having to purchase multiple add-on products, said Tom Rizzo, director of product management for SQL Server.

In addition to the advanced data-mirroring capabilities, a snapshot feature lets the database constantly create snapshots of its configuration and thus report any changes to its backup system, Rizzo said. Managers can also create virtual partitions within the application.

The reporting capabilities in the Enterprise edition have already allowed users at beta-tester Summit Partners to retire older analytical tools, said Damien Georges, manager of database applications at the Boston-based private equity firm. The new SQL Server replaced a mixed system built around Microsoft Access and software from Actuate Corp. and Crystal Decisions Inc., he said.

The package boosted performance times while cutting software costs by more than $100,000 because SQL reporting costs are already bundled into the existing license, Georges said.

In March, Summit plans to upgrade a SQL Server 2000 system that powers its Siebel Systems Inc. CRM application to SQL Server 2005. The company wants to change to the Enterprise or Standard edition to enable it to implement a disaster recovery plan that includes database mirroring to a redundant server.

In addition to SQL Server 2005 offerings, Microsoft also released a new SQL Server 2000 Workgroup Edition with the same capabilities as its SQL Server 2005 counterpart but based on the older system's functionality. That version will ship by midyear.

Mainstream support for SQL Server 2000-based offerings will end two years after SQL Server 2005 ships. Extended support will end five years thereafter, Microsoft said.

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