Microsoft last night began the release to manufacturing of SQL Server 2008 R2 which will be available to enterprise customers in early May through the software giant’s ecosystem.
Described by Microsoft as the industry’s most complete information platform for managing, accessing and delivering information, the company in alliance with the Professional Association for SQL Server will host more than 85 launch events worldwide.
More than 2,000 global ISVs have indicated their plans to build solutions based on SQL Server 2008 R2.
The company says customer reception to this release through the technology preview stages has been one of the best in the history of the product, with more than 300,000 downloads of the community technology previews.
Key enhancements in this release include the following:
· Managed self-service business intelligence (BI) for reporting and analysis
· Enterprise-class scalability and greater IT efficiency
· Platform integration spanning the data centre to the cloud
“Customers continue to receive and create increasing amounts of data, as information impacts their business and social lives,” said Ted Kummert, senior vice-president of the Business Platform Division at Microsoft.
“Our goal is to help customers extract value and business insight from that information, whether it is stored locally on their PC, in a data centre or in the cloud.
“Today’s release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is a big step forward in transforming how the IT department, the software developers, and end users interact and gain insight from data.”
With the release of SQL Server 2008 R2, Microsoft is introducing powerful new managed self-service BI capabilities, bridging the gap between IT professionals and end users by leveraging familiar tools such as Microsoft Excel 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
With the new BI technology named PowerPivot, end users can bring data from virtually anywhere and manipulate large data sets with ease while still enabling IT to monitor and manage user-generated BI solutions.
With this release, Microsoft continues to focus on critical data centre needs, enabling businesses to create a highly available infrastructure that is more secure and easier to manage.
Recent benchmarks show that SQL Server 2008 R2 has raised the bar in performance on industry-standard hardware.
With the introduction of SQL Server 2008 R2 data centre edition, in combination with Windows Server 2008 R2, customers can now run databases on systems with up to 256 logical processors, and move to a virtualised data centre with Hyper-V and Live Migration support.
Additional key enhancements include two new components of Microsoft’s information platform: SQL Server 2008 R2 Master Data Services, which helps customers drive better data consistency across heterogeneous systems, and SQL Server 2008 R2 StreamInsight, which supports high-scale complex event-stream processing.
With the upcoming availability of SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse, customers will be able to scale-out their data warehouses from tens to hundreds of terabytes. SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse will be offered as an appliance in several configurations through select hardware providers.
From the data centre to the cloud
SQL Server 2008 R2 also represents a further commitment from Microsoft to the cloud through Microsoft SQL Azure, which provides a consistent programming model, common capabilities and tools while offering new business opportunities, high availability, self-management and massive scale through distributed cloud data services.
Microsoft’s recent preview release of the service code-named “Dallas” enables customers to have access to rich new data sets from companies such as Pitney Bowes Inc., NASA and the Associated Press Online.
With the capabilities in PowerPivot for Excel, combining private and public data sets for deeper analysis and business insight is much easier. SQL Server 2008 R2 delivers a complete approach to managing, accessing and delivering information across the organisation.
By John Kennedy