Data Management

Microsoft releases the SQL Server 2008 November CTP

Earlier this month, the SQL Server 2008 Community Technology Preview was released. The November CTP offers many new features, including enhancements to Reporting Services, Integration Services, and Analysis Services. Find out more about the enhancements in the November CTP.

Earlier this month, Microsoft released the third (and what appears to be the final) Community Technology Preview (CTP) version of SQL Server 2008 before it ships to stores. This CTP includes many of the technology improvements that were slated for SQL Server 2008.

In a previous article, I looked at a handful of new features included in SQL Server 2008. Most of the features mentioned in that article were included in the initial CTP for SQL Server 2008.

The November CTP offers many new features, including enhancements to Reporting Services, Integration Services, and Analysis Services. The CTP also includes: Service Broker enhancements; data backup compression; built-in functionality for tracking data changes; resource governor functionality; XQuery improvements; Geospatial support; and the ability to store large BLOBs of data to the NTFS file system. Here are more details about three of these enhancements:

  • Service Broker enhancements One of my favorite features in SQL Server 2005 is Service Broker; it allows you to build loosely coupled database applications that exchange data through messages. This allows you to send a message, and be guaranteed that the message will reach its recipient, or you get the message back. SQL Server 2008 includes the ability to set priority for the processing of these message-based conversations. It also comes with a diagnostic utility to analyze the configurations between Service Broker services to indicate potential problems.
  • Data backup compression The bigger that databases get the more space is required on disk for backups. Restoring a large database file can be time consuming and nerve racking. Third-party applications usually do a good job of compressing these backups; however, with the backup compression included in SQL Server 2008, less disk storage is needed for storing backup files. In addition, backup time is decreased because there is less I/O involved in the backup process.
  • Track data changes The ability to track when data changes is extremely important for many types of applications. This type of data tracking typically involves using DML triggers to write altered data to an auditing table. SQL Server 2008 includes the ability to track these data changes without requiring the developer to design the DML triggers to do so.

For tips on administering and developing SQL Server applications, I highly recommend downloading SQL Server 2008 Books Online Community Technology Preview.

Is it too soon for a new release of SQL Server?

SQL Server 2008 is enticing for database developers because of all of the new features.  However, SQL Server 2005 hasn't been around along enough to be totally adopted by the public.

Microsoft's current plan is to release a new database every three years. My fear is that this release cycle may turn some companies off from the product.

I'd love to hear what you think. Has your organization migrated to SQL Server 2005 yet? Are you even considering moving to SQL Server 2008 right when it comes out? Please post your experiences and thoughts about Microsoft's database release cycle in the article discussion.

Tim Chapman a SQL Server database administrator and consultant who works for a bank in Louisville, KY. Tim has more than eight years of IT experience, and he is a Microsoft certified Database Developer and Administrator. If you would like to contact Tim, please e-mail him at chapman.tim@gmail.com.

About

Tim Chapman is a SQL Server MVP, a database architect, and an administrator who works as an independent consultant in Raleigh, NC, and has more than nine years of IT experience.

10 comments
bigspegie
bigspegie

We have over 1400 databases, so running MSFT???s upgrade advisor is a time-consuming, burdensome and clumsy task. Reading these reports is the same thing day in & day out. I needed to automate the prerequisite checking so I only paid the attention required for databases in need of my help. We???ve been using Data Palette for database automation for about three years now and with their most recent release, their decision automation capabilities make application and database upgrades very easy. After I realized I could chain operations together, I used process automation to add a step to run DBCC CheckDB commands to ensure each database passed a consistency check.

intekhab.alam
intekhab.alam

MS is juts concentrating on marketting but not on technology. we are just thinking to move to SQL 2005 & suddenly SQL 2008 are announced. AS Oracle is realing 11g thats why MS have to show someting & releasing SQL 2008. Rather than new release MS should have released all these feature as Service pack. I am sure people will never adopt SQL 2008. After SQL 2008 release once MS annouce no-support on sql 2000 then people will either move to sql 2005 or SQL 2011 ( so called every three years new release ). Off course MS will loose interest of company if they release RDBMS every 3 years.

kaisch
kaisch

Of course not all companies are software houses. There is no point of moving to a new DBMS version for some of them. As some of you pointed out, the current plan in a number of companies was to wait for a stable 2005 version and then migrate. Some others are happy with their 2000 version, the change will be SS-2008. One of our clients keeps one application in Sybase 12.5 and others in SS-2000. They do not want to migrate to Sybase 15 not to SS-2005, since they see no real advantages for their business. Today they say they will migrate to SS-2008 not 2005. Microsoft looks like they consider IT market a the video games market, maybe for a video game player is nice to have a new version every year but CFOs and CEOs looks for ROI.

alalani
alalani

I agree with the comment that frequent product releases will put off many people from the microsoft product. We are a private company with about 900 employees. We are moving to 2005 in 1st quater of 2008. Only thing that pushed us to do this is that microsoft is ending the support for SQL server 2000. My company is sending me and another DBA for 2005 training classes. Although 2008 has most of the features of 2005 but still its a new product and hence the learning curve. Real world does not move as fast as microsoft.

john.parlberg
john.parlberg

It's nice the the developers were able to add functionality that has been around on the Mainframe and Midrange platforms for years, like message queing, pooling, back up compression and the list will more than likely continue to grow. Smaller IT departments can now take advantage of these features at a realisting price point. Too Soon, you ask? We aggressively adopted SQL 2005 for its Integration Services, but found the development environment (BI Studio) too buggy and still pretty infantile for fast track development in a Data Warehouse environment. Service pack release helped quite a bit, and my hope is that SQL 2008 is more like the 2.0 update to 1.0 in addition, I think I'll still be skeptical until SQL 2008 Service Pack 1 is available.

Underground_In_TN
Underground_In_TN

For a while now we've had a need to upgrade to 2005 to get rid of a work-around in our data warehouse; indeed, we've had it in the budget for two years, but my boss keeps putting off the purchase. Just this morning he said we'd buy it after the first of the year. Now I'm thinking I'll suggest waiting a bit more for 2008. Due to future needs (possible migration from a legacy AS/400 to all SQL Server and MS Dynamics) and some very large databases, the backup compression and change tracking look very attractive, and may justify the extra wait.

rculver
rculver

The step up to SQL 2K5 was a no-brainer; this upgrade may be more difficult for me to justify to myself as well as the CFO.

timothyrcullen
timothyrcullen

Good morning, all. I think it will be a hard sell to get companies to purchase or upgrade SQL versions every three years, simply because they want to get their money's worth out of each version. What I see happening is the "leap frog" effect-some companies will go from 2000 to 2008, while others will start at 2005 and skip over to the next version (2011?). My work situation has me bouncing between instances of SQL2000 and SQL2005, which I find a tad confusing at times. I'm not sure that I want to add a thir one to the mix. I've not looked at the CTP for 2008 but will in the very near future. There are some promising features in it that I hope will lure my current employer.

mabingle
mabingle

A new version every 3 years. So what? SAP issues a new release every 2-3 years, how about other vendors? If a new release makes my life easier I'm all for it. If it doesn't I wait until the next release and upgrade then. It's kind of funny though. I can't tell you how many people I know couldn't wait until SS2005 was released. So, are you saying that it should be somewhere between 3-5 years? Or are you saying that SS2005 is so good that there's no need for another upgrade? All kidding aside, I would like to see some improvements in SSIS.

chapman.tim
chapman.tim

Not really saying either of those things. To me it just seems that because of the short period of time that 2005 has been out, people may end up skipping that version entirely and going to 2008...which may or may not be a good thing. Its all on how you look at it, and from whos perspective you are looking at.

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