We've been focused on learning about the upcoming versions of SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010. But Microsoft also has another product just out as a CTP (community technology preview) -- SQL Server 2008 R2.
Originally codenamed SQL Server Kilimanjaro, SQL Server 2008 R2 has a number of new features and functionality that will focus on business intelligence and reporting.
Secure, Scalable Platform
Microsoft has greatly improved the security and scalability of the SQL Server platform:
- The combination of Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 R2 will enable scaling of up to 256 logical processors
- Scalable up to 10TB in core release (go even larger with the addition of Fast Track Data Warehouse)
- Improved virtualization using Microsoft Hyper-V
- Enhanced data encryption for databases, data files and log files.
- Ensure compliance using SQL Server Audit
- SQL Server StreamInsight provides the ability to extract, analyze and correlate streaming data at a lower cost.
SQL Server 2008 R2 StreamingInsight
DBA and Developer Tools
Microsoft is standing firmly behind its developers and system administrators for SQL Server 2008 R2, providing a number of new tools and capabilities, including:
- New Wizards for multi-server management and version control
- Dashboards to view data and log files, utilization trends, helping to better manage consolidation opportunities and manage capacity
- Single unit deployment using Visual Studio or extracted from existing applications
- New wizards for unpacking and distributing applications in SSMS
SQL Server 2008 R2 Server Management
Self-Service Business Intelligence
The ability for end-users to do their own analysis and reporting on data is a nice new feature for SQL Server 2008 R2.
Project Gemini is the next version of Analysis Services that comes with SQL Server. It includes self-service analysis and reporting using tools many are already well familiar with: Excel and SharePoint.
Microsoft has already wrapped Performance Point Server into SharePoint 2010, and this is just another step in making business intelligence capabilities designed for the end-users. In all cases, SQL Server is the data platform and much design has gone into ensuring it will support a lower cost of ownership and faster creation and deployment of BI solutions.
Not everyone in the Microsoft BI community has been positive about these changes, according to SharePoint360, a SharePoint consulting firm that has expertise in BI with Microsoft. Some feel it may be a dumming how of BI. The SharePoint community, has however, been very positive.
SharePoint360 CTO Ed Goddin believes it is a good move saying Microsoft has a goal of putting control in the hands of the end-users and are looking at it from a content and information perspective.
Ready to Give it a Try?
If you are ready to see just what SQL Server 2008 R2 can do for you, download the CTP now from Technet. It doesn't include the Gemini CTP. You have to be a member of the Office 2010 CTP to get the Excel Add-In to try out.