Microsoft Delays SQL Server 2008. So What?

I awoke yesterday to what was presented as alarming news: Microsoft, according to a report screaming at me from my computer display, was delaying SQL Server 2008 until the third quarter of 2008. This is confusing to some because Microsoft is "launching" the product in late February alongside Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. But we've known for some time that SQL Server 2008 wouldn't be ready in time for February. Is this really news?

I had to look up some old articles to refresh my own memory, frankly: With SQL Server 2008 coming post-February anyway, I wasn't really expecting it anytime soon. I first wrote about the SQL Server 2008 feature set back in October 2007 (in the cunningly titled "A Look at SQL Server 2008") and most recently discussed Microsoft's tiered launch strategy earlier this month in "2008: Finally, the Longhorn Wave." In that article, I noted that Microsoft planned to ship SQL Server in the second quarter of 2008.

Now, Microsoft says it expects to ship SQL Server 2008 in the third quarter of 2008, about three months later than previously expected (and not, as one publication solemnly claimed, "six months after the promised official launch"). This news was relayed to the world as it is so often these days, via one of Microsoft's corporate blogs. It was also presented, somewhat typically, as good news--a type of "glass half full" perspective that I'm not personally capable of.

"We've frequently discussed our goal of releasing SQL Server 2008 within 24-36 months after SQL Server 2005," SQL Server Director of Marketing Fran├žois Ajenstat wrote in a blog posting late last week. "We are on track to reach this goal." Now, Microsoft will deliver another SQL Server 2008 community technical preview (CTP) sometime around the launch event, a true release candidate (RC) in Q2 2008, and the final version of the product in Q3. "Our goal is to deliver the highest quality product possible, and we simply want to use the time to meet the high bar that you, our customers, expect," he adds.

Fair enough. I'm sure a few months isn't going to cause many customers that much of a problem. Certainly, the delays leading up to SQL Server 2005 and to Windows 2008 didn't rock Microsoft's enterprise customers at all. You know, maybe there is something to that glass half full philosophy after all. This just isn't a big deal.

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