Understanding SQL Server 2008 R2’s Key Features

I wasn’t able to attend TechEd this year, which is the first time in years that I’ve missed the event. Bummer. So this week I want to share a few resources that can help you understand the key SQL Server announcements that were made at TechEd, as well as share my thoughts about TechEd going back to a one-week format rather than the two-week footprint used last year.

The next release of SQL Server is officially called SQL Server 2008 R2, which replaces the code name SQL Server Kilimanjaro. You should expect a Community Technology Preview (CTP) for SQL Server 2008 R2 in the second half of this year, with the product’s release to manufacturing (RTM) estimated for the first half of 2010. Key SQL Server 2008 R2 enhancements include
• Master Data Services
• Self-managed business intelligence (BI) for analysis and reporting (Project Gemini)
• Application and multiserver management
• Support for more than 64 logical processors

Master Data Services deserves an editorial unto itself, and I plan to cover it in an upcoming editorial, but for now I encourage you to read "Master Data Services – What’s the big deal?" by Kurt Haselden, the product unit manager for Master Data Services at Microsoft. Kurt describes one of the core reasons why Master Data Management is so important as "Traditional applications manage master data and these forces insufficiently. What is needed to solve these problems is an application that focuses on managing these forces with a set of tools that is specifically designed to ensure that the master data remains authoritative, is available in a secure way across the enterprise and is integrated with the applications that use it," says Haselden. Check out Shelia Molnar’s review of the SQL Server–related TechEd announcements at http://www.sqlmag.com/Article/ArticleID/102112/sql_server_102112.html.

Microsoft also announced new technology for low latency Complex Event Processing that will be available in the SQL Server 2008 R2 timeframe, although Microsoft hasn’t said if this feature is technically part of SQL Server 2008 R2. This feature will make it easier for customers to glean information or take other action based on real-time data streaming. 

Finally, I think it was a great idea for Microsoft to fold TechEd back into a single week. Two weeks of TechEd made it too hard for SQL Server pros and developers to get all of the information they needed and wanted about SQL Server. I’m glad that two weeks of TechEd was a short-lived experiment.

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