SQL Server 2008 R2: Helping Customers Get More Value Out of Their Data

I’m delighted to share the news that we have released SQL Server 2008 R2 to manufacturing.  We’re very proud of this accomplishment and look forward to getting this release in the hands of our customers.  SQL Server 2008 R2 will be available to TechNet and MSDN subscribers on May 3 and available for download worldwide on May 13. A few details are below and I encourage everyone to take the SQL Server 2008 R2 Digital Tour.

The journey towards SQL Server 2008 R2 started as we were finishing up the release of SQL Server 2008 in the summer of 2008.  We spent a great deal of time with our customers talking about their needs and challenges.  Personally, I greatly value my time with our customers.  While I get to see them a lot here in Redmond, there is nothing like being out in the field and visiting them where they work.  Our conversations with customers lead to some common themes:

  • They deal with growing volumes of data.
  • They need to get more value out of that data to gain business insight and utilize different types and shapes of data in their applications.
  • And, since their employees are increasingly mobile, dispersed and the data itself spans the entire enterprise, they are looking for a comprehensive platform that spans the mobile platform, the desktop, the datacenter and the cloud.

These shared customer needs shaped our product vision and led to what we call the “information platform.” This has four key elements:

Mission Critical Platform. Today, SQL Server is performing mission-critical applications in data warehousing, online transaction processing, and business intelligence. SQL Server 2008 R2 is built on a strong foundation of quality, security, reliability, performance, and scalability of SQL Server 2008 and we’ve continued to enhance that foundation in R2.  Our customers want to take advantage of hardware advancements and with SQL Server 2008 R2 (on Windows Server 2008 R2), we’ve enabled support for up to 256 logical processors allowing our customers to scale-up as necessary to the needs of their applications.  Also, to make it easy for our customers to get value quickly from their investments in R2, we have worked hard to insure that SQL Server 2008 R2 will be an easy upgrade for our customers.

Empowered IT. Our commitment here is to the IT professionals and database professionals who build their careers on SQL Server.  Our goal is to continue to automate the routine tasks so they have time to focus on the work that adds additional value to the business. In SQL Server 2008 R2, we’ve added new features for Application and Multi-Server Management designed to lower overall operational costs.

Dynamic Development. Our developer community wants powerful runtimes and tools that enable lower time to solution and richer applications.  With the launch of Visual Studio 2010 and SQL Server 2008 R2 there are a lot of great new features and capabilities for our developers.  In SQL Server 2008 R2, we’re introducing StreamInsight which is a complex event processing engine which will enable applications to process high-volume event streams, and act on that information in real time.  This is a great example of how we’re continuing to evolve our platform to process new types and shapes of data.

Pervasive Insight.  Here, the focus is on enabling the end user to find the insights they need from the data in their environment and to do so quickly.  Industry analysts estimate that current BI solutions effectively target only 20-30 percent of the end-users. In SQL Server 2008 R2 and Office 2010 we are delivering a set of features to enable managed self-service business intelligence – to easily build BI solutions within familiar tools and managed by IT.  These investments cover both reporting and analysis tasks and deliver new experiences within Excel (PowerPivot for Excel) and our reporting tools (Report Builder).  To enable end-user collaboration we’ve integrated this solution with SharePoint 2010 in combination with management features to allow IT to manage the solutions and the environment.  All-up, managed self-service BI will enable an order of magnitude more end-users to be able to produce, consume and collaborate BI solutions.  

What’s next? We have delivered the second technology preview of our Parallel Data Warehouse edition and look forward to releasing that later this year.  This will add scale-out data warehousing to SQL Server and will take SQL Server to the 100s of Terabytes of scale in data warehousing.  

Lastly, we deliver the information platform in SQL Server and in the cloud with SQL Azure.  As we take SQL Server to the cloud in SQL Azure, the principle of symmetry guides us.  This will be a powerful thing for our customers in enabling them the flexibility and freedom of choice in how to deploy the solutions they build.  Stay tuned!

Posted by Ted Kummert
Senior Vice President, Business Platform Division