Microsoft releases preview for next SQL Server

A preview of the next version of Microsoft's database product, SQL Server 2008 R2, has been delivered to developers and will soon be made generally available.

Microsoft has delivered the next iteration of its flagship database product, SQL Server 2008 R2, to developers for review.

The company released a preview of the software to MSDN and TechNet subscribers on Monday. A community technology preview (CTP) will be available on Wednesday for general download, Microsoft said in a blog post.

SQL Server 2008 R2, previously code-named "Kilimanjaro," is the next generation of the Microsoft SQL Server database platform. The product is planned for release in the first half of next year.

The updated database software lets businesses build their own business intelligence capabilities. It includes a new version of its report-making software, Report Builder 3.0, that can incorporate maps.

"Report Builder 3.0 supports geospatial visualization to produce new insights and discoveries by combining geospatial data with business information," according to Microsoft.

In addition, Report Builder 3.0 allows caching of datasets on the report server when toggling between design and preview modes.

Using the preview, administrators will be able to set up a multiserver environment and enroll instances into a central management component, without having to rely on technical support, said the company.

"New wizards enable administrators to quickly set up a multi-server management environment in minutes--no professional services required," said the blog post.

The SQL Server 2008 R2 is one of a tranche of Microsoft CTPs slated for an August release.

StreamInsight, which is low-latency complex event processing software, will be launched "in the coming weeks," according to the company.

It will be followed by the first CTP for SQL Azure Database, a limited preview of Project "Gemini" Excel and SharePoint add-ins, and a private technology preview of Project Madison, Microsoft's data-warehousing product.

Downloads of the preview are available on Microsoft's SQL Server 2008 R2 Web site.

Tom Espiner of ZDNet UK reported from London.

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