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SQL 7.0 in final beta, on time

About 50,000 beta testers get the third and last beta version of SQL Server Release 7.0 Enterprise Edition.

Microsoft is wrapping up the high-end version of its SQL Server database today, right on schedule.

With promises of support for clustered servers and large databases, 50,000 beta testers got the third and planned final beta version of SQL Server Release 7.0 Enterprise Edition.

The database is designed for use with Microsoft's Windows NT operating system and to support large enterprise software systems like those made by SAP, PeopleSoft, and Baan.

In testing, the new database handled 2,288 users of the sales and distribution module of SAP's R/3 system. According to Microsoft executives, that represented 126 percent more users than SQL Server Version 6.5 could handle. There were similar results for tests on the Baan IV application package and PeopleSoft Version 7.

Microsoft needs to prove SQL Server is scalable enough to handle the demanding back office transaction systems like R/3 if it is to succeed in loosening Oracle's stranglehold on the database market.

Up until now, users and analysts have said SQL Server was not scalable enough to handle ERP systems and their large scale transactions.

Other additions to Version 7.0 include row-level locking, an important feature that is needed to run the ERP systems. It also comes with additional management tools and OLAP support.

The final version is expected to ship later this year and will not require users to upgrade to Windows NT 5.0, due out late this year or early next year.