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Microsoft looks to scale 'Kilimanjaro'

The next version of SQL Server, like the next version of Windows, will support 256 processors. Microsoft is also adding some features to Windows Server 2008 R2, which is due out alongside Windows 7.

At last year's WinHEC event, Microsoft Vice President Bill Laing talks about Windows Server 2008 R2, dwarfed by servers from Hewlett-Packard and IBM. Ina Fried/CNET

Microsoft said that the next version of its SQL Server database, to be called SQL Server 2008 R2, will work with up to 256 logical processors as well as add a set of business intelligence capabilities previously known as Kilimanjaro.

The software maker had previously described Kilimanjaro as an add-on to SQL Server 2008, but not a new version. In an interview, though, Microsoft's Robert Wahbe said Kilimanjaro will indeed be a new version of the product, though it will share the same code base as SQL Server 2008.

"It is new capabilities but it is also a new release," Wahbe said. "We haven't been changing the core. That's the reason we named it R2."

The move to support 256 processors in SQL Server coincides with a similar move that Microsoft had already made on the Windows Server side, with Windows Server 2008 R2.

As for Windows Server 2008 R2--the server version of Windows 7--Microsoft said that it will be finalized later this year, coincident to Windows 7 on the desktop side. At this week's TechEd event in Los Angeles, Microsoft is also showing several new features of the product.

That's a far cry from several past releases in which Microsoft was cutting features to try to meet shipping deadlines, said Microsoft's Ward Ralston.

"It's generally a conversation of what ended up on the cutting-room floor," Ralston said. Instead, Microsoft is actually discussing a few additional capabilities that it will include in Windows Server 2008 R2. Microsoft had originally said that its Hyper-V virtualization layer would support 32 logical processors; instead, Microsoft said it will support 64 chips.

Another addition is the ability to create clusters that mix different flavors of chips. In the past, clusters had to use the same revision of chip, while with Windows Server 2008 R2, clusters can be made up of machines using different Intel or different AMD chips, though they still can't combine the two brands.

"Now they can look to reuse some of that potentially couple-years-old hardware," Ralston said.