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MS extends data storage

Microsoft is fine-tuning its development repository to better work with data analysis tools from a wide range of software makers.

Microsoft (MSFT) is fine-tuning its development repository to better work with data analysis tools from a wide range of software makers.

Microsoft's repository, which debuted last March as part of the company's Visual Basic 5.0 development tool, is a specialized database used for storing software components or prebuilt chunks of code that perform specific functions. Developers can reduce development time by using and reusing software components because everything doesn't have to be built from scratch each time. Although many developers have turned to components through the increased popularity of object-oriented programming languages, many end up creating the same ones over and over because they have no way of storing and documenting them.

The repository will consist of a published interface and a repository engine that is built atop the company's SQL Server database server. Repository information will be mapped to SQL Server automatically and displayed in database tables.

Microsoft is extending the repository to work with data warehousing and analysis tools from software companies such as Platinum Technology which codeveloped the repository with Microsoft, Business Objects, Cognos, and Informatica.

Those same companies also partnered with Microsoft more than a year ago to define a unified model for building mid-sized data warehouses based on Microsoft's SQL Server database and Windows NT operating system.

The new repository extensions will provide a common infrastructure for data translation and OLAP (online analytical processing) products used in data warehousing applications, Microsoft said.

More than 65 companies now claim to either work with the repository or actually license the repository code for inclusion with their own products, Microsoft product manager Lloyd Arrow said.

Arrow said the first step in adding the extensions is a design review process to gather feedback from vendors on the proposed repository changes. The review will conclude in February, when Microsoft will, at its Redmond, Washington headquarters, present prototype systems based on the extensions.

Microsoft will then include the extensions in an update to the repository, which will either be posted to the Web, or shipped with tools that use the repository.

Information on the proposed extensions is posted to a Microsoft Web site.