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Microsoft says new database coming this fall

After delays, SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 are set to ship this fall. On tap for next year: BizTalk 2006 and RFID software.

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.
ORLANDO, Fla.--After numerous delays, the next editions of Microsoft's main software development products--SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005--will be available in November, the company said here Tuesday.

Microsoft also said that during the first half of next year it will introduce software to handle data generated from radio frequency ID devices. Such software will enable Windows Server software to collect and process data from RFID devices, Paul Flessner, Microsoft's senior vice president of server applications, said in a speech at the company's TechEd customer conference here.

Other Microsoft programs, including its BizTalk server and SQL Server database, will be able to store and feed RFID data to back-end systems. Microsoft didn't say how the new software will be packaged. But it said the new software will be able to be embeddeded into other programs or used on its own.

"This is a super important play for us," Flessner said. "It will allow you to have a lot of flexibility and make sure that RFID is available at a low cost."

Flessner detailed features planned for SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005, which are designed to make it easier to build large-scale business applications. He said the company intends to have the "largest-ever launch" of the products during the week of Nov. 7.

Microsoft will ship BizTalk 2006 in the first quarter of next year. The product is an upgrade to Microsoft's integration software, which transfers information and transactions among different applications.

BizTalk 2006 will be able to feed data into Office applications, providing so-called business-activity monitoring (BAM) capabilities for tracking the progress of business workflows.

Microsoft on Tueday also made available on its Web site an early test version of SQL Server 2005.

Long road to delivery
SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 have been delayed for well over a year, a situation that Flessner said frustrates him. "Nobody else in the world wants to ship SQL Server 2005 more than I do," he said.

However, he said, the improvements that Microsoft has made in beefing up performance and security will help dispel beliefs that Microsoft's database is not industrial-strength.

Database competitors IBM and Oracle "have done a good job saying that SQL Server is not quite ready for prime time, but with 2005 we think we're there," Flessner said.

Microsoft on Tuesday also introduced migration tools to aid customers looking to move database applications from Oracle to Microsoft. That free tool will automate about 80 percent of the work to shift applications to SQL Server.

Correction: This story misstated the release date for Microsoft's BizTalk 2006. The product will be released during the first quarter of next year.