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Microsoft aims to simplify database management

The software giant introduces tools to ease database administration for both the current and forthcoming editions of its SQL Server database.

Microsoft on Wednesday introduced tools to ease database administration for both the current and forthcoming edition of its SQL Server database.

At an SQL Server customer conference in Seattle, the software giant spelled out new features targeted at simplifying day-to-day management of its SQL Server databases and making administrators more productive, a company representative said.

Microsoft released a tool Wednesday that scans a database and provides guidelines on how to best configure and maintain SQL Server databases for better performance. Called Best Practices Analyzer, the software is designed to work with the current edition of the company database, SQL Server 2000.

For the forthcoming edition of SQL Server, code-named Yukon and expected to be completed by the end of 2004, Microsoft plans to include tools for moving data into data warehouses, which are used to analyze company operations. The Data Transformation Services in Yukon are being redesigned to help developers and administrators move and reformat data more quickly and eliminate the need for some third-party tools, according to Microsoft.

The planned enhancements underscore the growing importance of management tools among cost-conscious buyers in the highly competitive database arena. The top three providers--Oracle, IBM and Microsoft--are each bulking up their respective databases with management-related features to reduce the cost of operating databases.

Oracle last week detailed a number of enhancements it has planned for its Oracle Database 10g, which is slated for an end-of-the-year delivery. Oracle hopes that lowering the maintenance costs of its database will keep Microsoft from luring away its core customer base of large corporations.

Oracle and IBM are also counting on lower costs and simpler administration to penetrate the market for small and midsize companies, which is Microsoft's largest customer segment.