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Microsoft Releases SQL Server Service Pack Sequel

Microsoft has released Service Pack 2 (SP2) for SQL Server 2005, making the software giant’s flagship database system compatible with its newest operating system and Office 2007.

The release is the second major update the company has issued for its enterprise grade database.

In addition to integrating SQL Server with the Vista operating system and with Office 2007, SP2 provides tools for several manageability improvements, including specific customer-requested changes in database maintenance plans and management reports, and a new copy of the database wizard, according to Francois Ajenstat, director of SQL Server marketing at Microsoft.

Evolution of Vision

SP2 advances “the evolution of the data platform vision,” Ajenstat told TechNewsWorld, “by delivering information to where users want it. We’re bringing BI (business intelligence) to where the users live.”

SP2 has improved data mining for use within Excel 2007 and Visio 2007, the company said. It also provides integration with the Report Center to enable the consumption of SQL Server data within SharePoint. Finally, it includes support for Oracle in the database’s Report Builder feature.

New Virtualization

The new features will work closely with reporting capabilities found in Excel and Visio that initially were introduced with Office 2007, according to Ajenstat, and are expected to boost sales of PerformancePoint 2007 when it is pushed out later this year.

As more enterprises look to virtualization technology in order to run multiple copies of an OS on a single piece of hardware, better integration helps to reduce the number of physical servers, while increasing their utilization.

“SP2 delivers customer-driven improvements and new features that align with our data platform vision,” said Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of the data and storage platform division at Microsoft.

Built for Vista, Longhorn

SP2 is significant for customers that want their database to be fully supported on new Vista clients, because the OS will require installation of the new SP2 for full functionality.

The update will allow “unlimited virtual instances” to run on fully licensed installations of SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition, according to Kummert.

SP2 is the only release of the database that Microsoft will support for its Windows Vista OS, as well as for its Longhorn server, which will be released later this year.

A free upgrade is available for download with new virtualization licensing for the database, according to the company.

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