Microsoft previews next SQL Server release

2008 R2 has new features and capabilities

Microsoft has given developers an early peek at SQL Server 2008 R2, the next generation of its flagship database, with a community technology preview (CTP) made available on Wednesday.

SQL Server 2008 R2 will help database administrators manage large-scale deployments and promote self-service BI (business intelligence), wherein end-users generate their own queries and reports with less involvement needed from IT staff, according to Microsoft.

In an official blog, Microsoft states: "New wizards enable administrators to quickly set up a multi-server management environment in minutes — no professional services required". DBAs will gain a range of capabilities for tracking their systems' resource usage and handling upgrades.

Meanwhile, a new version of Report Builder incorporates support for mapping data and "benefits power users that are looking for a more sophisticated authoring environment", the blog adds.

Microsoft is trying to push BI capabilities — long the province of only some users due to the software's high cost — to the masses, by tying them to its widely used SharePoint collaboration platform and Excel spreadsheet.

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