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.