Wellington-based e-spatial, an integration and data analysis company specialising in geospatial technology, has been testing Microsoft’s SQL Server 2008 since the beginning of 2007.
The company was part of the first private beta testing, and has been using SQL Server 08 ever since, says e-spatial CIO Matti Seikkula.
The company helps introduce mapping and spatial data into its customers’ existing systems, he says. For example, the Police use spatial technology for crime analysis, and the Fire Service uses it to view incidents geographically, he says.
Spatial components of SQL Server used to be available only as third-party plug-ins, but spatial functionality is now integrated into the new version.
“With no added cost, which is brilliant,” says Seikkula.
From a relational data perspective, the difference between the older SQL Server 2005 and the 2008 version is not huge, but from a spatial perspective, the new built-in functionalities open up new opportunities for companies, without them having to invest money, says Seikkula.
While spatial technology used to be limited to specialised analysts, and almost perceived as a “black art”, it is now more easily available, he says. Organisations are now able to view their data in completely new ways, perhaps as a picture or map. But the challenge is that many companies are not aware of how this new functionality can be useful to them, he says.
Other benefits are increased functionality and performance, as well as the native filestream capabilities, which enables more efficient handling of videos and images, he says.
Seikkula also mentions the integration of LINQ (Language Integrated Query), which allows the company’s developers to build tools that can talk to the SQL database. It makes it “easy and seamless” for developers to take care of more trivial tasks themselves, without having to wait for a database administrator, he says.
E-spatial also uses Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2008 and Windows Server 2008, which together with SQL Server 08 creates a “totally connected” platform, says Seikkula.
“Everything is related. All these different things talk to each other. They are all sort of part of the same story,” he says.
Another new feature of SQL Server is the built-in business intelligence functionality, says Dave Rayner, group manager of Windows Server and application platform business at Microsoft New Zealand. The out-of-the-box tools could help New Zealand businesses get more insight out of their data, he says.