Microsoft's SQL Server upgrade stalls again

Microsoft is once again hedging its bets on the delivery schedule for an enterprise-oriented upgrade of its SQL Server relational database. SQL Server 7.0 was originally due out this year but got bumped back into the first half of 1998 several months ago. Now Microsoft is publicly promising only that the new version will be out next year. Doug Leland, lead SQL Server product manager at Microsoft, says there is still a chance that Version 7.0 will ship by mid-1998. But that depends on how smoothly things go with a second beta-test release due out in the first quarter.

Microsoft is once again hedging its bets on the delivery schedule for an enterprise-oriented upgrade of its SQL Server relational database. SQL Server 7.0 was originally due out this year but got bumped back into the first half of 1998 several months ago.

Now Microsoft is publicly promising only that the new version will be out next year. Doug Leland, lead SQL Server product manager at Microsoft, says there is still a chance that Version 7.0 will ship by mid-1998. But that depends on how smoothly things go with a second beta-test release due out in the first quarter. The second batch of beta code will add support for Windows 95 and parallel querying, two key features that didn't make the cut for the initial test release, Leland says. It will also include bug fixes, tighter performance tuning and other changes based on feedback from early users.

SQL Server 7.0, which is code-named Sphinx, is supposed to let users scale the database from its current 200Gb capacity to the terabyte level.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has released a beta specification for extending its OLE DB data access interface to support multidimensional online analytical processing (OLAP) applications. The OLE DB for OLAP specification consists of a set of programming interfaces for linking analysis client software to back-end OLAP databases. Microsoft plans to build OLE DB for OLAP support into its upcoming Plato OLAP server and is hoping to get other OLAP database vendors to support the specification as well. Currently, most OLAP servers use their own client-to-database interfaces.

A vendor group known as the OLAP Council last year released a proposed standard interface, but only Gentia Software Corp. in Wakefield, Massachusetts, has adopted it so far. Gentia also announced support for OLE DB for OLAP, as did with 17 other predominantly client-level vendors. A final release of the Microsoft specification is due this fall.

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