Database administrators interested in evaluating the next version of Microsoft's SQL Server will be able to order the beta software from the company's Web site this week. Beta 2 of SQL Server 2000 adds Extensible Markup Language support, a data-mining engine, and a new scalability feature to the software, which was being tested by about 1,000 users, mostly independent software vendors.
The new beta release includes an integrated data mining engine, absent from the current SQL Server 7 product; the ability to store and retrieve XML data in a relational database; and a feature called "distributed partitioned views" for distributing application workload across several servers without rewriting the code, according to Microsoft product manager Barry Goffe. The final version of the product is scheduled to ship this summer.
Microsoft plans to ship CD-ROMs of beta 2 to Universal and Professional subscribers to its Microsoft Developer Network program.