Microsoft had planned for a second-quarter release of the product, but insisted the later date still keeps the company on track to ship the database software within the original goal of 24 to 36 months after SQL Server 2005. "We are on track to reach this goal," the company said a blog dedicated to SQL Server.
In releasing what Microsoft called a "clarification on the road map," the company said there have been more than 100,000 downloads of the test version of the software -- or community technology preview. SQL Server 2008 is a major release for the company because it not only improves on the capabilities of the 2005 product, but it also provides the foundation for Microsoft's business intelligence software.
Microsoft said it plans to ship what it calls the "release candidate" for SQL Server 2008 in the second quarter with the final "release to manufacturing" version expected in the third quarter.
"Our goal is to deliver the highest quality product possible and we simply want to use the time to meet the high bar that you, our customers, expect," the company said.
Microsoft said the new timetable for shipping SQL Server 2008 would not change plans for what it has called the largest concurrent release of business software in its three-decade history. On Feb. 27, Microsoft plans to launch new versions of Visual Studio and Windows Server, along with SQL Server.
Once considered a technology that could only handle smaller databases, SQL Server is now running data warehouses larger than 20 TB in size, according to Microsoft. Among the areas of improvement in SQL Server 2008 besides the business intelligence capabilities are better scalability and an easier way to develop against the database via technologies like LINQ, a new querying syntax. There will be new support for spatial -- think geo-location -- data, better date and time support, and support for unstructured data that will percolate attributes of documents and files into the data.
The database also includes transparent encryption, which means the application that coordinates data in the database won't require that the user specifically request to decrypt information. With transparent encryption, the database does all the translation without user input.