Microsoft Eats its Own Dog Food With SQL Server 2000

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Microsoft Eats its Own Dog Food With SQL Server 2000
M. Reed and A. Turner - May 12 , 2000

Event Summary

Microsoft announced they are running 20 critical internal systems, including their worldwide sales data warehouse, on SQL Server 2000. In the vendor world, this is referred to as "eating your own dog food". As is the case with all software vendors lately, Microsoft is pushing e-commerce on the Web and support for XML. SQL Server 2000 beta release 2 is available immediately.

In April, Microsoft Corp. announced the worldwide availability of SQL Server 2000 beta release 2, giving customers the opportunity to start testing the next version of Microsoft's award-winning database. SQL Server 2000 is a database and analysis offering that enables customers to rapidly build the next generation of scalable e-commerce, line-of-business and data warehousing solutions.

Microsoft SQL Server 2000 is fully Web-enabled with end-to-end support for Extensible Markup Language (XML) and a new, integrated data-mining engine, allowing customers to benefit from the efficiencies and opportunities offered by business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce.

The Microsoft Windows DNA platform, including SQL Server already has a strong presence in the business-to-business e-commerce industry with support from premier vendors such as Ariba Inc., Clarus Corp., Commerce One Inc., Concur Technologies Inc., and Intellisys Electric Commerce LLC.; and with customers such as AirTouch Cellular, American Express Co., The Boeing Company, Dell Computer Corp., Healtheon/WebMD, Lucent Technologies Inc., MasterCard International Inc., Northern Telecom Ltd., Paccar Inc., Schlumberger Electronics Transactions, Siemens AG, and Visa U.S.A.

Microsoft states that "SQL Server 2000 will offer scalability and reliability for the largest Web and corporate applications through groundbreaking support for software scale-out, high-end hardware platforms and state-of-the-art networking and storage technologies. With the industry's most modern database architecture and deep integration with the Microsoft Windows DNA 2000 platform, SQL Server 2000 will offer the fastest time-to-market for building applications for the Business Internet, helping companies realize the possibilities of the digital economy."

"Microsoft Windows DNA 2000 is the most comprehensive integrated platform for building and deploying next-generation Web applications," said Paul Flessner, vice president, database and middleware development at Microsoft. "SQL Server 2000 will anchor this platform by delivering unequaled support for Web technologies, deeply integrating business intelligence features, and making software scale a reality for the most demanding e-commerce scenarios."

With 20 critical internal systems, including its worldwide sales data warehouse, already upgraded to SQL Server 2000, Microsoft expects over 200,000 customers to test the new version of its database.

Market Impact

Embedded support for XML is becoming more crucial for business-to-business transactions on the World Wide Web. Companies who would like faster time-to-market by working with only one vendor, thereby easing integration issues, will strongly consider Microsoft's offering.

Cost will also remain an issue with respect to Oracle and IBM pricing in many cases. One major drawback is that once you have begun betting your business on a proprietary Microsoft solution, it will be difficult to change your mind.

An additional advantage of the new release is the addition of SQL Server 2000 Analysis Server (formerly known as OLAP Services or "Plato"). An integrated data mining engine will be a strong selling point. The algorithms are claimed to be extensible via OLE DB for Data Mining (for more information see the TEC News Analysis, Microsoft Says OLE Data Mining: Is it Bull?, published in March). The product contains a custom rollup service and additional levels of security (even to the cell level within the cube) to make OLAP more flexible. In addition, the OLAP services allow clickstream analysis and Web data analysis in conjunction with Microsoft Commerce Server.

User Recommendations

Customers investigating low to mid-tier data warehouse and data mart solutions should consider Microsoft SQL Server 2000 in a short list of potential candidates. Other product offerings that should be investigated include those from Oracle, Informix, and IBM. It should be noted that the only platforms on which this server solution can be deployed are Windows NT4 or Windows 2000. UNIX and mainframe-predominant shops should explore DB2, Oracle 8i, and Informix solutions, as well as other, smaller niche database vendors.

In addition, although a company's advanced/emerging technology group may wish to test the beta, no actual applications should be trusted to this server platform until it is in general availability. Microsoft has done extensive testing on SQL Server 2000, but it should be noted that many customers do not commit to Microsoft products until the first Service Pack has been released. To the company's credit, Microsoft is strongly committed to SQL Server, and it will likely evolve into a very strong product, irrespective of the outcome of the Department of Justice lawsuit and attempts to break up the company.

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