Reed and A. Turner
12 , 2000
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
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
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.