Vendors Line Up Behind SQL Sequel

But users are being a lot more circumspect about the new database software

November 8, 2005

4 Min Read
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Two years late and still missing at least one key feature, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 drew applause from storage vendors today while customers were a little more muted.

EMC, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, NEC, Network Appliance, and Symantec were among those pledging support for the new database that Microsoft hopes will be more competitive with Oracle in running mission-critical enterprise applications.

While partners have a vested interest in pushing the new Microsoft capabilities, customers are being more circumspect. "Every time Microsoft has released some new version, there have been bugs in it. We usually wait awhile. We also want to see what's actually beneficial for us," says Nima Khamooshi, IT manager for Fayetteville Public Library in Arkansas.

The library uses SQL Server along with a range of other programs to maintain its 190,000-volume series of electronic and print publications across a variety of databases. Khamooshi anticipates it will be "at least six months" before his staff can even think about the new features.

Bud James, technical services director of El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, Calif., currently uses SQL Server 2000 and points out the new version is certainly an improvement over the previous one. "One thing I am not able to do is remote database replication to our business continuity site," he explains. For El Camino, which is located close to both the San Andreas and Monte Vista faults, business continuity is a serious concern. (See Hospital Saves With Server Shakeup.)To get around the shortcomings of SQL Server 2000, the hospital is using EMC's MirrorView product, according to James. "That allows me to replicate the entire storage area network, but it's not at the database level, it's a block-by-block replication. So, as a result of that, it's not transaction-aware." James hopes he will not have to rely on MirrorView to replicate his database. "With the new version [of SQL Server] I am hoping that it will be transaction-aware and that I won't have to use a third-party tool. We definitely want to set up SQL Server 2005 and start experimenting with it."

Microsoft claims SQL will process transactions faster than Oracle, and it adds support for database snapshots, database encryption, a fast recovery option that lets users recover a database before all transactions roll back, and the ability to synchronize replication across multiple servers.

Still missing is database mirroring, which logs new data on two databases and recovers instantly from the secondary database if the primary crashes. Microsoft wont provide this key enterprise feature on SQL Server 2005 until next year.

Today's related introductions include:

  • EMC rolled several new services and software tools for SQL Server, including an assessment and planning application to upgrade to SQL Server 2005. EMC also said its RecoverPoint CDP product, Replication Manager SE, and NetWorker backup all support the latest SQL Server version.

  • Hewlett-Packard said it is selling SQL Server 2005 as part of its enterprise portfolio, which includes its storage products as well as BladeSystem and ProLiant severs and its consulting services.

  • Hitachi Data Systems said its storage applications as well as blade servers and consulting services will support SQL Server 2005.

  • NEC Solutions plans to collaborate with Microsoft to offer "high availability" solutions made up of its two- to eight-way Express5800/1000 Itanium servers and Fibre Channel Storage S storage devices integrated with the data mirroring capabilities in SQL Server 2005. "A lot of large databases run on our Itanium platform," says Andrew Masland, director of strategic alliances at NEC. He says Microsoft has been testing its software with NEC Itanium-based gear since 1999, and the database mirroring function can be tested by NEC customers today, even though Microsoft won't finalize it until next year.

  • Network Appliance brought out Snap Manager 2.0 for SQL Server. The new version of SnapManager supports Microsoft Cluster Server (MSCS) for high availability.

  • Symantec added support for SQL Server 2005 with its Symantec's i3 for SQL Server, Backup Exec, NetBackup, LiveState Recovery, Storage Foundation High Availability (HA) for Windows, Enterprise Security Manager, and AntiVirus products.

    — Dave Raffo, Senior Editor, Mary Jander, Site Editor, and James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and SwitchOrganizations mentioned in this article:

  • Microsoft Corp.

    (Nasdaq: MSFT)

  • EMC Corp.(NYSE: EMC)

  • IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)

  • Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL)

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