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March 24, 2005
2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
3. News and Views
4. Events and Resources
5. Peer to Peer
7. New and Improved
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by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
An interesting battle is taking shape between Microsoft and Oracle, two titans of the database world, and the prize is business-application software (i.e., ERM, ERP, CRM). In a surprisingly short amount of time, the competitive landscape at the upper end of this space has changed dramatically. Hey wait! You might be thinking "I thought this was a SQL Server column, what do I care about business ERM stuff?" Well, don't forget all business-application software needs a database to store its data in. Pricing for databases and prices for high-end business-application software can be inexorably entwined when a vendor controls both the business layer software and the database. Vendors who sell both have a lot more margin to play with and can be a lot more creative about how they price a total package for customers. Plus, Microsoft and Oracle are fierce competitors in the database space; competition in other areas inevitably has an effect on their database competitions. So this battle will have a bigger effect on Microsoft and Oracle's database strategies than you might think.
So here's the rest of the story. Earlier this year, Oracle (the second largest provider of business application software) merged with PeopleSoft (the third largest provider), which had already swallowed J. D. Edwards (another major provider) back in 2003. SAP is still the dominant provider, but Oracle's PeopleSoft acquisition is intended to grow the company's flagging application division. Oracle's attempt to achieve a competitive advantage in the market is a classic case of strategic management.
So a series of acquisitions has led to an oligopoly in which SAP and Oracle share market leadership in the world of business application software. At the same time, Microsoft has been making slow but steady strides in building its own competitive offerings in this space. Microsoft has been on a buying spree since its purchase of Great Plains several years ago. Microsoft acquired Solomon and several other niche companies to stitch together the Microsoft Business Solutions Business Group. Last week, Microsoft announced the acquisition of a business analytics tool and new enhancements to Microsoft Business Solutions Great Plains 8.0. Also, an upcoming SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services Report Pack will use the power of SQL Server 2000 to let customers draw information from Great Plains and create analytic reports specific to their business needs. For more about these enhancements, see "Microsoft Business Solutions Acquires Business Analytics Tool" at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=6020:7B3DB . Don't forget that the competition between Microsoft and Oracle isn't only about business software. Both companies are striving to be platform companies. I don't see Microsoft abandoning the business-application software space without a pretty cool Rock 'em Sock 'em Robot-style fight with Oracle.
SAP is still the leader in this space, but for how long? From what I gather, Microsoft's Business Group hasn't had the financial success the company expected. But Mr. Gates has a big piggy bank and knows how to spend money to make money. The business-applications software market is dizzyingly large and important, plus, those applications need an OS to run on and a database to keep their data in. I don't know what will happen in this space but it should be interesting to watch. You can keep up to speed at the Microsoft Business Solutions newsroom at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=6023:7B3DB.
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2. SQL Server 2005 Watch
by Paul Thurrott, email@example.com
Monday, Microsoft announced its pricing and licensing strategy for Visual Studio 2005, while subtly delaying the release of the next-generation software development platform until the second half of 2005. The product will ship in tandem with SQL Server 2005. With Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft is introducing a vast range of product editions, each of which concentrates on particular types of developers.
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3. News & Views
"How do you enforce cascade actions?" Here are the results from the 101 votes (deviations from 100 are due to a rounding error):
"How many database users do you support?" Go to the SQL Server Magazine home page ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=6034:7B3DB ) and submit your vote for
4. Events and Resources
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See the complete Windows IT Pro Network guide to Web and live events.
5. Peer to Peer
Hot Tip: Last_Batch in Master..Sysprocesses
by Brian Moran, firstname.lastname@example.org
Q. What does it mean when I see a value of 1900-01-01 00:00:00.000 in master..sysprocesses' last_batch column?
Read the answer today at
ADO.NET developers often use T-SQL strings to retrieve data for applications, but poorly written strings can lead to errors. In his April feature article "Create Your Own Code Library," Rick Dobson teaches you a few techniques you can use to provide developers with a code library to use for many common data-access tasks. Read this article today at
Replication: Transactional Push Replication Over Internet
Data Access: Linking to Remote Site from Enterprise Manager
T-SQL: Creating a Temptable Stored Procedure
T-SQL: Sort Results by Matching Position
Reporting Services: Using Images in an External Folder
Administration: Can I Have 2 DBO Users in a Database?
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7. New & Improved
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Apollo Data Technologies announced predictive analytics, a methodology that lets companies discover hidden patterns and trends in data to understand and predict customer behavior. Apollo Data Technology experts work with companies to create custom models to solve specific business problems. The methodology involves three parts. First, Apollo consultants apply data-warehousing expertise to clean and join multiple data sources and properly format data for analysis. Then, the consultants use data-mining expertise to implement a combination of algorithms, processes, and techniques to accurately apply advanced statistics and build predictive models. Finally, Apollo consultants apply business expertise, coupled with six-sigma business practices, to map the data and algorithms to the defined business objectives. This analytic approach lets the company determine a future outcome of customer, product, and market behavior. Then, the company can use predictive analytics to find more effective ways to reduce costs in the areas of lost sales, marketing campaigns, and inventory management. For more information, contact Apollo Data Technologies at 312-787-7376 or email@example.com.
Proposion announced Proposion Report Adapter, software that extends SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services to integrate with IBM's Lotus Notes and Domino environments, making any Notes database a data source for Reporting Services and allowing the delivery of scheduled reports through Notes infrastructure. Many companies rely on Notes' collaborative groupware to build business-critical projects. But charting, reporting, and moving data from the IBM groupware to common Microsoft applications has been a significant point of pain. But with Proposion Report Adpater, report designers using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 and the Report Designer can create user-friendly reports that draw data—including images and attachments—directly from Notes and Domino databases. At runtime, users work through a Web browser to visit the Report Server and access cached or up-to-the-minute versions of reports, view them interactively, or download them in a variety of formats, including HTML, PDF, Microsoft Excel, TIFF, CSV, and XML. You can also automatically run any Reporting Services report, whether it's based on SQL Server, Notes data, or another data source, and deliver the report to a Notes database or to subscribers through native Notes Mail. The software reduces costs associated with application development and reduces the pain of porting data between IBM and Microsoft applications. Proposion Report Adapter costs $795 for the designer and $1395 for a single-processor server. A free 30-day evaluation version is available for download. For more information, contact Proposion at 978-388-7342 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cibersql announced Cibersql Web Admin, a Web application that lets companies manage their SQL Servers and MSDE databases securely over the Internet through a Web browser. DBAs can monitor databases, perform backup and recovery, and produce reports from anywhere in the world. The application is designed and developed with Microsoft .NET technologies to ensure scalability, performance, and security. In addition to providing most of the functionality of Enterprise Manager, Cibersql Web Admin has additional features, such as the ability to instanty export data to various formats including Microsoft Excel, .rtf files, XML files, and Microsoft PowerPoint. Cibersql Web Admin costs $299 for a single license and $1300 for an Enterprise license. A free trial of the software is available for download from the vendor's Web site. For more information, contact Cibersql at 800-893-4970 or email@example.com.
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