Executive Summary: SQL Server Data Services is the database version of Microsoft’s Software Plus Services strategy. It offers data storage and access on demand via the Web and supports LINQ queries.

SQL Server Data Services isn’t some new SQL Server 2008 feature that you might have glossed over. Nor is it an edition of SQL Server 2008 that you haven’t heard about. SQL Server Data Services is the database version of Microsoft’s new Software Plus Services strategy, which combines software with remote services via the Internet. Here are the top five things you need to know about SQL Server Data Services.

5 What is SQL Server Data Services?


Fulfilling Microsoft’s vision of becoming a Software Plus Services provider, SQL Server Data Services provides a services wrapper for data access that’s targeted toward businesses of all sizes. It’s an on-demand data storage and retrieval service offering data access anywhere via the Web.

4 How much data and what kind of data can be stored?


At press time, all of the details regarding the internal capabilities of SQL Server Data Services had yet to be announced. However, Microsoft has stated that SQL Server Data Services will support several simple data types including string, numeric, datetime, and Boolean. At this point, Microsoft has placed no limits on the amount of data that can be stored.

3 How is the data accessed?


SQL Server Data Services supports XML standards-based Representational State Transfer (REST) and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) interfaces. Microsoft will also provide both a Visual Basic (VB) and C# client library, enabling Language-Integrated Query (LINQ)–based data access. LINQ queries support full-text search and paging queries.

2 Where is the data stored and how is it protected?


SQL Server Data Services data is stored in Microsoft’s own SQL Server systems. Customers can store and manage multiple copies of data, and Microsoft provides geo-redundant data for disaster recovery and to protect against regional and site outages. All data transfers between the client and SQL Server Data Services are secured by Secure Sockets Layer (SSL).

1 What is the price for SQL Server Data Services?


SQL Server Data Services is still in beta, so the price hasn’t yet been determined. However, it would be safe to bet that Microsoft will charge for the service based on the amount of storage used. Find out more about SQL Server Data Services and register for the beta at www.microsoft.com/sql/dataservices/default.mspx.

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I’d like to tag onto Michael’s “5 things you need to know about SQL Server Data Services,” by adding “6. What the heck is Software Plus Services?” In case you’ve been too busy actually working to learn about Microsoft’s new “strategery” (term courtesy of Will Ferrell and President Dubya), I’ve found a few articles that can quickly fill you in on what your favorite might-as-well-be-a-monopoly is up to. Get the background on Microsoft’s Software Plus Services, read how it’s manifesting, and learn what this new approach could mean for you.

“Microsoft’s Software Plus Services Strategy,” InstantDoc ID 96673; Karen Forster explores whether
Microsoft’s strategy will let it produce software revenue while creating new revenue as well.

“November 2007 Letters,” InstantDoc ID 97320;
reader galaxis13 explains possible reasons for Microsoft to adopt the Software Plus Services approach.

“Microsoft Office Live Workspace: A Winning Strategy?”
InstantDoc ID 98103; Jeff James reviews the first tangible manifestation of Microsoft’s strategy.

Will Software Plus Services add to your success or just to Microsoft’s wallet? Send me your thoughts at christan.humphries@penton.com.