At the COMPASS '99 conference in Chicago, Paul Flessner's keynote address hit on some new features that Microsoft will include in the next release of SQL Server, code-named Shiloh. A future issue of SQL Server Magazine will cover the Shiloh release in more detail. Until then, here are the seven coolest new features forthcoming in Shiloh.

7. Extensible Markup Language (XML) Support


Microsoft has been bitten by the XML bug, so it's no surprise that Shiloh will include XML support. Although widespread XML adoption is still in the future, Microsoft clearly expects XML to become the standard for business-to-business commerce across the Internet.

6. Support for Windows CE


Shiloh's new support for Windows CE will further extend SQL Server's already impressive support for mobile computing by letting SQL Server run on handheld devices. This capability brings new meaning to the phrase "the little database that could."

5. Improved SMP and Very Large Database (VLDB) Support


Shiloh will take advantage of Windows 2000 (Win2K) Datacenter Server to provide support for up to 16-way systems. In addition, under Win2K Datacenter, Shiloh will address up to 64GB of memory through the Physical Address Extension (PAE). With the new support for Windows CE at the low end and high-end support under Win2K Datacenter, SQL Server will be the most scalable database platform available.

4. Multiple Instance Support


Support for multiple instances will let two or more SQL Server installations run on the same system. This support won't be a big deal for most single-system installations, but it will make setting up and running SQL Server in a clustered environment easier.

3. Active Directory


Closely tied with its support of Win2K, Shiloh will include Active Directory (AD) support, which will strengthen SQL Server's security and enterprise operability with support for Kerberos authentication and single enterprise login.

2. Materialized Views


Materialized views let you perform preaggregations on a database, enabling OLAP-like query performance. This feature was the basis for Oracle's much-vaunted million-dollar challenge and the subsequent restructuring of the TPC-D decision- support benchmark (see Michael Otey, Editorial, "All's Fair?" June, 1999). Now that SQL Server has this feature, too, Oracle will have to work hard to come up with the next challenge.

1. Cascading Declarative Referential Integrity (DRI)


Yes! It's about time that SQL Server got this feature, which has been in competing databases—even Access—for years. Cascading DRI lets database modifications automatically apply to related records without your writing triggers. For instance, if you delete an order header record from the Orders table, cascading DRI will let SQL Server automatically delete all order detail records from the Order details table. Cascading DRI will make it easier for DBAs to ensure database integrity.