Do you have a list of SQL Server features or enhancements that you desperately want to see in future releases? Are you frustrated because you don't have a way to convey your SQL Server feature requests to Microsoft? Do you think that Microsoft wouldn't consider your requests even if you could communicate them to the company? If you answered yes to any of these questions, sqlwish@microsoft.com is for you.

Microsoft can't read minds and doesn't always know which feature enhancements its customers need. However, Microsoft is spending considerable energy to uncover these needs, using such tools as the sqlwish alias.

Send a feature request to sqlwish@microsoft.com, and you'll receive the following automated response: "We want to personally thank you for submitting your suggestion to Microsoft. When you contact Microsoft through this alias, your submission is reviewed by a person on the 'Wish' team and then routed to the group that can best use your comment to improve our products or services. Because of the volume this alias receives we cannot guarantee that you will receive a personal response, but rest assured that your submission was received, reviewed, and routed. Microsoft is committed to listening to our customers and improving our products and services based upon your wishes. When it is time for the appropriate group to begin planning for a new product or service, or an updated version of an existing product or service, your suggestion will be reviewed by the department that implements those changes."

I can vouch that the SQL Server development group takes this assignment seriously. I know folks on the team, and they read and consider every request that comes through the sqlwish alias.

Sometimes lone DBAs at small IT shops feel they don't have a voice when it comes to shaping SQL Server's direction. Microsoft might not address your request if it's on the fringe and no one else has ever requested it. But Microsoft does add features to the product when lots of lone DBAs request the same feature.

Finally, note that adding a new feature is easier to do early in the product's design or construction phase than when Microsoft is ready to roll out the product. For example, most feature requests won’t be retrofitted into SQL Server 2000; instead, they'll be considered for the next major release of SQL Server, code-named Yukon. Microsoft doesn't expect to deliver this release until second quarter or third quarter 2003—at the earliest. But although that timing might seem in the distant future, in reality, it's already late in Yukon's development phase to add new features.

So, brush the dust off your wish list and send it to Microsoft as soon as possible. I encourage you to send a different email message for each request and make the request as detailed as possible. Always explain how you would use the feature and justify why it makes sense. Following these suggestions will make it easier for Microsoft to consider your needs.