You've probably heard by now: Last Thursday, October 27, Microsoft announced the SQL Server 2005 release to manufacturing (RTM). MSDN Universal subscribers can download SQL Server 2005 at http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=18775:285886 .

Last week in "Launch Events: A Free Lunch" ( http://lists.sqlmag.com/t?ctl=18768:285886 ), I talked about what a big deal Microsoft is making of the launch events for SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006. One of the reasons for the excitement about these launches is that, after a longer-than-expected wait, we finally get to enjoy the fruits of Microsoft's work over the past few years. Microsoft's "Better Together" theme, which the company has been using to promote these new releases, is now a reality. The integrated features of these three products are designed to help database professionals, developers, and end users work better together, and the new tools we have will fundamentally change the way we all work with data.

I'll have plenty of interesting thoughts and ideas to share about specific aspects of SQL Server 2005 in the coming weeks and months, but this week, I feel that less is more. All I really want to say today is congratulations to the SQL Server team and all the folks at Microsoft who have poured their hearts and souls into this product over the past 5 years. Job well done.

P.S. I hear the next release of SQL Server is codenamed Katmai. So, when does that ship?