Last week, I had a great time mingling with SQL Server colleagues and friends (and managed to avoid being blown away by a hurricane) at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit in Orlando, Florida. Microsoft announced several items at the conference, including a new name for Data Transformation Services (DTS) and a new report builder for Reporting Services.

Months ago, Microsoft announced the plan to change DTS’s name with SQL Server 2005’s release, and at PASS, the company unveiled the new name: SQL Server Integration Services. I like Integration Services. Data will always be at the heart of an extraction, transformation, and loading (ETL) tool, but I think the new name captures Integration Services’ ability to go far beyond tweaking bits from one format into another as you load data from a flat file into SQL Server. I’ll devote an entire upcoming commentary to Integration Services’ new features, exploring the tool’s extended ETL capabilities.

In other PASS news, Microsoft reported that SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services has enjoyed a huge adoption rate. However, one of the product’s glaring weak spots is the lack of a true end-user report designer bundled with the product. The report designer in Visual Studio is great for IT professionals, but end users typically don’t work with Visual Studio. Last April, Microsoft acquired ActiveView to integrate the ActiveView technology into SQL Server 2005 as the new Reporting Services report builder targeted at end users. The new Report Builder will be part of SQL Server 2005 Beta 3, the first public beta of the product, which Microsoft claims will be available early next year.

SQL Server 2005 is still months away from release to manufacturing (RTM), but Microsoft announced that about 10 internal systems, including Microsoft’s corporate SAP R/3 implementations, are now running on SQL Server 2005 Beta 2. Microsoft’s policy is to “eat its own dog food” when it comes to SQL Server rollouts. Key internal systems must be running on a new release before Microsoft considers releasing the product for commercial availability. Microsoft hopes to have 50 internal systems running on SQL Server 2005 before next year’s launch. In addition, Microsoft plans to have at least 10 customers from the SQL Server Technology Adoption Program (TAP) running on SQL Server 2005 before the official release. Let’s hope that means the bits we get are closer to filet mignon than dog food.

If you missed PASS—or attended and are still hungry for more SQL Server education—you still have time to register for SQL Server Magazine Connections in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 7-10. Check out http://www.sqlconnections.com for more information.

Corrections to this Article:

  • References to Microsoft's Source Access Point (SAP) implementations were corrected to say SAP R/3 implementations on October 8, 2004.