In the past 10 years, Microsoft has transformed SQL Server from a limited-scale departmental database to a leader in the enterprise database marketplace. Because this year marks SQL Server's 10th anniversary, let's briefly tour SQL Server's six major releases, then quickly look at the upcoming Yukon release.

7. SQL Server 4.2 for 16-bit OS/2 1.3


Microsoft first released SQL Server in 1992. SQL Server 4.2 didn't support Windows NT. Microsoft produced the product with Sybase for the 16-bit IBM OS/2 1.3 platform.

6. SQL Server 4.2


Microsoft's first 32-bit SQL Server release came in 1993. This release, also developed with Sybase, let SQL Server 4.2 work with NT 3.1. In 1994, Microsoft ended its co-development with Sybase and continued SQL Server development for NT alone.

5. SQL Server 6.0


In 1995, the 6.0 release marked the first time SQL Server provided serious enterprise database capabilities. SQL Server 6.0 brought the Enterprise Manager GUI and support for replication, scheduling, and Declarative Referential Integrity (DRI).

4. SQL Server 6.5


SQL Server 6.5 came in 1996, on the heels of the 6.0 release. SQL Server 6.5 enhancements included improved scalability, dynamic page-based locking, support for distributed transactions, the ability to extend replication to ODBC data sources, and a Database Maintenance Wizard.

3. SQL Server 7.0


Code-named Sphinx, SQL Server 7.0 appeared in 1998, marking the biggest change in the SQL Server architecture since the product's original release. SQL Server 7.0 brought massive scalability and performance boosts, dynamic self-tuning, and row-based locking. Microsoft also added OLAP Services, bringing data warehousing and business intelligence (BI) into the mainstream. With the 7.0 release, SQL Server began to compete head-on with Oracle and IBM DB2 in the enterprise database market.

2. SQL Server 2000


Microsoft released SQL Server 2000, code-named Shiloh, in October 2000. SQL Server 2000's Analysis Services improved OLAP and BI capabilities and added data-mining features. The 2000 release also provided XML integration, letting you store, retrieve, and manage data in XML format. Subsequent Web releases improved the product's XML integration and introduced SQL Server 2000 Notification Services.

1. Yukon


Release of the next version of SQL Server, code-named Yukon, is expected in 2004. The Yukon release will include the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR), which will let you write database objects such as stored procedures and triggers in .NET-compatible languages such as C# and Visual Basic .NET.