Five full years since the debut of SQL Server 2000, Microsoft will officially release SQL Server 2005 this November. Without a doubt, the SQL Server 2005 release is the biggest release since SQL Server 7.0 was launched as an enterprise-class database server in 1998. Even with pulling Database Mirroring from the November RTM release for a mid 2006 release and dropping the inadequate SQL Server Express Manager in favor of a scaled back SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server 2005 is packed with so many new features that it might just be the biggest SQL Server release ever.

To help you understand the changes in SQL Server 2005 and how they might affect your business, SQL Server Magazine has provided ongoing coverage of all the most important SQL Server 2005 enhancements since Microsoft released the first betas of the product more than a year ago. Now, to coincide with the official launch we've dedicated every article to SQL Server 2005—and we have twice as many as usual.

First, to give you some insight into the goals and challenges of the new SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 releases, we've interviewed Paul Flessner, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Server Platform Division, and S. "Soma" Somasegar, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft Developer Division. To get up to speed on the two new small-business editions of SQL Server 2005, check out our feature article on the SQL Server 2005 Workgroup and Express versions. Next, we take you on an in-depth guided tour with three articles that look at what's new in SQL Server 2005 for database administrators, developers, and business intelligence (BI) specialists. Believe me, there's plenty to learn.

Also in this issue, our Development section features a Visual Studio 2005 overview in addition to the popular Preparing for SQL Server 2005 and T-SQL Black Belt columns. The Administration section features instructions for upgrading to SQL Server 2005 to help you better understand the requirements and steps involved in moving to the new release. The Inside SQL Server column will deepen your knowledge by showing you how SQL Server 2005 index organization works. And our BI section features a SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) article that demonstrates how to use independent SSIS packages and a Reporting Services article that shows how to build reports that use multivalued parameters.

While we at SQL Server Magazine are naturally excited about the release of SQL Server 2005, don't get the idea that we'll be ignoring earlier releases. We'll continue to include articles about SQL Server 2000 in addition to our SQL Server 2005 coverage. In upcoming months, we'll look at topics such as how to write more effective T-SQL code, how to use ADO.NET to build scalable and high-performance database applications, as well as articles about Data Transformation Services (DTS) and SQL Server 2000 administration. And to help you learn about and prepare for SQL Server 2005, we'll have articles showing how to use the new subsystems such as SSIS, Reporting Services, Service Broker, and Notification Services as well as hands-on articles showing how to best use the multitude of other new features in SQL Server 2005. As usual, these articles will come from the best SQL Server experts in the industry. SQL Server 2005 is here, and SQL Server Magazine is here to help.