Although Microsoft only recently completed SQL Server 2000, the company has been working on its follow-up—code-named Yukon—which will take SQL Server fully into the Web-enabled .NET environment. Yukon, which probably will ship in 2002, will extend SQL Server's XML capabilities and add several ease-of-use features targeted at administrators and developers. Microsoft describes the next release as a continuation of SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0 rather than a complete rewrite.

"We're not going anywhere," said Paul Flessner, senior vice president of the Microsoft .NET Enterprise Server Division. "I've been with SQL Server for 6 years. The team is excited, it's invigorated, and our turnover is next to nothing. We're building a great product that's successful in the marketplace, and we're not going to stop. We're going to be the best database on the planet. Yukon, the next release, \[will include\] shared-nothing clusters. And it will include language-independent stored procedures because we know \[database professionals\] want to program the server in more than just T-SQL."

Although he cautioned that the Yukon feature set is still in flux, Flessner noted other new features in Yukon. Complex record support will let tables contain other tables, for example. Yukon will support an object-oriented programming interface that will probably fit within the .NET framework for developers. The Yukon team will also address self-management to enhance SQL Server's ability to tune itself and fix problems automatically. And the Yukon team will improve the data-warehousing features that Microsoft introduced in SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 7.0 and move these features into the Yukon release.