Ted Kummert, Microsoft Corporate VP, Data and Storage Platform Division, gave the opening keynote address at the 2008 SQL PASS Summit in Seattle. He spoke on “Delivering on our Data Platform Vision” for SQL Server 2008 and beyond.

Kummert said that “SQL Server is the most popular database in the world” and that, according to industry analysts, it’s the “fastest growing relational database.”

What does the future hold? Kummert sees Microsoft delivering the data platform as a utility, “moving from the physical world to the logical world.” This world comprehends, among other things, policy-based management, self managing systems, plus performance, reliability, and security. In addition, it integrates collaboration across the application lifecycle between developers, DBAs, and IT Pros.

Kummert described the mission of his team as building a platform for all data, structured, unstructured, and semistructured, integrating on the IWorker side with Office and on the developer side with Visual Studio. He recapped recent major news about three release vehicles:

  • Kilimanjaro, scheduled to ship in the first half of 2010, which will provide new capabilities around SQL Server 2008 focusing on managed self-service for business intelligence (BI).
  • Madison, scheduled to ship in the same timeframe as Kilimanjaro. It unites the technology from the Data Allegro acquisition with SQL Server to create “the highest level of scale” with the data warehouse. According to Jesse Fountain, a principal GPM in Kummert’s division, Microsoft removed the Linux OS, added NTFS and a Windows OS and, of course, SQL Server on top. A goal of Madison is the rapid return of queries into massive data warehouses (comprised of over a trillion rows of data). Fountain demoed such a query and promised that Microsoft will publish load stats soon.
  • SQL Server Services, the data pillar of the recently announced Azure Platform for cloud computing. Kummert announced the availability today of the first public CTP of SQL Server Data Services.

Most of the keynote was organized around what Kummert described as the four pillars of the data platform (Microsoft loves pillars almost as much as T.E. Lawrence):

  • Enterprise data platform—the fundamentals.
  • Beyond relational— for example, new data types, such as the GEOMETRY and the GEOGRAPHY spacial data types, that bring sights and sounds into the data tier.
  • Developer productivity—meaning faster time to solution and richer solutions, including SQL Server 2008 innovations such as the Entity Data model and LINQ semantics.
  • Enabling pervasive insight—the goal is to get business users’ questions answered. The core is the data warehouse (scaled storage with data compresson). Other elements include scaling end user concurrency with Resource Governor and mproving integration with SharePoint.

For more information see:

Microsoft Unveils New Technologies at BI Conference

The Madison Solution and the Kilimanjaro Release Explained

Dave Campbell on Azure and SQL Server Services

Developer News from PDC 2008