According to a posting on the Data Platform Insider Microsoft employee blog, the final RTM of SQL Server 2008 has been pushed back to Q3 2008.

Microsoft's Francois Ajenstat -- director of product management for SQL Server -- was the author of the post, and explained that Microsoft "is excited to deliver a feature complete CTP during the Heroes Happen Here launch wave and a release candidate (RC) in Q2 calendar year 2008, with final release to manufacturing (RTM) of SQL Server 2008 expected in Q3."

Ajenstat also stressed that the delay won't change Microsoft's plans for the February 27 Heroes Happen Here launch that also involves Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008. While the delayed release may impact third-party vendors and developers who have tied the release of their new products to the SQL Server 2008 RTM, recent sales data has demonstrated that Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 business is growing rapidly, and is beginning to make inroads into enterprise clients that have long been the bailiwick of IBM and Oracle.

While the RTM of SQL Server 2008 will miss the aforementioned February launch event, Windows Server 2008 is widely expected to hit RTM within the next few weeks, and Visual Studio 2008 was finished in mid-November 2007.

We've asked a few third-party vendors to comment on the SQL Server 2008 delay, so we we'll add their comments to this post as soon as we receive them.

Quest Software

"This won't impact our launch plans," says Billy Bosworth, VP and general manager of the SQL Server business at Quest Software. "For this very reason we focus on releasing products around important events, based off our own internal time tables. It's just too hard to predict what \[Microsoft\] will run into in their beta cycles." Bosworth added that Quest Software is already supporting SQL Server 2008 in some of their products (like Quest Litespeed), and will have much broader support for SQL Server 2008 by the time it ships later this year. "We never anticipated that Microsoft would RTM by their february launch event, but we did believe they would be largely feature-complete by then."

DBA24hrs

"Microsoft’s decision to push back the release of SQL Server 2008 won't affect our release of updates to DBLaunch," says Sean McLean, chief architect of DBA24hrs. "Since we're already compatible with all previous versions of SQL Server and require no special coding for the 2008 release. We look forward to Microsoft getting 2008 out the door to allow our customers to skip a version."