I found the Tuesday keynote to be much more interesting, specifically because it was delivered by Paul Flessner. I have a special affinity for Paul, since I know him personally, and because he’s the top dog in the organization who has a personal stake in SQL Server.
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Paul announced a new June Community Technology Preview (CTP) would be available at the SQL Server Track Cabana and that all TechEd attendees would be eligible to receive a free copy of SQL Server 2005 at the product launch. You can get the newest CTP for yourself at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/downloads.
The product launch date for SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 will be the week of November 7th (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/jun05/TechEd2005Day2PR.mspx). On top of SQL Server and Visual Studio, BizTalk Server will also be released that week. As of this writing, Microsoft has seven major customers on SQL Server 2005 and expects to have more than twenty customers running it before the launch date. And that doesn’t count the large number of internal applications running within Microsoft on SQL Server 2005.
Microsoft also announced some remarkable new TPC-C and TPC-H benchmark scores on HP, NEC, and Bull hardware. The TPC-H benchmarks showed remarkable improvements – 165% higher performance compared to SQL Server 2000 and 38% higher performance compared to Oracle’s best scores on a 16 CPU Intel Itanium server at a 20% lower cost per transaction. The benchmark information is online at http://www.tpc.org. I was also very interesting in the comparative cost information which showed, when all components were considered, that SQL Server was significantly cheaper than the other major database vendors.
Paul also made a few important announcements about the SQL Server product line. For example, all versions of SQL Server 2005 will include Reporting Services. (There were questions as to whether Express Edition and Workgroup Edition would include Reporting Services.)
Microsoft will also begin to ship the SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle. I feel like this is only fair play, since both Oracle and IBM provide similar toolkits for users of their enterprise databases. Check out http://www.sqlserverchopper.com if you’re working on a migration effort. The entry that demonstrates the highest-value Oracle migration story will win a custom chopper, among other things. The contest begins on June 15th.
I spent most of the rest of the day in the SQL Server track cabana and in the exhibit hall at the company booth. I think the track cabanas were a pretty awesome idea. SQL Server users could freely interact with the SQL Server dev team there, as well as speakers and MVPs. I met MVP Kent Tengels in person for the first time and I recommend you take a look at his blog at http://spaces.msn.com/members/drsql/feed.rss. He has some excellent tips there.