Microsoft releases SQL Server SP2 preview

SP2 will support new versions of Windows and Office

Microsoft Tuesday released the latest Community Technology Preview (CTP) for Service Pack 2 of its SQL Server 2005 database, which will support the upcoming Windows Vista and integrate with Office 2007.

Available online, SQL Server 2005 SP2 will allow data-mining from its SQL Server Analytical Services to be used directly within Excel 2007 and Visio 2007; It also will integrate SQL Server 2005's Reporting Services with SharePoint Server 2007.

Service Pack 2 is expected to ship after Vista and Office 2007 in the first quarter of next year.

The newest CTP arrives a week before the largest SQL Server users group holds its annual conference. The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) show will be held Nov. 14-17 in Seattle. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is expected to keynote.

Also expected to keynote is Paul Flessner, Microsoft senior vice president of server applications and the head of development for SQL Server 2005. Flessner announced Nov. 1 that he will step down from his day-to-day duties, while remaining on as a consultant. SQL Server 2005 is an important part of the company's software stable, and revenues from it during Microsoft's first quarter 2006 were up 30% over the prior year.

Microsoft has said that it is not testing nor officially supporting versions of SQL Server prior to 2005 to run well on Vista, and is encouraging users to upgrade. Mainstream support for SQL Server 2000 will end August 2008.

Microsoft released SP1 in April, six months after SQL Server 2005's launch in October 2005. SP2 is also expected to include support for Oracle database in Report Builder and for Hyperion Essbase cubes in Report Services. It is also expected to support increased data compression and enhanced management features for all editions of SQL Server 2005.

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