Microsoft to let DBAs manage pools of SQL Server databases

Tech preview of SQL Server Data Services, its cloud version of SQL Server, also announced

At a conference for users of its SQL Server database on Wednesday, Microsoft officials demonstrated an upcoming tool that will purportedly enable database administrators to manage hundreds of database servers at a time.

The "application and multi-server management" feature will also enable DBAs to set policies and deploy applications to their entire "SQL Server Fabric," rather than one at a time, Microsoft said.

The feature will arrive with the upcoming Kilimanjaro release of SQL Server 2008. Due in 2010, Kilimanjaro will be the first version of SQL Server that can "scale out" to hundreds of servers -- hence the need for the management feature.

Kilimanjaro, which some are calling SQL Server 10.5, will be aimed at large-scale data warehouses with tens or hundreds of terabytes of data. It will allow Microsoft to compete with the likes of Teradata in the high-end BI (business intelligence) space, as well as IBM and Oracle.

The management dashboard was demonstrated during a keynote speech by Microsoft's corporate vice-president for the data and storage platform division, Ted Kummert, that officially kicked off the Professional Association for SQL Server's annual conference.

The conference goes through Friday in Seattle. Due to interest from the release of SQL Server 2008 in August and Microsoft's announced plans to scale out its database, attendance is up at this year's PASS show, to a reported 2,500 attendees from about 1,500 last year.

One attendee of the demonstration, Steve Jones of SQLServerCentral.com, blogged that multi-server management "is a good idea since I've always tried to set up the same management tools and processes on each server, so that I can efficiently keep an eye on things."

Jones also wrote, "I assume some backwards compatibility, but there is a lot of work for third party vendors to do here. At least that's my guess."

Microsoft said it has more than 40 internal apps running SQL Server 2008, including a 37 Terabyte data warehouse, and two SQL Server Analytical Services (SSAS) cubes for its Live Search service that are 1.4TB and 1.8TB, respectively.

Microsoft also announced the public availability of the first Community Technology Preview for SQL Server Data Services (SSDS), its cloud version of SQL Server.

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