WinFS to find a home in SQL Server

Microsoft has found a new home for WinFS in SQL Server.

Microsoft has found a new home for WinFS, a file system that the company originally planned to include in Windows Vista.

The company now will include WinFS in the next version of its SQL Server database, code-named Katmai, according to an entry on the WinFS team blog by Quentin Clark, director of program management at Microsoft. WinFS will handle the storing of unstructured data and auto-administration features of SQL Server, he wrote.

Pieces of WinFS also will be included as part of the version of ADO.NET (ActiveX Data Objects), the relational data access model for .NET applications, in the next version of Microsoft's Visual Studio toolset, code-named Orcas, Clark wrote.

This change in plans for WinFS also means that there will be no separate release of WinFS, which Microsoft originally had billed as a unified file system for all Windows applications. This counters plans for a Beta 2 release at the end of the year that Microsoft discussed just two weeks ago at its Tech Ed conference in Boston.

"We are not pursuing a separate delivery of WinFS, including the previously planned Beta 2 release," Clark wrote. "With most of our effort now working towards productizing mature aspects of the WinFS project into SQL and ADO.NET, we do not need to deliver a separate WinFS offering."

Microsoft made considerable noise around WinFS when it was announced at its Professional Developers Conference in 2003, but then later scrapped plans to include WinFS in Vista.

However, pieces of WinFS may still end up in a future version of Windows, according to Clark. He said Microsoft will continue to work on other aspects of WinFS that were expected to be a part of Windows Vista and include them in products as the company sees fit.

"We will continue working the innovations, and as things mature they will find their way into the right product experiences -- Windows and otherwise," he wrote.

Orcas is expected to be released next year around the same time as the next release of Windows Server, code-named Longhorn, while Microsoft plans to release Katmai in the next two to three years.

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