Microsoft Ships Database for Handhelds

Following through on a commitment he made four years ago to offer a database that would span from handhelds to the high end, Paul Flessner, Microsoft's vice president of .NET Enterprise Servers, Thursday took the wraps off a version of SQL Server built for Windows CE devices.

Flessner unveiled SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition in a keynote address at the company's PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) 2000 conference, in San Francisco.

"It is a full relational database, not just something we glued to our product family," Flessner said.

The CE version weighs in at 1MB, but is capable of full SQL query processing, uses SQL grammar and enables developers to take advantage of SQL Server 2000 APIs.

SQL Server for CE, however, is built for a single-user experience, so it does not carry a log, log manager, or have to support multiple users, all of which helped trim its footprint.

On the hardware front, Symbol Technologies Inc. and Intermec Technologies Corp. said they would support the new version in their devices. The handheld database will also run on Windows CE devices, such as handheld PCs.

Microsoft said it expects the initial use of SQL Server 2000 for Windows CE to be for industrial-type handhelds in which they can replace older methods, such as clipboards in warehouses or factories.

In the long term, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant is also targeting corporate and consumer users. Flessner pointed to one potential use being someone planning a trip on a PC and then downloading this information to a handheld to bring with them on the actual trip.

Customers who buy SQL Server 2000 Developers Edition can deploy SQL Server 2000 Windows CE to an unlimited number of devices, so long as those are used as stand-alone editions and do not access a back-end SQL Server database, according to Jeff Ressler, a lead product manager at Microsoft.

If SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition users access a back-end database, however, Microsoft requires either a per-processor license or a CAL (client access license). Depending on volume, CALs cost between $US160 and $US200.

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