Microsoft Touts SQL Server 2000, DNA at TechEd

ORLANDO, Fla. -- At Microsoft Corp.’s TechEd show here, Microsoft group vice president Bob Muglia described SQL Server 2000 as "uncategorically the fastest database in the world." SQL Server 2000 is in beta release 2. Like the seven other software servers in Microsoft’s DNA (digital network architecture) family for Windows 2000, the extensively expanded database server is slated to ship in the second half of this year.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, characterized the DNA servers as key building blocks for a new generation of computing, in which the Internet will replace the PC as the dominant platform.

"We’ve broken through the barrier of what Unix did," Muglia said, referring to recent TPC-C benchmark tests. In the test results, SQL Server turned in 227,079.15 order transactions per minute (tpmC), trouncing levels set by Unix competitors. The test was conducted on SQL Server Enterprise Edition running Windows 2000 Advanced Service and using native Windows 2000 C+ transaction support. As its hardware platform for the benchmark, Microsoft chose 12 Compaq ProLiant 8500 servers, each with eight Intel Pentium III Xeon 550-MHz processors.

Beyond sheer horsepower, SQL Server 2000 will add features such as database partitioning for greater scalability, four-node failover clustering, a new built-in data mining engine, native XML, and integration with Microsoft’s upcoming XML server, BizTalk.

Database partitioning can result in better throughput and faster response time by spreading the database workload across multiple independent servers.

The data mining engine in SQL Server 2000 supports OLAP services for business decision making, along with new features for analyzing click-stream data.

Microsoft is partnering with a number of third-party toolmakers around SQL Server 2000 data mining and analysis, officials said. In March, Redmond announced the beta release of OLE DB for Data Mining, a SQL-based protocol designed to give ISVs and developers an open interface for faster integration of data mining tools and applications. OLE DB for Data Mining recently integrated the Data Mining Group’s ( Predictive Model Markup Language, an XML-based language for sharing data models among various vendor applications.

All of Microsoft’s DNA Servers are scheduled to ship this year, but some of the servers are further along than others. As this issue goes to press, SQL Server 2000 is still in Beta 2, and so is Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, an upscale iteration of the Windows 2000 operating system. Exchange Server 2000, however, is expected to ship soon.

Two DNA servers are still in Beta 1: Host Integration Server (HIS) for Windows 2000/mainframe integration, and the Internet Security & Acceleration (ISA) Server, a product that will bring together Internet firewall protection with Web caching for faster application performance. ISA Server will replace the current Proxy Server.

Three other DNA servers are in alpha testing: BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, and Applications Center, a software offering for centralized management of multiple distributed servers. Redmond expects to ship a beta release of BizTalk this summer. At TechEd, Gates announced that BizTalk will incorporate a cross-platform business process mapping capability called Orchestration, which will run on top of Microsoft’s Visio 2000 application software.