Is SQL2K8 Really a dot Release

Over the past year or so the question "is Katmai really a dot release" has come up numerous times. Some people have also refered to it as the equivalent of a Windows Server R2 release (sort of like a super Service Pack). The justification for this characterization is often the same: they use the delta of features between SQL2K and SQL2K5 as the basis for earning the title major release. And the delta between SQL2K5 and SQL2K8 isn't as big. Is this the correct criteria? I think not.

If you remember back to when SQL2K5 was under development there was constant criticism about the time it was taking to release the product as well as criticism that there were too many features in the release. People clamored for us to cut features and get the product out the door. They said the product was simply too big and too complex. Furthermore they said nobody could possibly use all of the new features and that it created very complex upgrade scenarios.

When we set out working on what would become SQL2K8 we knew that we wanted to hit a release date under three years from the release date of SQL2K5. There was a lot of speculation and theories for why this timeline. The bottom line is the team had to prove that we knew how to develop software on a given timeline. This also meant that we had to be very deliberate in the feature set. We had to find the perfect balance between the feature set and the risk to the schedule.

A mail recently when out to the Group/Lead Program Managers containing the final rough feature list.  And let me tell you there's no doubt my mind the bump in the major version number is well deserved. Is the list as big as the SQL2K5 list? No. Nor should it be. Here's a little taste of what's in SQL2K8:

  • Policy-Based Management
  • Management/performance data collection
  • extended events
  • database mirroring enhancements
  • Query plan freezing
  • resource governor
  • transparent data encryption
  • external key management
  • Hot add CPU
  • partition aligned index views
  • backup compression
  • Table valued parameters
  • DDL trigger enhacements
  • T-SQL programming enhancements
  • T-SQL Intellisense
  • Entity data model
  • LINQ
  • Visual entity designer
  • Service Broker enhacements
  • SQLCLR enhacements
  • Multi-server query
  • Configuration servers
  • Hierarchy ID
  • Large UDTs
  • Date/Time data type
  • Improved XML support
  • Geography data type
  • Geometry data type
  • Filestream
  • Analysis Services scalable backup
  • Analysis Services dimension design
  • Star join query optimization
  • MERGE SQL statement
  • Change data capture
  • Analysis Services MDX enhacements
  • Analysis Services Personalization extensions
  • Analysis Services aggregation designer
  • Analysis Services Data Mining enhanced validation
  • Analysis Services Data Mining and enhanced structures
  • Analysis Services MOLAP writeback
  • Analysis Services dynamic management views
  • Integration Services C# scripting
  • Integration Services persistent look-ups
  • Integration Services data profiling
  • Integration Services import/export wizard enhancements
  • Integration Services Improved connectivity
  • Reporting Services IIS agnostic report deployments
  • Reporting Services report builder enhancements
  • Reporting Services core engine enhacements
  • Improved installation
  • And there's still more to come in the next CTP...

For details on these features go here. Would you expect to see a feature list like this for a dot release? I certainly don't think so. Is SQL2K8 worthy of major release status? Absolutely!