Microsoft unwraps flagship database SQL Server 2005

Microsoft Corp. Monday officially released its flagship database SQL Server 2005, a product the company said is now truly ready for big businesses.

Microsoft officials are hoping that the Enterprise edition of SQL Server 2005 -- the successor to the 5-year-old SQL Server 2000 -- can erode the dominance of Oracle Corp.'s 10g database and IBM's DB2.

At its San Francisco launch event, Microsoft also released its Visual Studio 2005 development tool and announced its forthcoming data integration software, BizTalk Server 2006. But the focus was on SQL Server 2005, and Microsoft officials trotted out a set of Fortune 500 corporations that have already adopted the software for their most mission-critical applications.

Among them was Barnes & Noble Inc., which handles an inventory of 7.3 million items sold at 821 bookstores worldwide using a 3TB data warehouse on a 64-bit version of SQL Server 2005. 'The raw performance, as well as the price-over-performance ratio, was incredible,' said Chris Troia, the bookseller's CIO. He said Barnes & Noble runs more than 1,200 SQL Server databases.

Other companies on hand for the event included Nasdaq Stock Market Inc. and music retailer HMV Group PLC, which built its online music store using Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005. Nasdaq replaced aging Tandem mainframes used to disseminate market trade data with a SQL Server 2005 system that handles 5,000 transactions per second, 100,000 queries a day and can scale up to 8 million new rows of data per day, according to Ken Richmond, vice-president of engineering for the stock exchange.

Richmond praised the integration of the latest editions of Visual Studio and SQL Server, which he said increased the productivity of his programmers by allowing them to write database applications in the easier C# or Visual Basic code rather than the increasingly esoteric T-SQL language.