Hands on with SQL Server 2005

Cutting the mustard

Verdict: Five years is long enough, surely?

No, clearly not, even though (given that SQL Server 2000 was a reasonably effective enterprise-level database engine already), you might have expected Microsoft to have actually finished the 2005 version.

However, on September 14 2005, Paul Flessner, senior vice president, Microsoft, in an email to those of us beta testing SQL Server 2005, said:

I have said publicly many times that we won't ship a product until it is completely proven by customers… One of the things we learned is that we believe our Database Mirroring feature needs more time in the hands of customers before we make it generally available for production use. The feature is complete, has passed extensive internal testing, and we are committed to making it generally available in the first half of 2006. We will continue to field test the feature with customers and will release it for general use as soon as you tell us it is ready.

You can probably translate that without my help.

In addition, he said that (although Microsoft does supply database management tools for SQL Server):

We also heard from many of you that you wanted a more seamless management experience across all SQL Server 2005 editions. With this in mind, we are in the process of building a scaled down version of our SQL Server 2005 Management Studio for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. We believe this will provide you with the ability to more efficiently manage SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with increased automation and lower complexity. The final delivery of this technology will also depend on additional feedback from customers, but we anticipate that it too will be delivered in the first half of 2006.

So, with these comments in mind, do I really think that SQL Server 2005 is Enterprise ready and, even if it is, should you wait for SP1 (Service Pack 1) or even SP2?

Yes, despite these hiccoughs, I think it is ready and I have started to deploy real applications without waiting for even SP1. I have been playing with (sorry, working with) the product for two years. It is, in my opinion, a shockingly good product. I really do believe that Microsoft has taken the enterprise bit seriously.

Will it have bugs? Of course. Will there be SPs? Of course there will. Is it ready? Yes.

More information

Most of the Microsoft website seems devoted to telling you about SQLServer 2005 at present. However, if you want specific pointers try:

The SQL Server Developer Centre.

The SQL Server 2005 page.

SQL Server 2005 E-Learning.

The SQL Team site.

Sponsored: Designing and building an open ITOA architecture