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Microsoft plans science of appliance for next SQL Server

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Start your clocks and count the delays: Microsoft has named the first half of 2010 as the window for the next version of SQL Server - codenamed Kilimanjaro.

Microsoft has also said it's working on an server appliance with hardware giants Bull, Dell, EMC, Hewlett-Packard, and Unisys that'll use a subset of technology in Kilimanjaro that came with DATAllegro and Zoomix - acquired this summer - for large scale and detailed analysis.

The thrust follows HP's announcement that it's going into business with Microsoft's database, BI, and applications rival Oracle to deliver a massive, parallel, high-speed server, and storage running on Linux. Oracle has promised servers on "other" platforms, suggesting there's something in the works on Windows.

Microsoft said it plans early access Community Technology Previews (CTPs) of its server-appliance - codenamed Madison - in the next 12 months, but did not give exact dates. Kilimanjaro CTPs are also planed for the next year - again without dates.

The new version of SQL Server will be focused on business intelligence, the company said while making the announcement at its second BI conference in Redmond, Washington. Kilimanjaro will provide "self-service reporting" and "self-service analysis" through something called Project Gemini.

Microsoft promised Project Gemini would deliver self-service analysis through "deep integration" with Microsoft's SharePoint Server and Excel.

It'll be Microsoft's work with the big-iron partners in servers and storage that'll prove interesting at least in the short term. Microsoft promised Madison would use technology from the DATAllegro acquisition to build the "most demanding data warehouses and workloads" serving hundreds of terabytes and thousands of concurrent users. Zoomix would provide "rich data capabilities."

Microsoft teaming up with some names well versed in the kind of big-iron engineering this has traditionally provided the underpinning of such systems - names such as Bull and Unisys. However, Microsoft - as ever - has promised to deliver a package based on SQL Server's reputation for affordability and ease-of-use.

Microsoft said it wants to build an ecosystem around Madison and promised new data warehouse reference configurations for the current version of SQL Server - released this year following massive delays - from its hardware partners. ®

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