One of the things mentioned in a keynote at the recent PASS conference was the idea that SQL Server 2008 would be a seamless upgrade.
Or maybe I misunderstood and it will seem less like an upgrade :)
I actually can't take credit for that little bit of humor. Rick Heiges, one of the PASS board members, posted that nugget last week. I thought it was a pretty good joke, so I wanted to pass it along to everyone else out there.
I've been asked by a few people if Katmai is really an upgrade or if it's just a few things bolted on to the base product. I gave my opinion in Sunday's Editorial where I mentioned the lack of a price increase. My opinion is that it seems like a point release.
Now, you could interpret the lack of a price increase as a sign that Microsoft doesn't see it was a real release but doesn't want a "Windows ME" (or Vista, ouch, hey, yikes) fiasco.
Or you could look at it like the paradigm of development for Katmai is really the same as SQL Server 2005, which it is, so there's not as much of a change in the core product from 2005 to 2008.
Or it could be that Microsoft really wants to get everyone to a .NET based platform because it's the best thing out there, will smooth development and make them popular?
Personally I think it's combination of these and a marketing ploy designed to boost the excitement of the product. There's a lot of SQL Server 2000 instances out there and getting people to upgrade to either 2005 or 2008 will cut support costs and allow Microsoft to EOL that codebase sooner. They're scheduled to end the first phase of support next April, but without a lot of upgrading taking place, that might not happen.
There's some question of whether this really is a new version. There are some cool features added in there, but they seem more like stuff that didn't make it into 2005 than a brand new set of features. The resource governer is nice, but needs a little maturity. It's too early to tell if the Declarative Management Framework will catch on, though I personally like that one. SSIS gets some maturity, but it feels like a SQL 2000 DTS v SQL Server 7 DTS, which didn't seem like an upgrade at all. SQL Server 2000 was introduced at the first PASS conference in 1999 as SQL Server 7.5, and six months later it was a new product.
There's also a cynical side of me that thinks by releasing the upgrade as SQL Server 2000 is ending support, a lot of work will be generated. There's a whole group of consultants and MVPs that will benefit from this forced upgrade. Nobody wants to run without support and get caught when things break, so a lot of billable hours will be generated as companies look to quickly move sometime in the next year to either 2005 or 2008. With no price increase, you should test on 2005 as much as you can, but also be seriously looking at 2008. No reason to give up 2 years of your support timeline for a quick move to 2005.
What what do I think about the whole process? I think they screwed things up by announcing a launch event in February when they weren't even close to finalizing the feature list and codebase of SQL Server 2008. No matter what spin is put on it, launch events involved getting the bits. Can you imagine the Halo launch last week as a huge party with everyone getting IOUs for the bits that will come in November?
This is a big mis-step by Ballmer and his marketing team. There's a lack of a price increase to go along with relatively few new features and a short timeline. Along with the poorly handled release, I can't help but wonder if this would have been handled better with Bill Gates running the company.
I think it would have.
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