I don't know if you've heard of Gordon Bell. He is doing research on digital storage and I found an interesting interview with him. He talks about how much digital information he's captured, tells us never to delete anything, including emails, and then he says he always asks Steve Ballmer for a database, mentioning how important it is.
It's interesting that he's talking about databases, and apparently SQL Server isn't one that works for him. You'd hope that people at Microsoft Research would be looking for ways to improve SQL Server, or have ideas that could be used to improve SQL Server.
Perhaps they are, and I can understand that SQL Server doesn't meet these needs. It seems like a really I think a good search engine, with lots of meta data captured about the information you keep, would really help. But a database works as well, and perhaps there are other uses for this technology. A convergent database of sorts, maybe an evolved Sharepoint meets Live Mesh conglomeration that gathers information from multiple sources and keeps it synchronized.
It's a specialized type of database, not necessarily a transactional database. There is definitely a need for other ways to store, organize, and support data storage of other types. It makes me think that the "Beyond Relational" strategy of SQL Server 2008 (and future versions), is a good direction to move the product into.
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