At long last, Microsoft finally launched SQL Server 2008 R2

Some of the key enhancements in the latest release include managed self-service business intelligence (BI) for reporting and analysis, enterprise-class scalability and greater IT efficiency, and platform integration spanning the data center to the cloud, Microsoft said.

“Customers continue to receive and create increasing amounts of data, as information impacts their business and social lives. Our goal is to help customers extract value and business insight from that information, whether it is stored locally on their PC, in a datacenter or in the cloud,” said Ted Kummert, senior vice president of the Business Platform Division at Microsoft. “Today’s release of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 is a big step forward in transforming how the IT department, the software developers, and end users interact and gain insight from data.”

“SQL Server PowerPivot for Excel aligns well with our strategic plan of making it easier to empower bank staff with pervasive business intelligence,” said Ken Christie, chief financial officer, Bank of New Zealand. “Eventually we’ll promote the new SQL Server BI capabilities, including PowerPivot for SharePoint Server 2010, to a much wider audience. The BI capabilities of SQL Server 2008 R2 are a big step forward, and we know that many departments can benefit from the insights gained by using the PowerPivot tools.”

With this release Microsoft continues to focus on critical datacenter needs, enabling businesses to create a highly available infrastructure that is more secure and easier to manage. Recent benchmarks show that SQL Server 2008 R2 has raised the bar in performance on industry-standard hardware. With the introduction of SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter edition, in combination with Windows Server 2008 R2, customers can now run databases on systems with up to 256 logical processors, and move to a virtualized datacenter with Hyper-V and Live Migration support. These two releases will help customers move to a private cloud infrastructure that is highly available, consolidated and virtualized and that scales on demand.

“At PREMIER Bankcard, corporate data is one of our largest assets, so our database system priorities are performance, data quality, data security and high availability,” said Ron Van Zanten, directing officer of Business Intelligence at PREMIER Bankcard LLC. “We have over 100 SQL Server installations, including a data warehouse and OLTP and imaging systems, with a total of around 40 terabytes of managed data. These are mission-critical systems that require 24×7 availability and performance that is measured in milliseconds. The enhanced database mirroring in SQL Server 2008 R2 helps protect our data against corruption or in the event of a hardware failure. Additionally, SQL Server 2008 R2 application and multiserver management will be our path to improved productivity without needing to add DBAs, with easy setup and policy-based evaluation of our servers that help us deliver the optimum performance and availability we need.”

SQL Server 2008 R2 also represents a further commitment from Microsoft to the cloud. The power of SQL Server is extending to the cloud through Microsoft SQL Azure, which provides a consistent programming model, common capabilities and tools while offering new business opportunities, high availability, self-management and massive scale through distributed cloud data services. Microsoft’s recent preview release of the service code-named “Dallas” enables customers to have access to rich new datasets from companies such as Pitney Bowes Inc., NASA and the Associated Press Online. With the capabilities in PowerPivot for Excel, combining private and public datasets for deeper analysis and business insight is much easier. SQL Server 2008 R2 delivers a complete approach to managing, accessing and delivering information across the organization.

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