Microsoft unveils new SQL, Visual Studio, BizTalk offerings

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Security, scalability and interoperability were the buzzwords of choice when Microsoft announced its latest product releases today.

The software vendor took the wraps off its SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and flashed the box of the yet-to-be-released BizTalk Server 2006.

According to Server Business Group director, Tony Ward, the announcements signified a major change in company’s approach to the market.

“We have spent an inordinate amount of time with customers and partners to get feedback and then built the products,” he said. “That sounds basic but is an important change in the way we develop software.”

For SQL 2005, this feedback had resulted in additional business intelligence tools and security features, Ward said.

“SQL server 2005 is going to allow us to get to the biggest databases that there are,” he said. “We can scale from the workgroup up to the big end of town.”

For Visual Studio 2005, improvements in reliability and an expanded toolsets meant the vendor could now target hobbyist developers up to enterprise architects, Ward said.

“BizTalk Server 2006 is all about interoperability so it is now easier and faster to build products using our applications as a platform,” he said.

Apparently customers and partners are sold on these changes too.

One recent customer is the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations. Brynten Taylor, director of technical services at the department, said the ability of SQL 2005 to scale had impressed the organisation.

“With the government’s new Welfare to Work agenda we will see our database transactions double from five million a day to 10 million by next year,” he said. “The new version of SQL allows us to scale that fast.”

With Visual Studio 2005 and SQL 2005 partner Mincom had managed to half the development time for a rewrite of its LinkOne navigational product, operations manager Ross Furlonger said.

“We’re all being squeezed to develop our products faster and these applications helped us do it and with less bugs,” he said. “Anything more that can be done about security is of great help too.”

Agreeing, Financial Network Services product manager, Dean Mathieson, said the updates had worked to resolve negative customer perception around Microsoft’s reliability.

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