Much Ado About Microsoft's New SQL Server

Microsoft Research had a big hand in the development of SQL Server 2005, which will go live next Monday.
When Microsoft unveils its SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk Server 2006 products next week, it shouldn't be seen so much as the release of three separate products but as the fruit of constant collaboration between Microsoft's research team and the product specialists.

The company said that a so-called ''technology-transfer team'' helped bridge the research and product development functions within Microsoft to make the products a reality.

SQL Server 2005 is a classic example of a product buoyed by Microsoft Research.

For example, the Machine Learning and Applied Statistics Group within Microsoft Research has created graphical models for data analysis and visualization. The group is behind the Decision Trees, Clustering, Sequential Clustering and Time Series features that will appear in SQL Server 2005.

David Heckerman, research area manager at Microsoft, said some of the technologies in SQL Server 2005 began in 1992 as pure research. Certain SQL Server 2005 utilities are based on graphical modeling and Bayesian statistical methods.

''There's a predictive component with using Time Series,'' Heckerman said in a statement. ''You can look at business data, at sales data, and extend the patterns into the future. Database tools traditionally have been used to store and look at data, but with SQL Server 2005, users can look into the future.''

Microsoft Research also supplied indexed view-matching technology for SQL Server 2005.

Indexed viewing improves database query processing by storing previous requests and analyzing the stored queries when a new query is issued to see if a stored one can supply some or all of the requested data. That process is significantly faster than if each query is treated as completely new.

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