Today is a very exciting day for me - SQL Server 2008 is released to manufacturing and ready for you to use in your organizations!! While Rick and Rodney, and even Pierre, may get excited about Hyper-V, as many of you know I've been a database guy for a long time. Now it's not that I was not excited when I learned that Hyper-V had RTMed - I really was. I saw Hyper-V as a great way to run SQL Server 2008 in a virtual environment in order to take full advantage of the plentiful hardware resources on today's powerful computers. In fact, I think that Hyper-V is a great solution to virtualize any server workload and for server consolidation.
There is a lot of things that SQL Server 2008 brings to the table besides the ability to run virtualized under Hyper-V. SQL Server 2008 provides the trusted, productive and intelligent Data Platform for business-critical applications. This version of SQL Server provides powerful new management capabilities such as support for policy-based management allowing you to enforce corporate policies (and good coding and database practices) across the organization, performance monitoring tools and more. To enhance security and compliance you have transparent database encryption and encrypted backups ensuring your data can't be easily read or used by those who should not have access, and auditing and change data capture so you can track who's been looking or changing what data. There are also improvements for large-scale data warehousing , support for new data types such as geospatial and enhancements to unstructured and XML data support, as well as advanced reporting and analysis services.
To learn more about the new features of SQL Server 2008 check out the free eLearning Clinic that takes you through three self-paced online courses so you can experience SQL Server 2008 yourself and find out how it fits in to your organization. You can also download and read through the SQL Server 2008 Books Online - the documentation for the product. Finally, there is also the SQL Server 2008 Learning Resources page with a wealth of podcasts, webcasts, and other resources to help you get up to speed.
Personally I like to play with products to get a real feel for how to use them as well as test them out on real data in the organization. If you are a TechNet Plus subscriber, you can download your fully functional software from the TechNet Plus Subscriber Downloads area. If you don't yet have a TechNet Plus subscription, you can start checking out SQL Server 2008 today by downloading the 120-day trial. Don't forget to also visit the SQL Server 2008 TechCenter on TechNet for even more resources, tips, tricks, and great links!
BTW, if you have a project that you think SQL Server 2008 would be great for, or are in the process of using it in your organization today, contact me through the email link on the top left corner of the blog or send me an email directly. I may be able to get you some additional help and resources in case you run across any issues along the way.