Want to hear the latest on SQL Server 2005 from the big cheese? Want to get a go-live-license for SQL Serever 2005 Express Edition?

I want to share with you a letter from Paul Flessner that has been sent to 'Testers of SQL Server 2005'.  Why?  Because if this is news to you, you are not a tester and if you’re reading this you are most likely interested in what’s going on with SQL Server 2005 behind the scene visible to you.


As Paul’s letter explains, there isn’t going to be a beta 3 for SQL Server 2005.  This fact has caused some concern inside Microsoft and I’m sure outside as well – hopefully the letter will help explain the reason why and allay any concerns you may have.


Now, I’m banking on this not being a confidential letter, otherwise I’m in trouble!  What I am banking on is the fact that this letter invites customers to apply for a SQL Server Express Edition go-live license and many of the ‘SQL Server Testers’ are most likely larger customers who can afford MSDN licenses e.t.c and, as a consequence, are customers least likely to want to employ SQL Server Express in a live production scenario.


Therefore, if you haven’t seen this letter, you may actually be more interested in applying for a go-live-license than the original recipients of Paul’s missive.  If you are interested in such a license please visit http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/vs2005/golive/


If this all news to you, then you may be interested to know SQL Server Express, when released, will be totally free for redistribution with any application you may choose to write against it


For more info please see previous SQL Server 2005 blogs.


Here’s Paul’s letter-----------------


SQL Server 2005 Testers -


Many partners and customers are readying themselves for the next generation of Microsoft products which includes SQL Server 2005 and Visual Studio 2005. Building on the success of SQL Server 2000, SQL Server 2005 promises to be the biggest release of SQL Server. When I say biggest, I'm not only talking about functionality but also biggest in terms of breakthroughs in performance, scalability, and availability. This release will also deliver unprecedented integration between Visual Studio 2005, .NET Framework and SQL Server 2005 as well as tight integration with other Windows Server System servers to deliver new levels of manageability and TCO across your entire environment. We have worked diligently to bring this technology to you, and we are confident that it will allow you to make the most of your existing skills and technologies to increase productivity and efficiency.


Throughout the development process, we've been listening to, responding to, and incorporating the feedback of our thousands of beta customers and partners. This feedback has enabled us to make steady updates to the SQL Server 2005 code base. As part of the company's efforts to work more closely with you during the product development cycle, the SQL Server team introduced the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) in October 2004. To date, more than 400,000 of you have downloaded the CTPs and many of you have provided feedback. This response has been exceptional and beyond what we expected. As a result of the success of this program, we have made the decision to adopt CTPs for the remainder of the SQL Server 2005 development cycle and will release the newest version, SQL Server 2005 April CTP, today.


This decision is really a testament to where we are in the development of SQL Server 2005. The quality of each CTP is improving and each CTP from this point forward will only get better. For this reason, we encourage you to download and test the April CTP. Because the SQL Server 2005 April CTP is feature complete, we also encourage partners, especially ISVs, to start testing against this version to tune their applications for SQL Server 2005. While we expect to deliver additional CTPs that will include final quality modifications and more pre-RTM deployments by customers, we suggest starting your evaluations of SQL Server 2005 with the April CTP.


We're making great progress on SQL Server 2005, and we're on track to deliver in the second half of 2005. The delivery of SQL Server 2005 will depend on many factors including customer and partner feedback and successful external customer and internal Microsoft deployments. To date, we have seven customers that have put the SQL Server 2005 CTPs into production. These companies are already seeing performance, management and productivity gains compared with SQL Server 2000. SQL Server has the largest and most diverse beta program of all the mainstream database vendors and we expect over 30 customers to be in production when we release the product. Customers like Koehler Paper, MetaLife, and Summit Partners, are using and testing SQL Server 2005 today. Read their case studies to learn more.


Internally, Microsoft also continues to deploy SQL Server 2005 with more than 65 applications in production today. In addition to running the full SAP, payroll, expense, tax data warehouse, and document repository systems, Microsoft now has more than 10 instances of SQL Server 2005 that are storing multiple terabytes of data. These SQL Server 2005 installations have been responsible for processing more than 7 billion, yes billion, transactions against our SAP system SQL Server 2005 database which includes processing close to 3 million invoices and over 1.6 million sales orders.

As part of our April CTP, we are also announcing a new go-live license for SQL Server 2005 Express Edition. Customers and partners who want to run our Express Edition product in production today can use this license to start their deployments. For the full version of SQL Server 2005, we are taking nominations for the Technology Adoption Program (TAP). TAP engages a select group of early adopters who are committed to working closely with Microsoft on testing and deploying SQL Server 2005. If you are interested in nominating yourself for this program, please complete the TAP program registration form.


We have heard praise from analysts and early adopters on the progress we've made with SQL Server 2005, and we expect this confidence to grow as we near the final stages of the development process.

We encourage you to test the release and provide your feedback and visit the SQL Server home page often to get the latest information including white papers, benchmarks, etc. We are excited for the coming months and believe you are the key to the success of SQL Server 2005.


Paul Flessner

Senior Vice President

Microsoft Corporation




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