Today we are excited to announce the availability of the first community technology preview (CTP) of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 for MSDN and TechNet subscribers, with the CTP generally available on Wednesday, August 12th.

Building on the momentum of SQL Server 2008, “R2” improves IT efficiency by reducing the time and cost of developing and managing applications; empowers end users to make better decisions through Self-Service Business Intelligence and enables organizations to scale with confidence by providing high levels of reliability, security and scalability for business critical applications.

This public preview offers the opportunity to experience early, pre-release feature capabilities including:

  • Application and Multi-server Management
  • SMP scale up with support for up to 256 logical processors
  • Report Builder 3.0 with support for geospatial visualization

This CTP provides the first opportunity to explore some of the features of SQL Server 2008 R2 and see how it all comes together to enhance performance and scalability, enable self-service BI and improve IT and developer efficiency. The CTP process is also a great way for you to give us feedback on the new technologies. Let us know what you think or connect with the SQL Server development team

Application and Multi-server Management: Improving DBA and developer efficiency

Multi-Server-Mgmt-Dashboard-smThe number of database applications is increasing faster than DBA resources. Meanwhile hardware computing capacity is exploding, leaving a large number of servers tremendously underutilized. Combine these two trends and DBAs are left with little time to effectively maintain and optimize their environment. To help defend against these costly trends, SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP includes Application and Multi-Server Management capabilities which help DBAs proactively manage database environments at scale through centralized visibility into resource utilization and help streamline consolidation and upgrades across the application lifecycle.

New wizards enable administrators to quickly set up a multi-server management environment in minutes – no professional services required. Dashboard viewpoints provide insights into instance and application utilization based on default Policy-Based Management capacity policies.  Meanwhile the introduction of a single unit of deployment, a Data-tier Application, packages database objects with deployment requirements to help accelerate upgrades and deployments.

In the August CTP, users will be able to set up a multi-server environment, enroll instances into central management, create a Data-tier Application from existing deployments, deploy a Data-tier Application and evaluate at-a-glance utilization data.

SQL Server 2008 R2 Report Builder 3.0: Self Service Reporting

clip_image006The new release of Report Builder delivers intuitive report authoring capabilities to end users. By offering an enhanced authoring experience for business users, Report Builder benefits power users that are looking for a more sophisticated authoring environment. In addition to rich data visualization with charts and gages, Report Builder 3.0 supports for geospatial visualization (maps) to produce new insights and discoveries by combining geospatial data with business information. Additionally, end users will experience significant performance improvements, with enhanced ability to use Report Builder in server mode.  This allows for much faster report processing with caching of datasets on the report server when toggling between design and preview modes.  The download provides a stand-alone installer for Report Builder 3.0.

We’re on a roll

SQL Server 2008 R2 August CTP is only the first in a string of CTPs launching this month. In the coming weeks we’ll also launch CTPs for low latency complex event processing now called StreamInsight, the first CTP for SQL Azure Database, a limited preview of Project “Gemini” Excel and SharePoint add-ins and a private technology preview of Project Madison, Microsoft’s massively scalable data warehousing solution, with a select group of customers. Stay tuned to this page, where we’ll be announcing new CTPs as they become available.

We’re very excited about the progress toward the big launch of SQL Server 2008 R2 next year and are looking forward to your feedback to help us get there!

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Let us know what you think

Sign-up to be in the R2 Customer Evidence program, email: SQLR2EV@microsoft.com