05 Jul 2011
Microsoft SQL Server 2008 – The latest version.
The latest version of SQL Server is SQL Server 2008. It was released on August 6, 2008. It offers an excellent mix of performance, reliability, ease of administration, and new architectural options, yet enables the developer or DBA to control minute details when desired. SQL Server 2008 opens several new possibilities for designing more scalable and powerful systems. Microsoft announced that the data management became self-tuning, self organizing, and self maintaining with the development of SQL Server Always On technologies. It provides near-zero downtime. SQL Server 2008 also includes support for structured and semi-structured data, including digital media formats for pictures, audio, video and other multimedia data.
SQL Server 2008 can store different data types : XML, email, time/calendar, file, document, spatial, etc as well as perform search, query, analysis, sharing, and synchronization across all data types.
Other new data types include specialized date and time types and a Spatial data type for location-dependent data. Better support for unstructured and semi-structured data is provided using the new FILESTREAM data type, which can be used to reference any file stored on the file system. Structured data and metadata about the file is stored in SQL Server database, whereas the unstructured component is stored in the file system. SQL Server 2008 also natively supports hierarchical data, and includes T-SQL constructs to directly deal with them, without using recursive queries.
The Full-Text Search functionality has been integrated with the database engine. According to a Microsoft technical article, this simplifies management and improves performance.
Spatial data will be stored in two types. A "Flat Earth" (GEOMETRY or planar) data type represents geospatial data which has been projected from its native, spherical, coordinate system into a plane. A "Round Earth" data type (GEOGRAPHY) uses an ellipsoidal model in which the Earth is defined as a single continuous entity which does not suffer from the singularities such as the international dateline, poles, or map projection zone "edges".
SQL Server includes better compression features, which also helps in improving scalability. It enhanced the indexing algorithms and introduced the notion of filtered indexes. It also includes Resource Governor that allows reserving resources for certain users or workflows. It also includes capabilities for transparent encryption of data (TDE) as well as compression of backups.
SQL Server 2008 supports the ADO.NET Entity Framework and the reporting tools, replication, and data definition will be built around the Entity Data Model.
SQL Server Reporting Services will gain charting capabilities from the integration of the data visualization products.
New SQL Server Administration tools include the Declarative Management Framework which allows configuring policies and constraints, on the entire database or certain tables, declaratively. The version of SQL Server Management Studio included with SQL Server 2008 supports IntelliSense for SQL queries against a SQL Server 2008 Database Engine. SQL Server 2008 also makes the databases available via Windows PowerShell providers and management functionality available as Cmdlets, so that the server and all the running instances can be managed from Windows PowerShell.