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Details emerge about SQL Server 2008 R2

“Kilamanjaro” has now gone the way of the “Katmai”, but the newly dubbed SQL Server 2008 R2 is still creating some chatter among DBAs and other IT pros.

Microsoft announced at TechEd 2009 that a Community Technical Preview (CTP) for the next version of SQL Server will be available later this summer, and with that, details of the new release began to hit the Web. recently posted a feature by Ross Mistry and Shirmattie Seenarine outlining some of R2’s key enhancements, including improved scalability and consolidation tools.

One of the brand new features highlighted is Master Data Services (MDS). Microsoft group product manager Ward Ralston told folks at TechEd that MDS is designed to “let you manage data assets forcing quality rule, standards and [they] also let you define workflow around changes and manage hierarchy.”

Mistry and Seenarine provide a further explanation:

“The inaccuracies and inconsistencies of different databases can lead to wasted time, incorrect decisions, and, in some cases, revenue loss. By integrating Master Data Services with SQL Server 2008 R2, organizations can achieve data continuity and consistency throughout their enterprises by centralizing master data and, if necessary, tracking down versions of master data to a specific point in time.”

SQL Server devotees might actually know MDS by a different name – Bulldog. That was the codename for Microsoft’s master data management technology since back in 2007. Initially expected to be a SharePoint feature, MDS is now making its debut in SQL Server 2008 R2.

So is this a big deal? Well, ask Microsoft and they’ll naturally tell you yes. In a semi-recent TechNet blog post, Kirk Haselden does a pretty good job of explaining the true value of Master Data Services. Now Haseldon is actually the product manager for MDS, so he’s obviously going to be very high on it. He also has all the inside scoop, however, and clearly outlines how MDS manages the forces that impact master data. Definitely worth a read if you want the latest scoop on one of R2’s blowout features.

The official release of SQL Server 2008 R2 is expected sometime in the first half of 2010, and is planned to coincide with the launch of the latest versions of Office and SharePoint. You can register online for the CTP notification now, via Microsoft’s website.

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