In support of yesterday's launch of SQL Server 2005, Microsoft also released a feature pack of tools and applications to help users make the transition from earlier versions of its database server.
The feature pack includes a fistful of tools that allow features from SQL Server 2005 to run on SQL Server 2000 databases and for functionality from SQL Server 2000 to work on the 2005 version.
Among the most significant backwards-compatibility features are a Data Transformation Services (DTS) package. It's a design tool for editing and maintaining existing DTS packages until they can be upgraded to the SQL Server 2005 format and the DTS 2000 runtime library.
DTS is the primary administration and development tool for SQL Server 2000. Many enterprises have a significant investment in DTS packages, and this feature allows them to continue to use those packages.
Other backwards-compatibility components provide versions of SQL Server 2000 tools that will work on SQL Server 2005. A management objects collection replaces the distributed management objects environment from SQL Server 2000 and extends its functionality.
An updated Operations Manager 2005 management pack for SQL Server 2005 allows you to monitor both the 2005 and 2000 versions at the enterprise level. And, an Analysis Services provider application and data mining viewer controls allow SQL Server 2005 analysis services to run on SQL Server 2000 databases.
Interoperability enhancements included in the feature pack permit SQL Server to run with SAP and IBM DB2 data, and a Java Database Connectivity driver allows access to SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005 from any Java application, application server or Java-enabled applet.
In the mobile edition, which is also part of the pack, users can develop SQL Server applications for mobile devices.
For developers, the pack includes the latest version of Microsoft Core XML Services (MSXML) 6.0, the native XML processing stack and reporting enhancements for Visual Web Developer Express.
The SQL Server 2005 Upgrade Advisor -- a version of which has been available with previous Community Technology Previews of SQL Server -- was also updated for the final release. This tool analyzes existing SQL Server 7 and SQL Server 2000 instances to identify places where changes in configurations or features may cause problems when upgrading to SQL Server 2005. It's available both as a separate download and as part of the feature pack.