Microsoft releases SP2 for SQL Server 2005

Compatibility with Windows Vista and the introduction of new features key to major new update of Microsoft's database platform.

Microsoft has released a new service pack for SQL Server 2005, introducing Vista compatibility and several new features to its flagship database package.

As well as improving and making integration with Windows Vista and Office 2007 work correctly, other new features of SP2 include: improved data mining (for use directly within Excel and Visio 2007); integration with the Report Centre in SharePoint to enable the consumption of SQL Server data within SharePoint; and Oracle support in the database's Report Builder feature.

In terms of manageability improvements, Microsoft claims it responded to user feedback by providing improvements to database maintenance plans, management reports and a new copy database wizard.

Microsoft has also expanded virtualisation use rights to allow unlimited virtual instances on servers that are fully licensed for SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition.

'SP2 realises a step forward in enabling organisations to bring the business intelligence capabilities of SQL Server 2005 directly to end users in the tools they use every day,' said Ted Kummert, vice president of Microsoft's Data and Storage Platform Division.

There was a time when Microsoft - beleaguered by accusations of poor software reliability - promised to restrict service pack updates to bug fixes and corrections rather than adding new features. But it seems this is now more honoured in the breach than the observance (see, for example, Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows XP SP2), and this service pack for Microsoft's enterprise-scale database platform follows the new pattern.

More information, and the full download, can be found on the Microsoft web site, where you can also download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP2.

SQL Server 2005 Service pack 1 was released in April 2006. SP1 included support for database mirroring and a Microsoft .NET Data provider for feeding data in to SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence systems.

Microsoft has also made a move on the standards front, when it comes to SQL Server 2005. It says that the Common Criteria evaluation of SQL Server 2005 has been submitted for approval to the German Federal Office for Information Security. 'Applying for Common Criteria certification - a procurement requirement of many governments and a preference for several industries and customers - demonstrates Microsoft's commitment to building security technology into SQL Server 2005,' states the company.

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