Microsoft 'Yukon' Hits Beta

After months of anticipation, Microsoft’s Yukon has reached its summit. A select group of testers have been granted the first glimpse at the software giant’s next generation SQL technology. The download appears exclusively on the private BetaPlace Website – although bits and pieces have already shown up on the Web.

A Microsoft spokesperson told BetaNews, "The first private beta for Yukon was released yesterday to 500 customers and partners." The initial 500 are just the tip of the iceberg, "Microsoft will release the beta to another 1,500 by the end of the month," said the spokesperson.

Yukon is a capstone release for Redmond. Its "storage kernel" will enhance the storage faculties of Windows Longhorn; codename for the upcoming operating system which is set to debut in the 2005/06 timeframe.


A main objective of Yukon is to permit a multitude of users to access to back-end databases to perform data analysis and create business reports. Other features inclusive to Yukon include: special software to generate reports, enhanced data mining, and a broad base of support for crossing between new data formats - including XML.

Keeping with the XML mantra, the upcoming Office 2003 release also is slated to support XML extensions.

One enhancement available from competing databases vendors such as Oracle is dubbed clustering. This feature will not make it into Yukon, but will be taken into consideration for future product versions. Microsoft’s holdover is the so-called continuous availability features – aimed at reducing database downtime.

"Grid" or clustering technology harnesses processing power for equitable distribution between isolated hardware. This principle has begun to take off in CAD, research, and financial computing applications.

"It's indeed ironic that SQL Server--the child of Microsoft, the distributed operating system company--is casting itself in the role of champion of the scale-up database at the same time that Oracle, and to a lesser degree IBM, are increasingly championing distributed databases," said Gordon Haff, a senior analyst at Illuminata.

"Time will tell whether SQL Server is indeed growing up or just fighting a database war with the weapons of a decade past," mused Haff.

First reported by Mary Jo Foley’s Microsoft Watch, announcements concerning new fault-tolerance, disaster-recovery and management tools are coming later in the year. Microsoft has thus far refused to elaborate, and failed to respond when queried by BetaNews today.

A special version of Visual Studio.Net due in 2004, code-named Whidbey draws close ties to Yukon, and will be its front end for developers.

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