No more delays: SQL Server 2008 released to manufacturing

With two of Microsoft Windows Server product lines, due for release on November 12, completely dependent upon this product's having been released to manufacturing, SQL Server 2008 is at last on its way.

Microsoft officially announced its release to manufacturing of SQL Server 2008 this afternoon. MSDN and TechNet subscribers will find the product officially available for download in the Servers section, BetaNews has confirmed. And the company's Web site for the product has officially been updated.

The primary documentation for SQL Server 2008 has been made available independently of the product, and may be downloaded now. Meanwhile, the SQL Server Developer Center -- which was very active during the product's extended beta period -- appeared to be offline as of Wednesday afternoon.

Among the new SQL Server features admins have been looking forward to deploying in their production environments is the newly integrated SharePoint Integrated mode, which reduces its dependency on a separate SharePoint server in order to share analysis and reports with users through Web services. SS 2008 also integrates the necessary Web server tools to be independent of Internet Information Server as well, meaning it can be its own Web server.

But also, as even some who've been testing SS 2008 are just now discovering, the product replaces its old SQLCMD command-line access tool with SQLPS, a packaging of PowerShell with new SQL Server functionality as an add-on. Alternately, admins may snap the PowerShell functionality into their existing installations.

"SQLPS.exe is a Minishell (also called 'custom shell'). It is a form of pre-packaging of PowerShell functionality, and it is available to anyone who wants to do this ([using the] make-shell [cmdlet])," writes SS 2008 technical lead Michiel Wories in a recent blog post. "It is regular PowerShell, albeit with limitations that the PowerShell team decided to impose on it - it is a 'closed' shell, which doesn't allow adding other snap-ins."

The new snap-in makes databases "crawlable" using familiar command aliases. Imagine if your schema were a disk directory, and your tables were folders. You can cd to a table, and run a dir on the table's contents. Then you could delete individual records as though they were files. Furthermore, you could write scripts that enable such functionality for repair purposes automatically, using PowerShell's full repertoire of cmdlets.

Microsoft also recently updated its documentation for SQL Server PowerShell.

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