Microsoft: Yukon needs more testing

Microsoft is delaying the release of its newest SQL Server database until 2005 in order to conduct additional beta tests

Microsoft today announced that its newest SQL Server database, code-named Yukon, will be delayed until 2005 while

the company conducts a third round of beta tests.

Microsoft said the database is now slated to ship sometime in the first half of 2005. Before today, the database was scheduled for release in the second half of 2004. The company has also delayed the next version of its Visual Studio developer tool set until the first half of 2005.

Customers cannot wait five years for a major release of a database product.
Noel Yuhanna
senior analystForrester Research

"One of our requirements is to run Yukon on all versions of software out there, and a third beta is part of this process," said Tom Rizzo, Microsoft's director of product management of SQL Server. "The product is close to complete, and now we're running it in production, to ensure that it meets the bar which customers have set for us."

Within the SQL Server community, the delay was perceived by some analysts as a reaction to the security concerns that have surrounded Microsoft products in recent months. In the database market, where competition is intense -- and where SQL Server has been gaining ground -- the delay could put Microsoft at a big disadvantage, said Noel Yuhanna, a senior industry analyst with Cambridge, Mass-based Forrester Research.

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"Customers cannot wait five years for a major release of a database product," Yuhanna said. "We're now looking at 2006 when customers start using Yukon, and that's way off for customers deploying mission critical applications."

Yuhanna said Microsoft likely will face complaints from customers who purchased licenses that include upgrades to the newest release. Other analysts were less critical of the delay.

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Laura DiDio, senior analyst at the Yankee Group in Boston, said delays are common for projects as large as Yukon. DiDio said the delay won't have much of an impact on most customers.

"Most customers are not in a big rush to install software," that is so recent, she said. "These products are getting a lot more complex, so a lot more has to go into it."

SQL Server beta tester Randy Dyess wasn't surprised by the new release date.

Dyess said he thought the delay was a good idea, one that most customers should appreciate.

"Most of us are tired of getting new versions of Microsoft that are full of bugs, so this is a good development," Dyess said. "A lot of us wouldn't put things in place until after the first service pack or two."

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