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Yukon: Better late than botched

Since Microsoft put the brakes (again) on its release of SQL Server 2005, code-named Yukon, DBAs and developers have a rare chance to prepare for Microsoft's latest database offering, according to SQL Server expert Greg Robidoux. Robidoux is chairman of the Professional Association for SQL Server DBA Special Interest Group (PASS DBA SIG) and the founder of Edgewood Solutions, a Merrimack, N.H.-based database consultancy that focuses on Microsoft SQL Server. He spoke with about the newest features in Yukon, and how database professionals can prepare for its eventual arrival.

Are there any positives from the delay of the Yukon release?
There will be some learning curves with the new tools being released, so the delay will give more time for beta users to evaluate the tools and features. There is a difference between playing with it and putting it into production. There will be tighter integration with the .NET framework, and there will also be integration with the Common Language Runtime (CLR). This will add more power for developers to write procedural codes, but will make things more complex. People will need to figure out how that will interact with their current systems before they let Yukon loose. And the delay will give them more time to do that.


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Has the delay of the Yukon release helped or hurt companies?
This is not the first time a delay has happened with Microsoft products. It won't affect people at all. There probably have been some projects started, with early beta-testers and third-party vendors that create applications. Those vendors will be hit harder then the typical company using SQL Server technology to support their business. Why not?
I think it's going to take some time. First, it will go into development labs. There won't be a lot of brand-new installations going on, and those who migrate will take some time. The small companies will be the ones that will jump on it first. With smaller businesses, there won't be a lot of formalized evaluation processes, so it will be easier to jump over to the new technology. The larger companies will go through their evaluation procedures much more thoroughly. Will users see any major changes?

People will need to figure out how that will interact with their current systems before they let Yukon loose. And the delay will give them more time to do that.

 Greg Robidoux site expert
From a user perspective, there won't be any real difference. They are busy with front-end applications and won't even know that anything is different. So, no, there won't be any real impact. Is Yukon worth the wait?
It's well worth the wait. New development and troubleshooting tools, and new database mirroring capabilities, make the enhancements to SQL Server exciting. That said, SQL Server 2000 right now is still very good -- and Yukon won't be something that people will jump on immediately. How can DBAs prepare for Yukon?
The next release of SQL Server is far out there. We're talking outside of 2005, so DBAs can benefit by learning how the new interface works, how the CLR works. They can get ready -- from a SQL or application perspective -- rather than a technology perspective. Since it's still a relational database, the same concepts still exist, but much more will be built in. There are scalability enhancements in the area of table range partitioning, and a parallel database consistency checker. DBAs will also like the new performance tuning and maintenance improvements. They include a database-tuning adviser and version-control support.

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