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Kevin Kline

Are We There Yet, Mom?

You've probably heard by now that Microsoft just announced at TechEd 2009 the next release of SQL Server, called SQL Server 2008 R2, will have a focused set of features around BI self-service and some enhancements in multi-server management.  SQLMag has a nice summary here:  These features implement some very nice increments in functionality across the board, while continuing to advance SQL Server's lead in the BI space.

However, as I've chatted with other SQL Server experts and MVPs and our biggest customers, I'm still left with a question mark hovering over my head, kind'a like the little kid in the back of the family minivan.  Are we there yet, mom? What's on my mind?  Well, when I look at Oracle, I can see a strong and obvious strategy.  That is, inch the database forward, while acquiring significant products and companies to advance the overall service offering and customer base.  Almost every singal thing Oracle does advances that latter goal of acquisition, with support with the first activity.

When I look at Microsoft's announcement for SQL Server 2008 R2, I see a mish-mash of features.  But where's the overall strategy?  Are we there yet, mom? More thoughts along these lines keep popping up, like those danged dandelions in my front yard.  Hey, I love MS Word. (Ok, love might be too strong a word, since I'll gripe all night about the huge productive losses I had while transitioning to the ribbon.) But MS Word suffers from a weird sort of feature overkill, especially if all you want to do is write a quick document.  Do you know how the majority of new feature requests for MS Word are resolved?  Your feature request is already in the product, you just couldn't find it or figure it out.  Is that where we're headed with SQL Server?  Just add more and more until the thing is brimming with features?  But how many of those features are fast, easy, and utterly reliable?  Are we there yet, mom? Feature addition has been Sybase's strategy for their DBMS too, and look where they're at.  It has to be about more than simple features.  I think Oracle has it right that it's more about the customer and the application running on the DBMS than a shotgun blast of features that might or might not stick.

However, the SQL Server team made some good decisions a while back that can pay dividends soon.  The decision to go with short release cycles can definitely move the ball downfield and accomplish a lot, in small digestable bites.  Assuming (yes, I said ASSUMING and you know what that says about you and me) they're driving towards a well-enunciated goal with a strong strategy.  Are we there yet, mom?



Published Wednesday, May 13, 2009 1:04 PM by KKline
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GrumpyOldDBA said:

I agree 100%, although I know nothing about oracle so can't compare there. I have to say I actually found the word 2007 ribbon a vast improvement and it made life easier for me - maybe we need a sql ribbon as it's sometimes quite hard to remember where things are in Management Studio ( assuming you know they are there in the first place )

May 14, 2009 11:17 AM

Jimmy May said:

Kevin, your Word anecdote is intriguing!

Grumpy, I love your work.  Your contributions to the community are invaluable.  Yet I cannot endorse an SSMS Ribbon.

Let's resolve Kevin's quandary via another approach.

May 14, 2009 3:37 PM

Kevin Kline said:

Before I jump onto the Goals and Themeword meme started by my buddy, Thomas LaRock ( blog | twitter ),

January 5, 2010 11:42 PM

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About KKline

Kevin Kline is a well-known database industry expert, author, and speaker. Kevin is a long-time Microsoft MVP and was one of the founders of PASS,

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