SQL Server 2008 is scheduled for release in 2008 and promises to deliver an array of new and exciting benefits to both developers and IT Pros alike.

The list below highlights some of the new and improved capabilities planned for SQL Server 2008. Enjoy!

Enterprise Data Platform

  • Transparent data encryption. Enables encryption of an entire database, data files, and log files, without the need for application changes.
  • Hot Add CPU. Scale your databases by dynamically adding CPU resources to supported hardware platforms without requiring application downtime.
  • Policy-based management. New policy-based management architecture.
  • Extensible key management. New encryption and key management with support for third-party key management and hardware security module (HSM) products.
  • Performance data collection. New centralized data repository stores performance data and new reporting and monitoring tools provide performance insights to administrators.
  • Data compression. Improved data compression stores data more effectively and provides significant performance improvements for heavy I/O workloads.
  • Streamlined installation. New installation, setup, and configuration architecture separates the installation of physical bits on the hardware from the configuration of the SQL Server enabling custom installation configurations to be used.
  • Resource Governor. Define resource limits and priorities for different workloads enabling concurrent workloads to provide consistent performance.
  • Predictable query performance. Greater query performance, stability, and predictability with new functionality to lock down query plans.
  • Backup compression. Reduces storage required to keep backups online and enables backups to run significantly faster.
  • Occasionally connected systems (OCS). New unified synchronization support across applications, data stores, and data types with SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server Compact 3.5.
  • Partitioned table parallelism. Improved performance on large partitioned tables.
  • Star join query optimizations. Improved query performance for common data warehouse scenarios by recognizing data warehouse join patterns.

Beyond Relational

  • New spatial data types. New vector-based spatial data types that conform to industry spatial standards allowing location-aware applications to be developed.
  • New date and time data types. DATE (date-only type), TIME (time-only type), DATETIMEOFFSET (time zone aware DATETIME type), and DATETIME2 (new DATETIME type with larger fractional seconds and year range than DATETIME).
  • New HIERARCHYID system type. HIERARCHYID is a CLR UDT that provides methods for creating and operating on values that represent hierarchy nodes.
  • New FILESTREAM data type. Allows binary data to be stored in an NTFS file system while maintaining transactional consistency with the database.
  • Integrated Full-Text Search. Perform high-speed text searches on large text columns.
  • Large user-defined types (UDTs). 8 KB limit for UDTs has been removed.

Dynamic Development

  • Sparse columns. Provides very efficient management of empty data in a database by enabling NULL data to consume no physical space.
  • CLR integration and ADO.NET object services. Developers can program against a database using CLR objects that are managed by ADO.NET.
  • Change data capture. Captures and maintains changes to data and schema across tables.
  • MERGE SQL statement. Enables developers to handle common tasks such as checking if a row exists before executing an insert or update.
  • GROUPING SETS. Enables multiple groupings to be defined in the same query, producing a single result set that is equivalent to a UNION ALL of differently grouped rows.

Pervasive Insight

  • New design of SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) Pipeline. Improved scalability of runtime into multiple processors allows Data Integration packages to scale more effectively.
  • Integration Services Persistent Lookups. Improved performance of large table lookups.
  • Block computations. Provides a significant improvement in processing performance, enabling users to increase the hierarchy depth and computation complexity.
  • New MOLAP-enabled writeback capabilities. Removes the need to query ROLAP partitions and provides users with enhanced writeback scenarios from within analytical applications.
  • Scalable reporting. Improved reporting engine and tools for creating, processing, formatting, and viewing reports with extensible architecture that enable easy integration of reporting services.
  • Internet report deployment. Effortlessly deploy reports over the Internet.
  • Manage reporting infrastructure. Control server behavior with memory management, infrastructure consolidation, and easier configuration through a centralized store and API.
  • Improved scale-out configuration. New support for managing multiple report servers.
  • Built-in forms authentication. Built-in forms authentication enables users to easily switch between Windows and Forms.
  • Report Server application embedding. Report Server application embedding enables the URLs in reports and subscriptions to point back to front-end applications.
  • Microsoft Office integration. New Microsoft Office rendering enables users to consume reports directly from within Microsoft Word, and the existing Microsoft Excel® renderer has been greatly enhanced to support nested data regions and sub-reports as well as merged cell improvements.


Developers and organizations can count on SQL Server 2008 to deliver a powerful set of capabilities to solve the growing needs of managing data in the enterprise, on desktops, and on mobile devices. As an integrated part of the Microsoft Data Platform vision, SQL Server 2008 is the most comprehensive release of Microsoft SQL Server to date. For more information, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/sql/prodinfo/futureversion/default.mspx