Microsoft Hopes To Push SQL Sales With Value Adds

by Hinesh Jethwani    Jun 14, 2004

Microsoft’s latest strategy of offering SQL Server backup licenses for free has heated up the market once again, making database heavyweights Oracle and DB2 sit up and take notice.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Tarun Malik, product marketing manager, Microsoft India, said, “We came up with this innovative idea, keeping in mind the fact that data farms typically deploy a large number of servers today. Customer’s who have opted for our Software Assurance program, can purchase a single license for the primary database server, and use free copies of SQL for backup servers.”

Contrary to the popular belief that SQL Server can offer no competition in the large enterprise space (where Oracle and DB2 are clearly the dominant players), the database has come a long way since its inception, and is all set to take the market head on with ’Yukon’ - more commonly known as SQL Server 2005. “The beta will be released in 9-10 months time, and our ISV’s are already working on the release,” explained Malik.

So has Microsoft really established itself as a player that has the robustness and scalability to meet the demands of enterprise-scale database services? Malik countered, “Does SQL Server fit the bill for large enterprises? This question would probably have a substantial ground when we were at version 7.2. With the release of SQL Server 2000, the popular belief that SQL is not suitable for larger enterprise environments has been completely destroyed. Today corporate giants like PNB Bank, HDFC Bank, etc are users of SQL Server. We have scored major wins among IT Services companies like Infosys that develop a lot of applications using Microsoft technologies.”

Regarding competition, Malik said, “When you talk about Oracle and DB2, they probably have a large hold amongst legacy users. We fully realize the potential of the web, and XML is going to be a key strategy for every enterprise. By using SQL Server, platforms and ecosystems can be fully exploited by businesses to gain maximum leverage. Consolidation is the key today, and 64-bit systems are coming of age. In SQL Server 2000, we have bundled future business drivers - a Reporting Services Tool, and 64-bit functionality at no additional cost. In another 3-4 months, Indian enterprises will take 64-bit computing mainstream, solidifying our efforts to better SQL Server.”

The new program has been titled as ’Cold Server Backup for Disaster Recovery’ and is available only for those customers who have opted for the Microsoft Software Assurance scheme. Corporates, academic institutions, and government offices are expected to take advantage of the policy.

Effective from the beginning of this month, customers with Software Assurance for Microsoft server software, as well as related Client Access Licenses (CALs), are eligible for complimentary “cold backup” server licenses for the purpose of disaster recovery. Microsoft defines a cold server as a server that is turned off until a disaster arises, i.e. no other processing or production is allowed on the server.

According to Microsoft, no formal action needs to be taken for eligible customers to activate or use the Software Assurance benefit. Customers may use their volume licensing media to install software on their cold server backups. However, backup servers for purposes like testing, development or failovers within a cluster, do not fall under the free licensing program.

Yukon’s integration with the .NET Framework Common Language Runtime (CLR) and managed code is expected to make application coding easier for developers. However, Yukon is expected to encounter stiff resistance from IBM’s next generation database, code named Stinger. Yukon will be available in 32- and 64-bit editions, and its pricing has not been finalized.

Tags: Microsoft