Report: Microsoft to bring full SQL Server database to cloud

One motivation may by competitors' recent announcements

Microsoft, which last year announced plans to bring a limited version of its SQL Server database online, now plans to offer a fully capable cloud version.

Microsoft told The Register earlier this week that it plans to incorporate as many features from its flagship database into SQL Data Services (SDS) before the cloud-computing platform upon which it will run, Windows Azure, is released.

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer told Wall Street analysts earlier this week that Azure, currently in beta form, would be finalized by the time of Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in November. Microsoft could not immediately be reached for comment.

In a follow-up posting at its SDS blog, Microsoft confirmed that at its MIX Web developer show next month, it will be "unveiling some new [SDS] features that are going to knock your socks off."

SDS was announced at MIX last spring. Still in beta, SDS was to offer a fraction of SQL Server's feature set and was aimed at developers at startups and smaller Web-focused companies with limited database experience.

This would be easier and cheaper to set up than a full, on-premises SQL Server, or even hosted version of SQL Server, which Microsoft already allowed its partners to sell.

In that scenario, users often still need to manage -- albeit remotely -- a full SQL Server database, and usually also buy SQL Server licenses and the underlying hardware.

Microsoft has acknowledged that pressure from partners and customers motivated it to enhance its upcoming Web 2.0-compliant SDS.

It may also have been motivated by cross-town cloud computing rival, Amazon.com, which offers a full version of SQL Server and Oracle 11g and MySQL via its Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) app hosting service.

Other vendors announcing cloud versions of their databases in the past year include Aster Data Systems, Vertica Systems, and even IBM.

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Eric Lai

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