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The final piece of the 2008 Launch, SQL Server 2008 (formerly known as Katmai), has finally gone Gold. For those with an MSDN subscription, you can download the bits now on subscriber downloads.

I’m not the person to ask for a full-blown tour of Katmai, but some of the features that have had my radar pinging include:

  1. Spatial Data: With native support for geographic data, SQL 2008 provides a powerful platform for storing and retrieving your data based on location.
  2. Separate Date and Time Data Types: If you’re only concerned about a date, you no longer have to store it as August 6, 2008 12:00:00.00 AM. Likewise if you’re only concerned about a given time (for instance if you want a recurring appointment to happen every day at 10:00 AM), you no longer are burdened with specifying a date in addition.
  3. Table Value Parameters: Table value parameters allow you to pass a table of data into a stored procedure. While you could emulate the same effect using XML in SQL Server 2005, native support for passing in tabular data means your stored procedures do not have to deal with parsing XML or complicated XQuery.
  4. HierarchyID: This is an interesting beast. It is a system defined SQL-CLR data type that can be used as a column type in your table. Basically the HierarchyID allows you to store a hierarchical relationship between rows in your table. (Look for an update to the Employees tables in the Northwind samples to demonstrate how to take advantage of this new feature).

There are a number of other new features in SQL Server 2008 and we haven’t even left the realm of the database engine itself. Reporting Services (including a server that does not rely on IIS), Analysis Services, and Integration Services have all received significant upgrades.

I guess this gives me a nice toy to play with while waiting for the release of .NET 3.5/VS 2008 SP1.

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