Microsoft is scrambling not to be left behind in the object-relational database race, but it admitted this week that it is unlikely to have a complete offering for another two years.
As a stopgap measure, however, the software giant plans to provide developers with an Advanced Data Connector or middleware layer that enables users to access non-relational data stored in other vendor?s databases.
But the product, which has just gone into beta and is due by autumn next year, will not enable Microsoft SQL Server customers to store different data types, such as text or images, in their databases, unlike rival offerings such as Informix? Universal Server.
Karen Green, Microsoft?s SQL Server product manager, said: ?Microsoft has a different strategy to the others, and while we?ve not changed that strategy, we haven?t necessarily articulated it very well. We believe data should be stored in the most appropriate engine and it?s better to have a common interface to access it rather than provide a monolithic database. We?ll have some pieces of the strategy in place next year, but you won?t see the whole story for two years.?
She added that Microsoft was currently developing specialised database servers to store certain data such as video or geographic information, and was also deciding whether to license third party offerings.
SQL Server version 7.0, codenamed Sphinx, is unlikely to include such functionality, however. Due to go into beta by April, for release at the end of the year, Sphinx will include dynamic locking options, including row-level, multiple page or table locking, a new query processor and the ability to grow automatically rather than be tied into a given configuration.
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