SQL Server 2012 'Launch Event' Set for March 7, But Release Date Unclear
SQL Server 2012, the next generation of Microsoft's relational database management system, appears to be marching closer to product release.
Microsoft is holding a "virtual launch event" for SQL Server 2012 on March 7 (those interested can register to attend here). The event will feature keynotes by Ted Kummert, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Business Platform Division, who will discuss the company's "data evolution vision"; and Quentin Clark, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Database Systems Group, who will spotlight some of SQL Server 2012's new features.
Event attendees can also access more than 30 sessions and pose questions to Microsoft's product experts and MVPs.
Missing from the announcement of the launch event is any description of Microsoft's release-to-manufacturing (RTM) or general availability dates for SQL Server 2012, which is currently available at the release candidate testing stage. In Microsoft parlance, a "launch event" usually does not signify a product release. Microsoft more typically uses the "RTM" and "general availability" nomenclature to describe its product releases.
In the case of SQL Server 2012's predecessor, SQL Server 2008 R2, the launch event took place in April 2010, but the product was not released until the following month. In other cases, such as last year's launch of Office 365, the launch event and general availability date were the same.
When asked for clarification on whether the March 7 launch event is indeed SQL Server 2012's release date, a Microsoft spokesperson said, "[W]e have no further information to share beyond what is on the virtual launch event registration page."
Aaron Bertrand, a Microsoft MVP and a senior consultant at SQL Sentry Software, cautioned against interpreting Microsoft's launch event announcement as a release date.
"This date will not mark a release, go-live, or general availability. These launch events are marketing-centric sessions to get you excited about the product," he wrote in a blog post on Monday. "Will you be able to download Express editions from the Microsoft web site, and other SKUs from MSDN or your volume licensing portal, shortly after that? Sure. The next day? Almost certainly not."
Microsoft announced last fall that SQL Server 2012 will be released in the first half of 2012 in three versions: Standard (the most basic version), Business Intelligence (a new version tier that adds BI features on top of the Standard version) and Enterprise (the most feature-rich version).
The company detailed SQL Server 2012's licensing plan late last year. In a departure from its previous models, licensing for SQL Server 2012 will be based on cores instead of processors, with one processor containing at least four cores. Organizations running SQL Server 2012 with virtualization can either license virtual machines (VMs) based on core licenses, or they can do so based on server plus Client Access Licenses. Only organizations running the Enterprise edition with Software Assurance are eligible for the maximum virtualization (i.e., a limitless number of VMs).