Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 set for May release

SQL Server 2008 R2, the latest version of Microsoft’s flagship database, will be generally available in May, the company said Tuesday.

Now in a technology preview, the release features improved server management and data compression, as well as “self-service” BI (business intelligence) capabilities.

Microsoft will also offer a pair of premium versions, Datacenter Edition and Parallel Data Warehouse. The first includes CEP (complex event processing) capabilities and the latter allows companies to build data warehouses in the hundreds of terabytes, according to Microsoft.

Per-processor pricing is US$7,499 for Standard Edition and US$28,749 for Enterprise Edition, up from US$5,999 and US$24,999 for SQL Server 2008. Processor licenses cost US$57,498 for either Datacenter Edition or Parallel Edition.

Under Microsoft’s CAL (Client Access License) program, R2 Standard Edition is US$1,849 per server with five CALs and Enterprise Edition is US$13,969 with 25 CALs. Microsoft is not offering a CAL option for Datacenter or Parallel Data Warehouse.

Meanwhile, customers who are still on the initial RTM version of SQL Server 2008 are facing a ticking clock, as Microsoft is set to stop supporting that release as of April 13. Redmond already ended support for SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 on Jan. 12.