When Applications And Databases Collide

Clint Boulton

Updated · Oct 11, 2005

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Once thought of as two separate worlds,
applications and database software are converging due to the increasingly
distributed nature of modern computing.

Bill Baker, general manager of SQL Server Business Intelligence, said the
proliferation of service-oriented architectures (SOA) and Web
services prompted his team to consider how to rearrange
the architecture of SQL Server 2005.

During his keynote at VSLive Tuesday, the engineer said the demand for
large, monolithic applications is being replaced by nimble data services of
heterogeneous natures that need to be loosely coupled to span an array of
computing devices. This is causing end-user-facing applications to mingle
with functions in the back-end database world.

“The world of the database and application programming is completely
opaque,” Baker said. “Now database designers and architects are using the
same process as the application programmers. Things that used to be in the
domain of the database programmer are falling into the domain of the
application programmer and vice versa.”

To highlight what Baker meant, SQL Server 2005 Product Manager Herain Oberoi
used an example of fictional retail company AdventureWorks.

The company had a number of surplus bicycle racks it wanted to shed, so it
turned to its marketing officials to try and find out who had a bike, how
far away from the company they lived, whether or not they were married, etc.
These are all factors used to determine the probability of whether or not a
consumer might be motivated to purchase a bike rack.

Oberoi used a data-mining feature from SQL Server 2005 in Visual Studio to
calculate the consumer information and rendered it cleanly in SQL Reporting
Services using a series of simple drag-and-drop functions.

The point was that the business intelligence functionality from SQL Server
2005 can be applied to the application layers within
Visual Studio to render clear, accurate information for business users who
don’t necessarily have a lot of programming experience.

There is no bombshell in the fact that the product will feature new business
intelligence features, a service broker that adds asynchronous functionality
to database applications, native XML Web services support, caching at the
middle tier and new security features.

But Baker said SQL Server 2005 was finally finished yesterday after
production testing with 30 to 40 customers. It is scheduled to go public
along with Visual Studio 2005 and BizTalk Server 2006 at a Nov. 7 launch
in San Francisco.

For Microsoft to move toward a distributed computing architecture across
much of its product line means the company has several fingers on the pulse
of an industry that has been evolving toward SOAs and Web services for the
last few years.

Research firms like Gartner, IDC and ZapThink say
the market for SOAs and Web services is a multi-billion-dollar industry, and
deployments continue.

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    Clint Boulton

    Clint Boulton, a senior writer at CIO, covers IT leadership, digital transformation, and the CIO role. He was a content marketer for Dell APEX. Inspire IT leaders with tales about the advantages of multi-cloud infrastructures. Dunning-Kruger bias is something that keeps IT leaders sceptical, but curious nonetheless.

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