Dan's Blog

I am Principal Program Manager at Microsoft leading the Business Platform Division's (BPD) community team. BPD includes SQL Server, SQL Azure, BizTalk, AppFabric, and other technologies and services.

Is the Slipage in the SQL2K8 Release Date a Big Deal?

Is the Slipage in the SQL2K8 Release Date a Big Deal?

  • Comments 19

A few weeks ago we annouced an adjustment to the release date for SQL2K8. Many blog postings made a big deal about this. There were several consipiracy theories floating around. I'm not really sure why.

If you spent more than a minute and thought about it the slippage isn't that big of a deal at all. SQL Server is a huge product. Anyone who has worked on a big product knows about the complexity of shipping it. The bottom line is we won't ship until we believe (until we know) the product is ready. People should focus on that positive.

Just think about the test passes we run. We support 10+ languages running on WinXP, Vista, Win2K3, Win2K8, running on x86, x64, and IA64 platforms. We support cluster and non-cluster. We support upgrade from SQL2K, SQL2K5, and earlier SQL2K8 CTPs. That's one heck of a test matrix.

We also have requirements about production deployments of pre-released builds (both internal and external to Microsoft). We have numerous teams that need to do test passes (Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Integration Services, Replication, Data Programmability and Protocols, Manageability, Database Engine, etc). Each team has to sign-off on the build.

Running a full tests pass consists of 100,000's of tests requiring 1,000's of machine hours. We have long haul stress tests which take weeks to run. Every test failure is investigated to determine if it's an environmental issue, test issue, or product issue. All of this is done to ensure we release the best possible product.

One of the sayings around MS is that people will forget if you slip the release date a few weeks or months. But they'll never forget if you release a crappy product.

Rather than ridicule you should applaud us for having the guts to hold the product until it's ready. Trust me it's not a fun or easy conversation to have. After all when you make the decision to deploy SQL Server you want to have confidence in your decision. We know your reputation and in some cases your job or company is on the line.

So be different. Stand up and appluad us for doing the right thing for our customers. That will get you a lot more attention than taking the easy route of poking fun at us!

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  • The marketing announcements are really more about timing than when they knew something. That's part of the reason I'd have a hard time living in that world. If we know something why wouldn't we tell everyone right away? They hold on to information (not withhold it) for specific reasons; usually to fit it into an overall communication plan. At least that's theory.

    I think ther are two points: 1) The fact that we slipped the release date and 2) The communication of the slip. I should have been more clear that I was addressing the first one. I have no control over the second one.

  • I commented Dan on the SA here and for some reason it wasn't showing up. I should have been more clear, the point is that there will more SA contracts expriing (depending when they are signed) that will not deliver a release upgrade for 3 years of paid service.

    But you're point is right: living in that marketing world. I would have a hard time there.

    In the end - i say what I said, if you folks are within 3 years, everyone is saying too fast, yet everyone screamed at more or a slip. Somteimes you can't win -- it's like an argument with my Greek mother: though that's a different BLOG all together now isn't it! :)

  • Hi Paul,

    It’s strange that your comments aren't showing up. I checked and I don't have any pending comments. I think SQL2K5 was a bit of an anomaly on two fronts: 1) it set the wrong bar for release content and 2) it set the wrong bar for the interval between releases. Obviously there’s stuff going on internally that I can’t discuss, but let me say that Katmai is resetting the bar on both fronts. People can view this as a “dot” release all they want but when you step back and look at what’s been added to the product it’s a solid release that can stand on its own. As for the timing, it “feels” really fast for the product group as well. For some of us we’ve felt like we’ve been in ship mode for 2 years. Yikes! I’m confident we’ll get used to the rhythm and the cycle. Whenever I learn a new Green Day or Godsmack song on the drums it always feels super fast at first. But about the 5th or 6th time it starts feeling comfortable. I just hope it doesn’t take that many releases to start feeling comfortable with the release rhythm.

    Cheer,

    Dan

  • It could be my fat fingers why they aren't showing up.

    I will tell you that SS08 is a release and all that. I'm not sure who can say it isn't. Compression, workload management, and more. Kudos to your team.

    As for Green Day --be careful -- love them, but all their music sounds the same.

    Now what's all this talk about nothing past SP2 for SS05 --- if a client is on SS05 and made that move and will stay there for a while, they really left alone on that?

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