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SQL Server 2008 R2 will be generally available in May. The release date was announced on Data Platform Insider blog.
SQL Server 2008 R2 delivers several breakthrough capabilities that will enable your organization to scale database operations with confidence, improve IT and developer efficiency, and enable highly scalable and well managed Business Intelligence on a self-service basis for your users. Download the SQL Server 2008 R2 November CTP, as well as Microsoft's complete Business Intelligence platform, including the new PowerPivot for Excel 2010 add-in now.
Go to http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/R2Downloads.aspx to get more information and to download the November CTP of SQL Server 2008 R2.
In SQL Server 2008 R2, you’ll find a new self-service business intelligence (BI) capabilities and master data services, which allows DBAs to manage and audit data records as data is altered.
Self-service BI is offered by a new technology called PowerPivot (formerly code-named "Project Gemini"). PowerPivot lets users in Excel to load data sets of any size from any source. Users can then use Excel to pivot the results. A version of PowerPivot will also be offered for SharePoint Server 2010.
SQL Server 2008 R2 includes a new feature called StreamInsight, which allows high-end complex event processing and support for enterprise-grade systems with up to 256 logical processors.
Two new editions are being added:
Parallel Data Warehouse is based on the technology Microsoft acquired from DATAllegrowill be offered as appliances by partners IBM, HP, Bull and Dell, among others. Datacenter Edition and Parallel Data Warehouse will cost $57,500 per processor. Those two SKUs will not be offered with a server and CAL combo.
Bruce D. Kyle ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation