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Redmond Developer magazine describes key features for developers with SQL Server 2008 R2 in SQL Server 2008 R2 for the Developer. Don Kiely explains that the R2 release leaves the core engine untouched from the previous version.
He then describes the new SQL Server editions with the R2 release: Datacenter for the biggest and most heavily used enterprise databases, and Parallel Data Warehouse with massively parallel processing to support intensively used data warehouses.
Of the many new features in R2, the article goes into detail on these features:
Probably the most dramatic and visually striking new feature in SQL Server 2008 R2 is PowerPivot for Excel and for SharePoint. PowerPivot provides self-service business intelligence (BI) so end users can create and manipulate data, letting them slice, dice, analyze, and share data and reports. For more information, see PowerPivot.
Key Reporting Services enhancements that Kiely mentions:
For more details, see What's New (Reporting Services) in MSDN Books Online.
For features and product descriptions, white papers, and to download trial versions, see SQL Server 2008 R2.
The MSDN Development Center for SQL Server 2008 R2 provides links to get started, virtual labs, and best practices.
Free online developer training course for SQL Server 2008 R2 on Channel 9 includes features for SQL Server 2008. The course includes modules on:
Join Microsoft Platform Ready for free developer support and marketing assistance for your SQL Server 2008 R2 applications.
Bruce D. Kyle ISV Architect Evangelist | Microsoft Corporation