I've been hanging out with Ed Katibah in San Diego at the ESRI User Conference and not in the whole two days we stood in our circular booth did he mention this was going down tonight, but whatever Ed! Actually, the booth was so busy, we spent all of about 5 minutes catching up. I digress. After waiting through CTPs, SQL Server 2008 is finally locked down and released to manufacturing. The press release is out - Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2008. Why do I care? Better question, why should you care? Because, there's are significant spatial index, algorithms and support included natively in the release (also included in SQL Server Express) - see the Spatial Data page for details. What happens when you connect a spatial database with Virtual Earth? You get Microsoft Geospatial. If you're interested in ripping out your current spatial database and mapping system, I'm not sure there's a better time to spend a few R&D hours to investigate the possibilities and cost savings associated with this release. Hopefully, we'll see Ed putting something on his blog. At the very least, Johannes Kebeck has some great examples of Virtual Earth + SQL Server. I suppose I should too. Or, check out the SQL Server Community pages on Technet.
Here are the key dates to be aware of: