Microsoft Announces SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse
Feb. 23, 2009
New reference architectures from Bull, Dell and HP make it faster, easier, and more affordable for companies to deploy enterprise-class data warehousing projects.

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 23, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. today announced SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, a new set of reference architectures for data warehousing that will help eliminate many of the barriers companies traditionally face while creating data warehouses. For as little as $13,000 per terabyte, SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse gives customers immediate access to pretested, preconfigured industry-standard hardware from partners Bull, Dell and HP that increases Microsoft SQL Server 2008 scalability up to 32 terabytes, and helps reduce the time and effort necessary to deploy mission-critical projects. In addition, Microsoft is partnering with systems integrators Avanade, Cognizant Technology Solutions, HP and Hitachi Consulting Corp. to provide solution templates specially tailored for the new reference architectures.

“In this difficult economic climate, organizations relying on their data to inform critical business decisions need an enterprise data platform that provides access to huge volumes of data at a low cost,” said Stuart Frost, general manager, SQL Server Data Warehousing at Microsoft. “With SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse, we are offering customers choices in reference configurations and technical guidance to create a customized, highly scalable enterprise-class data warehouse solution that fits their needs and their budget.”

Unlike some data warehouse appliances available today, Microsoft’s unique delivery model allows customers more flexibility and choice by letting them select industry-standard hardware that conforms to their existing infrastructure environments. The new configurations use symmetric multiprocessing architectures to build enterprise data warehouses on a standard platform, providing better capacity, price and same or better performance as comparable systems right out of the box.

According to HP, “For organizations to be competitive in today’s global marketplace, they need affordable, easy-to-deploy technology solutions that are powerful and secure,” said Mike Gill, vice president, Industry Standard Servers, HP. “Industry-leading HP ProLiant servers running the Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Fast Track Data Warehouse bring the benefits of data warehousing to a broader customer base than ever before.”

Avanade, Cognizant, HP and Hitachi Consulting are also offering solution templates and technical guidance to help customers create customized architectures for their industry-specific data warehouse needs. With a choice of hardware configurations, customers can apply industry best practices to help achieve much higher scalability and performance, thereby reducing the total cost of ownership for an enterprise-class data warehouse.

Enterprise-Class Data Warehousing for Less

Through balanced configurations, the new reference architectures are designed to optimize all hardware components, delivering up to 200 MB per second per central processing unit core. SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse is designed to deliver increased performance and linear scalability out of the box with minimal tuning required, thereby saving IT departments more time and money.

“We are happy to provide our reference architectures, solution templates and technical best practices to SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse. Our customers can now benefit from increased data warehouse performance with SQL Server 2008,” said Bruno Pinna, corporate marketing director of Bull. “With our expertise, companies can be more reactive to continuous business changes and deploy new business analytics applications in a much faster and safer way.”

SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse is the next milestone for customers following Microsoft’s road map for enterprise business intelligence and data warehousing. By upgrading today to the new reference architectures with SQL Server 2008, SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse offers a seamless transition to customers planning to make the leap to the massive scalability and powerful business intelligence capabilities of a project code-named “Madison.” “Madison” will integrate SQL Server 2008 with the massively parallel processing technologies acquired with DATAllegro Inc. to enable companies to configure data warehouses into the hundreds of terabytes.

“With Microsoft SQL Server 2008 running on Dell PowerEdge servers, these new data warehousing solutions are able to scale from several terabytes to multi-tens of terabytes,” said Judy Chavis, director of Software Marketing and Business Development at Dell. “Soon, they’ll be able to scale even higher. This industry-standard solution gives customers a cost-effective alternative to other proprietary business intelligence solutions available today.”

Providing a Powerful End-to-End Data Platform

Since the launch of SQL Server 2008 in August 2008, there has been overwhelming customer and partner excitement for the integrated data management and business intelligence data platform it provides. With over 1.5 million downloads of SQL Server 2008 to date and more than 2,500 partners already providing solutions on the platform, SQL Server 2008 is now the fastest-growing relational database in the world, according to some industry analysts.

SQL Server 2008 has also received recognition as a critical component in Microsoft’s acclaimed business intelligence platform. Gartner Inc. recently positioned Microsoft as a Leader in the Magic Quadrant for BI Platforms, 2008,1 and in the Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems, 2008.2

Microsoft was also recently positioned as a Leader in “The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Data Warehousing Platforms, Q1 2009” (Forrester Research Inc., February 2009). In this report, Forrester notes that “expanded scalability, flexibility, and affordability are the dominant requirements in today’s budget-stressed enterprise data warehouse (EDW) platforms market.”

According to Microsoft, with SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse customers can combine all three with easy deployment and the robust business intelligence capabilities in SQL Server 2008 to implement an enterprise-class data warehouse.

About the Magic Quadrant

The Gartner Magic Quadrants are copyrighted 2008 and 2009 by Gartner Inc., and are reused with permission. The Magic Quadrant is a graphical representation of a marketplace at and for a specific time period. It depicts Gartner’s analysis of how certain vendors measure against criteria for that marketplace, as defined by Gartner. Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in the Magic Quadrant, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors placed in the Leaders quadrant. The Magic Quadrant is intended solely as a research tool, and is not meant to be a specific guide to action. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Pricing and Availability

SQL Server Fast Track Data Warehouse hardware and reference architectures are available from Bull, Dell and HP starting at $13,000 per terabyte. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/fasttrack or at http://bull.com, http://dell.com, http://hp.com. More information about purchasing a SQL Server 2008 license is available at http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/how-to-buy.aspx.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

1 Gartner Inc., “Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms, 2008,” by James Richardson, Kurt Schlegel, Rita L. Sallam and Bill Hostmann, Jan. 16, 2009

2 Gartner Inc., “Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems, 2008,” by Donald Feinberg and Mark Beyer, Dec. 23, 2008

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