Microsoft announced a new version of SQL Server, code-named Katmai, this morning at the company’s business intelligence conference in Seattle.
It’s the first time the company has talked publicly about the replacement for SQL Server 2005, a product that helped the company’s Server and Tools Division post operating income of $979 million in the third quarter.
SQL Server is used by businesses for managing and analyzing business data.
The Katmai version is scheduled to be available in 2008.
Update: Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division, said at the conference that Katmai is being designed to allow enterprises to get access to data “anytime, any place.”
The new release will also emphasize security; policy-based management; storage and management of unstructured data, such as documents; and improved application development.
The company is also acquiring SoftArtisans, which describes itself as “a leading developer of Microsoft Office format reporting and enterprise file transfer software.”
(Second update: It turns out Raikes misspoke. Microsoft is not acquiring SoftArtisans, but rather one of its products, Office Writer.)
Raikes said Microsoft is pushing to make business intelligence software cheaper and more accessible to a broader range of workers, not just the “high priests of data.”
“Our vision is to bring the powerful capabilities of BI to all the people who do information work,” Raikes said at the conference, attended by about 2,600 people.
Raikes said Microsoft is making it easier for workers to use business intelligence in the familiar interface of its Office productivity software.
He said the company plans to change the economics of the business and lower the price per user.
He said that a related product, PerformancePoint Server 2007, will be released “later this summer.”