Microsoft has released the first beta of SQL Server 7.0, code-named "Sphinx," but also announced that the final release date for the product has slipped to mid-1998.

Microsoft is planning a second beta in late summer and a widespread beta in early 1998. According to Doug Leland, product marketing manager for SQL Server, the final release has slipped accordingly.

SQL Server 7.0 is designed to be more scalable that SQL Server 6.x and will offer a faster query processor as well as a dynamic disk space allocation feature. Major user interface advancements are expected as well.

"We've rewritten a lot of the components; in some cases, we've re-architected the product," Leland said.