Today, Microsoft shipped the oft-delayed Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (code-named Yukon) Beta 2 and added to the product a host of previously announced features. SQL Server 2005 will ship in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, the company said, and will support the Direct Connect Architecture feature in AMD Opteron processors.
  
"The AMD Opteron processor provides SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 testers with the investment protection of outstanding overall x86 performance in both 32-bit and 64-bit computing environments," AMD Vice President Marty Seyer said. "As enterprises transition from 32- to 64-bit computing, they need the smooth migration path to 64-bit computing that AMD64 provides. We invite beta testers to experience for themselves how AMD64 with Direct Connect Architecture can help eliminate the bottlenecks inherent in a front-side bus and improve overall system performance and efficiency."
  
In addition to support for the Direct Connect Architecture, SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 will contain numerous new features, including:
   - SQL Server Management Studio--A replacement for various older SQL Server management tools, the SQL Server Management Studio will combine functionality from SQL Server Analysis Services, SQL Server Enterprise Manager, and SQL Query Analyzer into a single integrated tool.
   - New scalability and availability enhancements--Thanks to features such as Data Partitioning, Database Mirroring, Snapshot Isolation (SI), and SQL Service Broker, SQL Server 2005 will be more scalable and available than earlier versions.
   - Improved security--SQL Server 2005 will support database encryption, which helps customers protect data privacy.
   - New SQL Server Editions--In addition to the standard SQL Server editions, SQL Server 2005 will include a new Express edition, which will replace the Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) for developers, and a SQL Server 2005 Mobile Edition, which will replace SQL Server 2000 Windows CE Edition and will be designed for Pocket PCs, Tablet PCs, and Windows Mobile-based Smartphones.
   - Integrated developer tools--SQL Server 2005 will integrate closely with Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft's upcoming suite of developer tools.

SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 will be available for download to all Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) Enterprise, Professional, and Universal subscribers sometime today. For more information, visit the MSDN Web site.