This week in Seattle, at its first-ever Microsoft Business Intelligence Conference, Microsoft announced the first broad details about the next version of SQL Server, code-named Katmai. Katmai will deliver increased functionality over its predecessor, SQL Server 2005, and help businesses develop applications that span from the desktop to the largest enterprise, Microsoft said.

"We developed SQL Server with the goal of providing a data management and analysis platform for all companies regardless of size or budget," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Ted Kummert, who oversees the company's Data and Storage Platform Division. "With the release of 'Katmai,' we’ll take the next step on our data platform vision by delivering a comprehensive and integrated business intelligence solution. Expanding the usability of data across businesses will give customers more value for their IT investments."

Although more Katmai details will be provided during a keynote address tomorrow, Microsoft noted today that the next SQL Server version will be scalable, reliable, and a suitable platform for "the most demanding applications." Katmai will include pervasive and powerful business intelligence capabilities, work seamlessly with Microsoft Office 2007 applications and servers, and provide data warehousing facilities. For developers, Katmai will provide device synchronization capabilities and an IDE that integrates with Visual Studio. Broadly, Katmai will work with more than just relational data: Microsoft specifically pointed out the server's document, geographic information, and XML compatibilities.

According to Microsoft, Katmai is due sometime in 2008. I'll provide more information as it arrives.