On Friday, Microsoft issued its second Community Technology Preview (CTP) release of Microsoft SQL Server 2005 and gave public testers a new beta release--SQL Server 2005 Express Manager, a new, free database-management tool. The SQL Server 2005 CTP is available to all Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and Microsoft BetaPlace subscribers, the company says.
  
"We're encouraged by the success of the CTP program for SQL Server 2005," Microsoft Senior Vice President Paul Flessner, who oversees the SQL Server business, said. "The response has been impressive, and we are excited to be able to offer another update to our customers. We're seeing that more and more people are moving to SQL Server because of its low cost, enterprise data-management capabilities, and integrated business intelligence (BI). We're confident that programs like the CTP will help us build a better product and encourage other customers to make the switch to SQL Server."
  
The second SQL Server 2005 CTP is an interim build of Microsoft's next-generation database server product. New features include 64-bit versions of the SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services and SQL Server 2005 Integration Services technologies, which build on the 64-bit support that Microsoft previously added to the core database engine. SQL Server 2005 Express Manager is vastly simpler than the SQL Enterprise Manager that Microsoft provided with earlier versions of SQL Server and is built on Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. You can use it to manage SQL Server 2000, Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Desktop Engine (MSDE) 2000, and SQL Server 2005 Developer and Express Editions databases on local and remote computers, according to Microsoft. In addition to MSDN and BetaPlace, you can download the SQL Server 2005 Express Manager CTP directly from the Microsoft Web site.