Microsoft has announced the coming of SQL Server 2000, the latest version of the company's flagship enterprise database product. Microsoft plans to ship the product, code-named Shiloh, during the first half of 2000. SQL Server 2000 is presently in beta testing with about 750 companies. Microsoft hopes that new features that let developers build applications based on the Windows 2000 (Win2K) Distributed interNet Applications (Windows DNA) architecture will help differentiate SQL Server 2000 from its competitors, which are primarily Oracle 8i and IBM DB2. Windows DNA is the logical extension of Microsoft’s COM+ architecture. With Windows DNA, a developer can build applications based on business objects distributed over the Internet. SQL Server 2000 will incorporate extensive DNA capability and integrate heavily with Win2K's Active Directory (AD). According to Microsoft, these building blocks will give database developers and administrators more flexibility with distributed database applications. SQL Server’s AD integration will let SQL Server make its components location independent. According to Microsoft representatives, “Applications may connect to a database by looking up registered information in Active Directory, allowing administrators to change the name or location of a database without having to update the application.” The company adds, “Database administrators may use Active Directory to identify when people have installed new servers on the corporate network, when users have created new databases or OLAP cubes, or even when database software has been updated. Database administrators (DBAs) may even search in Active Directory to find what data is available for replication, without knowing the names or locations of any database servers. This integration offers enormous benefits by making it easier for DBAs and users to find, manage and share their important data assets.” Microsoft promises that SQL Server 2000 will be fully optimized for Win2K Server. The company will market a special, high-powered version of the product called SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition as a companion piece to Win2K Datacenter Server (Datacenter). The first shipping version of SQL Server Enterprise Edition will take advantage of up to 64GB of RAM, up to 32 processors, and four-node failover clustering. This exploitation of Datacenter capabilities won't require tinkering, but will function out of the box.