Microsoft Unleashes Service Pack 2 For SQL Server 2005

Microsoft has released a significant update for its widely used SQL Server database software.

The company on Monday announced the general availability of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 — which contains a number of key enhancements to the software, including full Windows Vista and Office 2007 compatibility.

At the same time, Microsoft has also eased its licensing policy for SQL Server 2005. Owners of the Enterprise Edition are now allowed to run unlimited, virtual instances of the software on a single server. The policy is similar to Microsoft’s virtualization rules for running its software on competing platforms, such as the Apple Macintosh. Microsoft requires Vista users wanting to run the OS in virtual mode on Macs to own a premium edition of Vista.

Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2005 also includes add-ins that allow Office 2007 users to perform data mining in SQL Server directly within its Excel 2007 or Visio 2007 applications. And new SQL Server Reporting services are now directly compatible with Microsoft’s Sharepoint content management and collaboration software, allowing direct access to SQL Server reports from within Sharepoint.

The service pack also adds support for Oracle databases in the SQL Server Report Builder feature and support for Hyperion’s Essbase business intelligence software. Service Pack 2 for SQL Server 2005 is available as a free a free download from Microsoft’s Web site.

Analysis Services

  • The 2007 version of Microsoft Office requires the installation of SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services SP2 to support all its business intelligence features. If you run against an instance of Analysis Services that does not have SP2 installed, features of Microsoft Office that require SP2 will be disabled.
  • The functionality of local and session cubes has been greatly improved.
  • Performance and scalability has been improved with regard to subselects, running sum calculations, NUMA optimizations for partition processing, partition query scalability, ragged hierarchies, visual totals, ROLAP dimensions, cell writeback, many-to-many dimensions, drillthrough, semi-additive measures, unary operators, and stored procedures.
  • A warning message now appears when a user-defined hierarchy is not defined as a natural hierarchy.
  • The MDX Drilldown* functions have a new argument that lets you specify drill down on specified tuples only.
  • The SCOPE_ISOLATION property has been added to the MDX CREATE method.

    This property enables session-scoped and query-defined calculations to be resolved before calculations in the cube, rather than after.

  • Numerous functionality and performance-related improvements have been incorporated. Specifically, improvements have been made to incremental processing, usage-based aggregation design algorithms, backward and forward compatibility, parent-child security, partition query scalability, cell writeback, and the Time Intelligence Wizard.
  • The performance and functionality of the neural network viewer has been improved, and support for multiple nested tables has been added.
  • The performance of naïve bayes predictions have been improved through caching of commonly used attributes.
  • Neural network training has been improved through better utilization of memory, with sparse training data sets and better utilization of multiple threads during error computation (SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition feature).
  • Limited support for data mining viewers with local mining models has been added.
  • The redistribution of data mining viewer controls is now dependent upon ADOMD.NET.
  • The new redist file will be available in a feature pack that will ship soon after Service Pack 2.

Reporting Services

  • You can integrate a report server instance with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Microsoft Office 2007 SharePoint Server to store, secure, access, and manage report server items from a SharePoint site. Integration features are provided jointly through SP2 and a special Reporting Services Add-in that you download and install on an instance of the SharePoint technology you are using.

    The new Report Viewer Web Part is included in the Reporting Services Add-in that you install on a SharePoint technology instance. For more information about the Web Part and other integration features, see Reporting Services and SharePoint Technology Integration and Features Supported by Reporting Services in SharePoint Integration Mode.

  • In SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services (SSRS), a Select All check box was automatically added when you created an available values list for a multivalue report parameter. If you upgraded to SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1), the Select All check box was no longer available. In SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2 (SP2), the Select All check box has been restored. This feature is supported in SQL Server 2005 Express Edition SP2.

    For more information, see Breaking Changes in SQL Server 2005 Reporting Services.

  • To access a Hyperion System 9.3 BI+ Enterprise Analytics data source, Reporting Services now provides the Microsoft .NET Data Provider for Hyperion Essbase. This new data processing extension provides a graphical query de

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