Microsoft has a database offering for quite some time. Their product, the Microsoft SQL Server, is a RDBMS (relational database management system). In the early days of the PC (PS/2 and OS/2 combo) era Microsoft SQL Server product was offered in collaboration with Ashton Tate back and Sybase. However, from 2005 Microsoft provides SQL Server product completely independetly. Initially Microsoft SQL Server was the database product with which a large number of clients could connect and transact database operations. After that a number of versions have followed. Latest being the SQL Server 2016.
By the time Microsoft SQL Server 2000 came out, it was extended to the 64 bit architecture of the Intel processors. Supporting tools such as an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), an ETL (Extract-Transform-Load), etc. were added. A Reporting Server has been added to the Microsoft SQL Server portfolio as has the OLAP and data mining functionalities enhancing the analysis services. OLAP or the on-line analytical processing capabilities provide data analysis feature on multiple dimensions. Trend analysis and data modeling capabilities also become available to the Microsoft SQL Server. This feature helps discover patterns from large data sets where these patterns may not be easily discernable.
There have been several major versions released for Microsoft SQL Server since the SQL Server 2005. Next versions of the product came in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and now in 2016. While the general naming pattern of the Microsoft SQL Server is SQL Server 2005 (year of release), the version released in 2010 was named SQL Server 2008 R2.
The 2005 version of the Microsoft SQL Server added the support of XML data in addition to the relational data. While Microsoft SQL Server supports an extended form of SQL, the T-SQL, XQuery based query feature was added to support the xml data. This version added some extensions to the T-SQL itself so that XQuery queries could be embedded in the T-SQL queries. Data mirroring support added in this Microsoft SQL Server 2005 helps implement high availability solutions with support of automatic or manual fail-over configuration. Support for working with web services was introduced in this version too.
Version 2008 introduced support for structured and unstructured data. Support for multimedia data in the form of BLOB (binary large objects) and “filestream” type provided support for semi-structured and unstructured data. This Microsoft SQL Server version also has support for spatial or location based data. Full text search features got integrated in this version of the Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Later Microsoft SQL Server kept introducing features that make it suitable for handling larger data analytics. In-memory execution feature already exists in the latest Microsoft SQL Server product that make execution of large data analytics quite quick.
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