I attended a session yesterday here at TechEd 2007 in Orlando – DAT 201, SQL Server 2008 “Katmai” Overview with SQL Server General Manager David Campbel presenting. Although there was very little detail information, it was quite a good session, as it presented a nice survey-level overview of the features coming in SQL Server 2008.
The development process for Katmai was structured differently from previous SQL Server releases. Instead of each team building their own feature in isolation, development was structured around “themes” and within each theme there are scenarios, where each scenario encompasses a group of features. Also, a single feature can help complete multiple scenarios.
The theme that is most relevant to business intelligence developers is the “Pervasive insight” theme. This theme has three scenarios, with quite a few features included. Here’s the deal:
Scenario: Integrate all data into enterprise data warehouse
- Enterprise partitioning parallelism
- Enhanced DW query optimizations
- Data compression
- Resource governor
- Persistent lookups
- Change data capture – find those changed records since last point
- MERGE (UPSERT!!) SQL Statement (how will this affect SCDs?)
- Data profiling
Scenario: Reach all users with a scalable BI platform
- Scalable report engine
- Scale out analysis
- Subspace computations
- Streamlined analysis tools
- Scalable backup tools
- New cube design tools
- Best practice design alerts
- IIS agnostic report deployment – Host SSRS w/o IIS
Scenario: Empower every user with actionable insight
- New Word rendering
- Improved Excel rendering
- Report builder enhancements
- Rich formatted data
- Enhanced data visualization
- MOPLAP enhanced writeback
- And there was one more feature bullet here, but they moved on too quickly before I could write it down.
Sadly, I do not yet have the information to drill down on many of these feature bullets, but hopefully there is enough here to whet your appetite as it has whetted mine…
 I’ve heard other product groups use the term “pillar” to describe similar high-level meta-feature groupings.