Yesterday, Microsoft announced the public availability of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Community Technology Preview (CTP). In addition to the availability of the SP1 CTP, the SQL Server team is introducing a new transparent customer collaboration model, which will extend the CTP process to service packs, re-engineer the development process for more predictability and release isolated security updates. This new model is just one example of how SQL Server is committed to the team’s Software Re-engineering Initiative and is delivering more predictable product releases and service packs based on customer feedback.

With the release of the SP1 CTP, the final RTM of SP1 is scheduled for April. It will include the customer-approved Database Mirroring, SQL Server Management Studio Express and other feature fixes and adjustments. 

Another part of this exciting offering is SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services.  SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services is a new, free version of SQL Server Express that includes the capability to run Reporting Services reports and includes full text search capabilities. Also included is SQL Server Management Studio Express (SSMSE) a slightly scaled-down version of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) tuned for the Express Edition.  SQL Server Express Edition with Advanced Services also includes SP1.

I wanted to wait until the link was up and running before I posted about the availability of these exciting enhancementsto SQL Server 2005, hence the sligth delay.  The CTP (including SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services) is now available for download here:  http://www.microsoft.com/sql/ctp_sp1.mspx.