This is the first entry into the new Data Platform Insider blog. The goal of this blog is to share with you all things Data - SQL Server, ADO.NET, Sync Framework, Office, etc. Microsoft offers a complete offering to help any organization manage data from birth to archival.

Why Data Platform?

Microsoft has a vision to manage any data, any place, any time. This vision includes the technologies within SQL Server but extends much beyond the database to our development tools (Visual Studio) and end-user tools (Office).

Here's an overview of the Data Platform Vision:

Today the cost of storage continues to be on an amazing trajectory; one could reasonably expect that the cost of a terabyte will be reduced from about $1000 today to $100 in 2007. Historical trends imply that in 20 years or less we will be able to store literally everything digitally, and the petabyte will be a standard measure of personal storage.

As we move from managing transactional data to pre-transactional, as with RFID and other sensors, we will face a 10-100 factor increase in data volume. As an industry we are facing an unprecedented explosion of data that we will need to manage, with the ability to organize, summarize, and prioritize all of this information becoming a key priority for IT.

Today’s workforce is also increasingly mobile and having the right data, at the right place at the right time is crucial to effectiveness. Applications will be occasionally connected, so they need sophisticated data management and synchronization capabilities to integrate with distributed systems and provide the right data at the right time.

So what does all this change mean for data management in general and how is Microsoft helping you prepare for the future?

We have a vision to meet the needs of the coming data explosion and the next generation of data-driven applications. We see you, our customers, requiring a data platform that can store and manage all of the different varieties of data, XML, email, time/calendar, file, document, spatial, etc. You will be able to do this with security enhanced rich services such as: search, query, analysis, sharing, and synchronization. You will be able to access this data from birth to archive and on any device. So your smart-phone will be able to work with a mega-service in the cloud. This is the core of our vision which we think of as Your Data, Any Place, Any Time .

We will work on this vision over the next several releases of SQL Server, which we expect to deliver on a anticipated schedule of one release approximately every 24-36 months. Our investments will be across four key themes:

Continuous Availability and Automation. As we work to evolve data management from primarily manual to self-tuning, self organizing, and self maintaining, we will push on TCO, focusing on scaling up our enterprise abilities while also dramatically increasing the level of administrative automation. As part of our commitment in this key area, we have introduced SQL Server AlwaysOn Technologies . We know that many database applications, and specifically line of business systems, must be built to ensure zero or minimum down time, and SQL Server AlwaysOn Technologies will provide customers with a full range of options for achieving and maintaining appropriate levels of application availability. In SQL Server 2005, SQL Server AlwaysOn Technologies include database mirroring, failover clustering, database snapshots, and enhanced online operations. You can certainly expect us to invest significantly in expanding this list in upcoming releases.

Beyond Relational. As the data your applications work with changes from “words and numbers” to “sights and sounds”, we will evolve our data platform to go beyond relational data, beyond OLAP, to truly support all of the digital data types of the future. We will strive to deliver the best platform for integrated storage, and advanced applications such as spatial data, while also making it dramatically easier for you to build data-driven applications, without needing to invest significant resources in bridging the gap between data and programming language data structures.

Dynamic Applications. As the applications you build and use evolve from isolated and rigid to adaptive and synchronized, we will strive to provide you with the richest and most productive platform for database development, while also delivering new synchronization capabilities to enable the rapid creation of occasionally connected applications.

End-To-End Insight. The difference between a successful business and a failed one could be the ability to act on a market trend in time, or the capacity to adjust pricing for a changing market, or maybe in the ability to listen and react to the pulse of customers, partners and employees. End-to-end Insight is all about enabling better decision making through technology to help you collect, clean, store and prepare your business data for real-time decision making. It is also about the experiences that your information workers will have when accessing, analyzing, visualizing and reporting on the data. Our goal is to help you improve your organization by delivering business insights to all your employees, leading to better, faster, and more relevant decisions.

As we face the coming data explosion, the age of the personal petabyte, of new devices, data types, and application architectures, we believe we have the right vision to meet your requirements, to help you manage Your Data, Any Place, Any Time.