Well, it's that time of the year when we look back at the past year and compile our top highlights of the year. Everyone loves a good Top 10 list so here's mine (in no particular order): 

  1. SQL Server 2008 announcement: We unveiled details on the upcoming version of SQL Server at the BI Conference. It had been a year and half since the release of SQL Server 2005 and there were lots of questions about this next release and when it would come out. Its been quite a fun journey since the announcement and we're on track to deliver the capabilities within the timeframe that we committed to.
  2. SQL Server in leadership quadrant for Data Warehousing: This is a great proof point of the enterprise credibility that SQL Server has achieved in high-end scenarios. Not only do we have the functionality to support multi-terabyte Data Warehouses but the real proof is our customers who are deploying big SQL Server databases. And SQL Server 2008 will deliver even greater innovations to help customers access, manage and utilize business data.
  3. Office 2007: Office is a very important product and this release delivers substantial new  functionality that takes advantage of the Business Intelligence capabilities in SQL Server. The Excel PivotTables connect natively to SQL Server Analysis Services and expose much of the functionality of the server with great performance. There's Excel Services for web delivery of spreadsheets and of course Microsoft Office SharePoint Server which delivers rich portal, collaboration and content management capabilities to our overall BI offering.
  4. PerformancePoint Server: PerformancePoint marks our entry into the Performance Management space and extends the overall Microsoft BI solution with Monitoring, Analytics and Planning capabilities. The customer, partner and industry interest for PerformancePoint Server has been incredible. We're off to a good start.
  5. 1st ever MS BI conference: Wow, what an event. For a first event, we had over 2500 attendees who came to Seattle to learn more about Microsoft's BI offering. There was lots of buzz during the event, the sessions were great and the customer/partner interactions were awesome.
  6. 4 year without critical security vulnerability: This is a great achievement for SQL Server and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that we deliver the most secure products on the market. And what makes this achievement even more amazing is comparing it to Oracle's track record. Oracle in the same timeframe has had over 100 critical security vulnerabilities. Who's Unbreakable now....
  7. Microsoft Sync Framework: We announced and delivered the 1st CTP of the Microsoft Sync Framework which extends our Data Platform by delivering a comprehensive synchronization platform enabling collaboration and offline for applications, services and devices with support for any data type, any data store, any transfer protocol, and network topology.
     
  8. Visual Studio 2008 RTM & ADO.NET Entity Framework: VS2008 RTM'ed this past year. This is an exciting release for developers and specifically for anyone working with data with the introduction of LINQ. LINQ makes it easier for developers to work with data (XML, datasets, SQL Server, Entities). We also released beta 3 of the ADO.NET Entity Framework simplifying data access in applications by enabling developers to create a customizable conceptual model for data from any source and easily map it to business requirements.
  9. Introduction of TPC-E: TPC-E is the successor to the venerable, but now 15 year old, TPC-C benchmark. Its hard to create new benchmarks and build credibility for them but I strongly believe that this is a much better benchmark for OLTP benchmark than TPC-C (which was very useful in its time)
  10. SQL Server 2005 SP2: SP2 was a big service pack for SQL Server. Not only did it include bug fixes and performance improvements this SP included a lot of new capabilities around BI, compression, interop and manageability. Also, this SP enabled Server 2005 customers to take advantage of the enhancements within Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system. Great way to start the year.

Well, those were my highlights for the past year. Of course, there were many more achievements this past year to be proud of but these ones stand out for me. Wishing all of you a Happy New Year and looking forward to many more big milestones in 2008.