This past week we released SQL Server 2008 R2 to manufacturing. This is a huge accomplishment for the team and our customers are anxious to get their hands on it. I came across one blog post that expressed disappointment that the only thing they could download was the evaluation edition – they couldn’t wait to get their hands on a fully licensed edition, which will be available shortly.
Rather than go into a laundry list of what’s in the release here are links to a few of the RTM stories:
Even though I’m a Manageability Guy and there are some terrific manageability features in R2 the most important feature, in my opinion, is PowerPivot. PowerPivot is going to change everything about business intelligence for IT and information workers. Early in my career as an IT Pro I designed a system that used Excel Pivot Tables that were loaded with massive volumes of sales data. Unfortunately I had to have tens of Pivot Tables spread out across an almost equal number of Excel Workbooks. Since there were so many files and tables I had to build a monthly process for refreshing the data. Plus if one of the users wanted a new view of the data I had to craft it by hand for them. It’s an understatement to say this was a pain. If I had PowerPivot back then it would have greatly simplified my life and better supported the needs of my users. As you read up on PowerPivot you’re going to think it’s too good to be true, take it for a test drive to convince yourself how truly remarkable this technology is and how it’ll transform the way you think about BI.
One would think that when you say SQL 2008 R2 is RTM (or as it says on the launch web site, SQL 2008 R2 'is here'), it would mean that it would be available to MSDN and Technet subscribers. To find that EVAL and Express editions are all there is to be had is a bit more than disappointing, it's frustrating - why am I paying for Technet again?
Kevin, at the end of the day we had a choice to make and we went for it in the hopes that our closest customers (TechNet/MSDN subscribers) would understand. This allowed us to give the broadest customer base a chance to see the product. Keep in mind that MSDN/TechNet downloads will be available May 3, 2010. This is still ahead of Volume License downloads and the retail and OEM channels. With respect to your TechNet subscription there are several benefits including access to Microsoft professional support and access to eLearning courses.
Again, Dan - speaking as a paying customer with software assurance upgrades, a technet subscriber, and a solution developer with multiple MSDN licenses throughout our org, the choices you make are often frustrating to us. And I think you have your priorities mixed up if you're putting out evaluation versions of your software before you provide it to those who are using it, supporting it, and developing on it. My 2 cents.
Thank you again for your feedback. Customer input & feedback is important and valued by us. I will take it back to the team for discussion.