The latest CTP of SQL Server 2008 is available for download at the Microsoft Connect website, here.

The list of new features in this release is pretty impressive:

  • Progress-Based Management: policy violation alerts, policy import, running and evaluating multiple policies simultaneously, and more.
  • Performance Data Collection: enhancements, many based on CTP customer feedback, include reporting and performance improvements as well as viewing query plans.
  • Intellisense: expanded T-SQL coverage and a new  colorization system.
  • New setup architecture for SQL Server 2008 failover cluster scenarios.
  • All actions audited.
  • Integrated Full-Text Search
  • Filtered Indexes: A filtered index is an optimized non-clustered index, especially suited to cover queries that select from a well-defined subset of data in a table. It uses a filter predicate (WHERE clause) to index a portion of rows in the table. A well-designed filtered index can improve query performance, reduce index maintenance costs, and reduce index storage costs compared with regular/full-table indexes.
  • Sparse columns: This feature provides a highly efficient way of managing empty data in a database by enabling NULL data to consume no physical space. For example, sparse columns allows object models that typically contain numerous null values to be stored in a SQL Server 2008 database without experiencing large space costs. This feature also introduces the notion of a ‘Column Set’ that allows logical grouping of all sparse columns in a table. Column Set simplifies the generic insert and update of a group of sparse columns in a table.
  • Data Compression: Data compression enables data to be stored more efficiently to reduce the storage requirements for your database. Data compression reduces the storage and manageability cost of your database and provides significant performance improvements for IO bound workloads such as data warehousing.
  • .. and more!

Go get your copy today and help us create the most performant, reliable, feature-rich release of SQL Server ever!

     -wp

Thanks to Maria Balsamo of the SQL team for much of the information in this post.