Yeah Baby! The launch event was fantastic; so much energy; so much excitement; so much buzz. One of the most important aspects of a launch event is the live entertainment. Remember, the Windows 95 launch? The Rolling Stones played live. That was pretty awesome (no I wasn’t there). For our launch I don’t think we could have picked a better band. Cheap Trick rocked the house! But boy are they looking old. But for that matter, so am I. I looked in the mirror this morning and found way too many grey hairs. But I digress…
Except for the suit, Ballmer’s key note was great (webcast available here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/applicationplatform/launch2005/keynote.mspx). Not too long and not too short. Don’t ask me what a too short key note is as I have no idea. The key note kicked off with Cheap Trick– it was very cool; they came back in the evening and played a full set with guitar pick throwing included. Ballmer hit all of the important points. The customer videos for HMV and Barnes and Nobel were really well done and got the message across loud and clear – SQL Server 2005 is ready for prime time and it’s ready for your most demanding applications.
I didn’t care for Prashant Sridharan demo. It tried to show too much functionality too quickly. It was very difficult to understand exactly what he was trying to show. But the Brian Goldfarb and Carolyn Holmes (student at UW) demo of VS Express and SQL Server Express was awesome! Can you imagine as a junior in college standing on stage in front of over 3,000 people, not to mention thousands of people watching the live web cast? And let’s not mention SteveB standing next to her as well. Carolyn was calm, cool and collected. She was the star of the show. Paul Otellini, CEO of Intel, came on stage. Note to Paul’s handlers, next time make sure he’s reviewed the content before coming on stage. I can’t imagine that Paul would be nervous in front of an audience so the only rational explanation of his, um, performance is that he hadn’t seen the content prior. Nonetheless it was great having Paul on stage.
The press coverage of the event was very positive. Here are links to a few of the stories:
The November issue of SQL Server Magazine (http://www.windowsitpro.com/SQLServer/Issues/IssueID/798/Index.html) is dedicated to SQL Server 2005. It provides a great overview of many of the numerous improvements made to the product. I read it on the plane ride home and let me tell you, taking a step back and looking at a consolidated list of the number of improvements that went into SQL Server 2005, well, it’s impressive. SQL Server 2005 is the most comprehensive data platform in the world.
I was talking to one of the many consulting companies that had a booth at the launch. This particular company (name withheld as I’m not familiar with their work and I don’t want this to be perceived as an endorsement) has been around since before SQL Server 7.0. They said the early demand for SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 upgrades is much much greater than the early demand for SQL Server 7.0 to SQL Server 2000. Customers see the value and want to move as quickly as they can.
Finally, If you didn’t get to attend this launch event, check out the launch web site at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/applicationplatform/launch2005/default.mspx. This site has links to many resources as well as a listing of the up coming launch events. I encourage you to attend the launch event closest to you. It’s the best way to get an overview of SQL Server 2005 and learn why you shouldn’t delay your upgrade.