In SQL Server 2005 we rewrote Enterprise Studio into what is now called Management Studio. One of the major pieces of work was the consolidation of the administration of all services (Database Services, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, and Integration Services) into a single tool. However, [Microsoft] doesn’t provide all of the functionality or tools that could ever be needed or used with SQL Server. There are many other software vendors who build upon and extend the rich functionality in SQL Server.
We find many people using SQL Server also use tools from other vendors. We believe this is wonderful and we are dedicated to supporting our software partners in whatever way we can. We’ve noticed one area of user frustration – “why do I have to launch multiple tools?” In other words, there’s the Management Studio environment and there’s the third’s tool environment. Why? That’s a great question. Technically there is no reason why other vendors couldn’t write their tool to plug-in to Management Studio. The limiting factor is that we don’t expose the necessary set of APIs to accomplish this.
This is easily changed and it’s something we want to change. We are looking at opening up Management Studio to software vendors and to customers. This will allow your favorite tool vendors to build their solution as a plug-in to Management Studio – you’ll only have to launch one management environment. In addition, any customer who has built customer tools will be able to plug their tool into Management Studio. The development and maintenance cost of such home-grown tools will come down.
We are starting to work with a group of vendors who have shown interest in this capability. But we want to be sure we’re hitting the right set. Our goal is to work with as many vendors as possible and shift them to Management Studio but we need your help. Let us know which third party tools you’re using and which ones you’d like to see surfaced with in Management Studio. It’s a very powerful position to go to a software vendor and say “look, we’ve heard from these customers (your customers) and they want your tool to surface in Management Studio.”
In addition, if you’ve built custom tools for SQL Server tell us about them. Tell us how you would envision it plugging into Management Studio.