The product SQL Server from Microsoft has been released over the years in several different versions. The original version was released for the IBM PS/2 machines under OS2 environment. This MS SQL Server version was released back in 1989 and was jointly developed by Microsoft along with Ashton Tate and Sybase on the Sybase’s SQL Server product. Versions followed in 1991, 93, 95, 96 and 98. Each had improved features than the previous MS SQL Server version and they were based on the original codebase. Significant changes to the product, happened with the 2005 version. Versions that were released prior to 2005 are 99, 2000, 03 beyond the 98 version. The 93 version was released for the WNT. The product then on has been compatible with Windows operating systems. The 99 version of the SQL Server was significant too. It introduced business intelligence features (in addition to the RDMS features) to the MS SQL Server database. The 2003 version of the MSSQL Server was fully 64 bit version released for working with the newer computer systems that use the 64 bit processors and the operating systems. By the time the 2005 version came to the market, the code base of the original product was replaced by MS developed code. The MSSQL Server was completely owned by Microsoft since then and Sybase has been selling a similar product with a similar name built on their own codebase.

Quite a few useful features were built into the product SQL Server 2005 when it came to the market. An IDE or an integrated development environment was included that helped development of database applications on the SQL Server product. On the data analysis and business analysis side of the product, ETL capability, OLAP and data mining features were added.  The ETL (extract-transform-load), etc. functionality helps with loading of large amount of data into the database. OLAP and data mining functionalities helps with the BI angle of the MS SQL Server product. Data mining feature helps with discovering trends from available data. Many such trends may not be visible to the naked eye easily. XML support also came with this Microsoft SQL Server version. The T-SQL was upgraded to add support of XML (Xquery). Data mirroring introduced from MS SQL Server 2005 helps higher availability. This made manual or automatic failover operations possible.

Product release/versions introduced since 2005 were in 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014. The latest version of Microsoft SQL Server is MSSQL Server 2016. The community technology preview CTP) is already out. The general release can be expected to be in couple of months’ time. Besides the regular upgrade in version in 2010 (SQL Server 2008R2), a cloud version was released. Azure SQL database was released in 2010. Web services support also was added in this version. Version 2008 was a significant release as this introduced unstructured data support. For BI, unstructured data is something that needs to be handled most (up to 80%) of the time. “Filestream” is a type that supports unstructured and semi-structured data. Binary large objects or “BLOB” was another type that helped support multimedia data. In-memory execution available for some time helps quick execution of larger analytics applications work much faster.