SQL Server (2011) Code Name Denali – Release Date Nov 9 2010

Microsoft just announced the release of the next version of SQL Server, code named Denali, at the PASS Summit in Seattle.  The Community Technology Preview (CTP) version, somewhat like an early alpha or beta release, is available for download now to MSDN members.  It’s available in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and it shows up as version 11.0.1103.9.

After installation, here’s what the launch screen looks like for SQL Server Management Studio, which gives away the first clue of changes:

SQL Server Denali (2011) Management Studio

SQL Server Denali (2011) Management Studio

Deep, calming breaths.  Despite the “Powered by Visual Studio” label, SSMS hasn’t changed dramatically since it was originally introduced back in SQL Server 2005.  After seeing the terrifying splash screen and logging into a server, we’re met with the traditional user interface seen below.

SQL Server Management Studio

SQL Server Management Studio

There’s one tweak that pops out right away: there’s a dark blue background around the edges of the window panes.  There’s just enough to be familiar and comforting here, but Visual Studio users will recognize the hint – the objects on this screen can be undocked!  Simply grab hold of Object Explorer or Object Explorer Details, drag them away from SSMS, and presto:



Welcome to 2010, people – we’ve finally got multi-monitor support for SQL Server Management Studio!  We can tear windows off and drag them off to different monitors.  This new Visual Studio based user interface brings some baggage with it, though – Visual Studio users will note that over some remote desktop connections, WPF-based apps can be slow or downright unusable.  Microsoft has blogged about ways to improve Visual Studio performance over RDP, but it’s still a sore point for many users.

The “Denali” branding is everywhere in this early CTP, and I’m not sure what the final release name will be – SQL Server 2011 would follow the previous naming conventions, but even the database versions on the database properties page show up as Denali:

SQL Server "Denali"

SQL Server "Denali"

Keen-eyed readers will notice a new “Containment type” option on that page, and there’s plenty of other goodies scattered through the UI that hint at improvements under the engine’s hood.  One of the more interesting to me is a new Distributed Replay trace utility to push a lot of load from different computers simultaneously, all controlled from a central computer.  Stress testing SQL Server has been painful without getting third party tools involved, and now it looks like we might have something in the box to give us a hand.

From what I’ve seen so far, though, this release mostly represents a set of incremental improvements, not a dramatic shift like we saw from SQL Server 2000 to 2005 – mostly.  There’s one change that’s got me dancing on my chair, and it deserves a separate blog post all by itself – Denali’s new High Availability & Disaster Recovery options, aka HADRON.

You can download SQL Server Denali (2011) CTP1 today for free.

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24 Comments. Leave new

  • Steven Ormrod
    November 9, 2010 9:41 am

    I think I’m learning more from your tweets and blog posts than from the SQLPASS speaker. Thanks for all the info!

  • Awesome,It’s amazing how I never realized what a pain certain things were until the moment I see the improvement. (Undockable windows etc…)

    I’m also jealous that this post came out immediately after the announcement. I’ve also just got another motivation to work toward MVP status: earlier previews for products etc…

  • virtual drumroll ….

  • From the screen shot I see that compatibility mode 80 is still there. Have you seen any other indication whether compatibility mode 80 will stay or go?

  • Excellent as usual Brent. Some clients still use Sql Server 2000 and they refused to use Sql Server 2008, I think I’m going to scare them a little bit whit this huge news. jeje

  • Excellent as usual Brent. Some clients still use Sql Server 2000 and they refused to use Sql Server 2008, I think I’m going to scare them a little bit with this huge news. jeje

  • Jeesh I read the high availiblity thing fast and thought it said HARDON. WOW.

  • Brent – Awesome stuff!

    Maybe Microsoft would listen to you if I passed a suggestion on through you?

    I think it would be nice to have the ability to define views within Object Explorer. With consolidation it would be nice to group servers based on application, for instance. Also, it would be nice to kind of break the whole server/database hierarchy and simply view your servers/databases in the view of your choice. An example might be an application that uses 4 servers around the world. It would be nice to see the application grouping and the databases associated with the application.

    Just a suggestions…

    Thanks again,


  • Denali word something like tanali means “Tanaliraman”. a person who know for his briliantness see here on wiki http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenali_Ramakrishna.

    but i not used SQL i love the way of SQL called Mysql [open-source and another database].

    well if you not foget me we meet last as help on SQL command i want to run in Mysql relate to UTF-8

  • So…here we are approachin September 2011…any futher word on when Denali (SQL 2011/2012?) will be release. I have customers wanting to budget for upgrade next year but want to know if it will even be available. 🙂