Microsoft made several announcements at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) 2010 Summit this week, including the general availability of SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse, previously codenamed “Madison”; the CTP1 of SQL Server, codenamed “Denali;” and the release of a new cloud service, codenamed “Atlanta.”

According to the company, SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse is a scalable, high-performance appliance targeted toward large warehouses with hundreds of terabytes of data, as it is pre-architected to deliver simplicity and decreased deployment time. This release is the next-generation iteration of DATAllegro’s data warehouse appliance.

Ted Kummert, senior vice president of the Business Platform Division at Microsoft, said, “Enterprises today are facing challenges of increasing volumes of data from which they need to gain business insight rapidly.” He added: “SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse provides high-scale enterprise capabilities delivered as an appliance with choice and deployment simplicity.”

The product uses massively parallel processing (MPP) on SQL Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 and other industry-standard hardware. Microsoft currently is in partnership with HP and is looking to forge additional partnerships with France-based cluster provider Bull. The MPP architecture helps enable better scalability, more predictable performance, reduced risk and a lower cost per terabyte.

Query processing occurs within one physical instance of a database in symmetric multi-processing architecture. The CPU, memory and storage impose physical limits on speed and scale. The new release partitions large tables across multiple physical nodes, each node having a dedicated CPU, memory and storage, and each running its own instance of SQL Server in a parallel, shared architecture.

The warehousing appliance will be sold at a per-processor software price of US$38,255 in racks of 11 or 22 nodes.

Microsoft also unveiled the community technology preview (CTP) of SQL Server, codenamed “Denali.” “The appliance is an emerging industry trend,” said Microsoft General Manager Eugene Saburi. “Consumers are looking for simplicity in the way they consume technologies. We’re trying to take some of that complexity out by shipping preconfigured and pre-optimized appliances.”

The new version will feature SQL Server AlwaysOn, designed to reduce downtime and lower total cost of ownership, and a project codenamed “Crescent,” a new Web-based data visualization and reporting solution.

New capabilities for strengthened data management, performance and integration include Project Apollo, a new column-store database for increased query performance; Project Juneau, a new tool integrated into Visual Studio that unifies SQL Server and cloud SQL Azure development for database and application developers; and Data Quality Services, knowledge-driven tools that developers can use to create and maintain a Data Quality Knowledge Base.

Also released is a new cloud service that oversees SQL Server configuration, called Atlanta. The secure cloud service assists IT in avoiding configuration problems and resolving issues. The Atlanta agent and gateway require Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Silverlight 4, and can be run on recent versions of either Firefox or Internet Explorer. Atlanta is supported by most business versions of the 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2.