A rose by any other name…
October 24th, 20113
A rose by any other name…
October 24th, 20113

At the PASS Summit, one of the most anticipated announcements was the release date, and marketing label, for SQL Server code-named "Denali" – the release date is "first half of 2012" (which probably means somewhere around June 25th), and the official name is SQL Server 2012. The logo was revealed on stage, and in a previous blog post, I crafted up my own quick, dirty and horrible rendition with the limited tools available to me on my laptop while sitting at the blogger table. Here is the official version:


Now, you will probably see many people continue to call it Denali in writing and conversation, both formal and casual alike. It will take a while for the new name to take hold, never mind be manually updated in Books Online, other forms of documentation, and even in GUIs and dialogs within Management Studio and other client components.

When the name was revealed, I heard some minor objections to continuing with the "year of release" theme. Some folks thought that it should be SQL 11 or SQL 12, corresponding to the actual version number (depending on whether you consider 2008 R2 a full version). Let me explain why I think the chosen naming scheme makes the most sense, at least to Microsoft.

  1. The year of release is a fantastic model when dealing with customers down the road. In 2016 it makes it so much more obvious that their software is four years old than if it was called SQL Server 11.0 or SQL Server 12.0. What does this mean? A more compelling upgrade story. "Come on, you're on SQL Server 2012!" sounds a lot more antique than "Come on, you're on SQL Server 12.0, which was released in 2012."
  2. SQL Server 2012 will likely be released in conjunction with Windows 8 Server, which will also likely be named with a 2012 suffix. In the 2000 and 2008 timeframes, this story was consistent; with Windows Server 2003 and SQL Server 2005, they got a little out of sync. If I were a betting man I'd say they'll be back in step in 2012.
  3. Be quite thankful that they're not using the previous method of just appending some release flag to an existing version, yet still trying to maintain that it is a full release. We know that in reality they didn't give it a "full release name" because there really wasn't a whole lot to it in the core engine – Unicode compression for Enterprise customers, and backup compression for Standard customers. And we also know that this horrible naming blunder causes unending confusion with customers:
    • "Is this service pack for 2008 also applicable to 2008 R2?" 
    • "Do I need to install 2008 SP3 before or after 2008 R2?

    The fun never ends. So while I joke occasionally that they should have named it…

    …I'm really not serious. I believe (or at least hope) that they've learned their lesson with that one. Though, I had hoped they'd learned their lesson with bad data type names like TIMESTAMP, yet they came out with DATETIME2 amidst very loud objections from several MVPs. And who could forget entities with multiple personality disorders, like user-defined types and DAC? They also recently announced that Crescent will be officially named "Power View" with a space, unlike PowerPivot, PowerPoint, and PowerShell, which have no spaces. Since consistency is such a priority, early in 2014, I wouldn't be too surprised to see the announcement of:

    Will I still be excited about it? Probably at least as excited as I was about SQL Server 2008 R2. And I'll leave it at that.

By: Aaron Bertrand

I am a passionate technologist with industry experience dating back to Classic ASP and SQL Server 6.5. I am a long-time Microsoft MVP, write at Simple Talk, SQLPerformance, and MSSQLTips, and have had the honor of speaking at more conferences than I can remember. In non-tech life, I am a husband, a father of two, a huge hockey and football fan, and my pronouns are he/him.

3 Responses

  1. AaronBertrand says:

    Brian, I know what you mean. Having been involved in the SQL Server 2005 beta for nearly three years, it was tough to call it anything else. Especially since, for the first two years, the guessed release date changed about once a week.
    Though, I got out of the habit quite quickly, as my bosses at the time had little idea what "Yukon" was.

  2. K. Brian Kelley says:

    It took quite a few of us to stop calling SQL Server 2005 Yukon since it had been named that for so long. I imagine SQL Server 2012 will be similar.

  3. Armando Prato says:

    Is it hot in here or is it me?