It's been five years since DM Review interviewed Bill Baker, general manager of business intelligence for SQL server at Microsoft. Nigh onto his 10th anniversary at Microsoft, Baker has held pretty much the same position throughout his tenure, though the sands have never stopped shifting under his feet. Prohibited from certain project work early on by a non-compete clause from his former bosses at Oracle, Baker honed his understanding of middleware and data access components until he could return to his twin passions of databases and business intelligence. As time marched on, a small group at Microsoft - much smaller than its industry competitors - moved from iconoclast to the mainstream. SQL 7.0 gave way to SQL Server 2000 and the BI industry, rising on a wider tide, came into its own.

That was a long time ago. Now it's prime time once again. As this article lands on desks, SQL Server 2005 is landing on loading docks with dozens of early customers already in production. Soon to follow will be more than 200 local, regional and international launch events for SQL as well as the new VisualStudio 2005 and BizTalk 2006 server.

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