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Through a round of betas, businesses are testing Microsoft's SQL Server 2005 as a way of meeting diverse sorts of needs. In this article, tech journalist Jacqueline Emigh speaks with Long & Foster's Lance Morimoto to find out how the beta is doing at a major real estate firm. For the most part, Morimoto is pleased with the potential of SQL 2005 for .NET integration and data warehousing. Yet Morimoto expresses big qualms over the future database's current capabilities for the web.

Introduction

Long & Foster, a major real estate firm based in Virginia, is now testing Microsoft's upcoming SQL Server 2005 for a trio of different purposes. Lance Morimoto, senior manager for e-commerce and software development, is confident that the new database's .NET environment will promote more efficient IT deployment. He expects that the database's built-in reporting and encryption will reduce the use of outside tools. Still, though, Morimoto worries about the ability of SQL 2005 to provide security, performance, and scalability on public web sites.

Essentially, Long & Foster helps consumers in several Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic states to buy and sell their homes, says Morimoto, who arrived on the scene more than two years ago. The $1 billion dollar firm has 2,000 employees, along with 13,000 sales associates across Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Delaware, North Carolina, and Washington, DC.

Morimoto came to Long & Foster from Bearing Point, where he worked with Oracle and IBM DB2 as well as SQL Server. In comparison, Long & Foster's current database production environment is almost entirely SQL Server 2000. The sole exception is a property management system that runs on Sybase.

"Some of the large applications used by financial firms run on Oracle or DB2. On the other hand, most of the real estate packages operated at Long & Foster work with .NET only," Morimoto explains. Moreover, Long & Foster is a Windows shop. "Just about all our applications—ERP [enterprise resource planning], PeopleSoft, Great Plains—operate on Windows."

In the current beta, Morimoto is exploring SQL 2005's functionality as a data warehousing server, as well as for .NET integration and web site support. So far, the results are decidedly mixed.

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