Microsoft beefs up data mining in SQL Server 2000

The new data mining engine that Microsoft Corp. is building into its upcoming SQL Server 2000 database is an upgraded version of OLAP Services, a component of earlier database releases that let users and developers create online analytical processing (OLAP) applications.

Microsoft, which released a second beta-test version of SQL Server 2000 yesterday (see story), said the OLAP Services piece now includes data transformation tools that can be used to add business intelligence and data mining features to transaction processing applications running on the database. The OLAP engine is being renamed Analysis Services as part of the upgrade, the company added.

Barry Goffe, SQL Server 2000 product manager at Microsoft, said a set of data mining algorithms is being built directly into the database engine. One such algorithm, called a decision tree, can be used to incorporate a shopping cart feature into e-commerce applications, he said.

Another algorithm will let users analyze customer data based on defined characteristics such as age group, gender and income, Goffe said. The same algorithms can also be used by application developers as a foundation for features they choose to build into their own software packages, he added.

Noting that e-commerce is driving increasing demand for the complex data mining and warehousing capabilities that the Analysis Services software will address, Goffe said Microsoft's goal is to make data mining and business intelligence "easier to approach, so that a wider audience can (use those technologies)."

The final version of SQL Server 2000 is scheduled for release this summer, but Goffe said pricing has not yet been finalized.

Copyright © 2000 IDG Communications, Inc.

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