Interviews by Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P., DF/NPA, CNP, MVP
Ilya Bukshteyn: Director of Communications, SQL Server, Microsoft Corp.
This week, Stephen Ibaraki, has an exclusive interview with Ilya Bukshteyn from Microsoft Corporation.
As the Director of Communications for SQL Server, Ilya Bukshteyn manages a team responsible for advertising, customer
referencing, messaging, PR, and Web presence for the SQL Server products and technologies.
Ilya has been with Microsoft since 1994,
originally joining Microsoft Canada as a Senior Consultant with Microsoft Consulting Services, and
later moving to Microsoft’s corporate campus in Redmond as a Lead
Program Manager within the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) group. In 2000,
Ilya was a Group Program Manager with the .NET Developer Solutions Group at
Microsoft Corp., managing a team responsible for delivering technical expertise
and architectural guidance to Microsoft’s corporate customers. Ilya most
recently worked as the Director of Product Management for Windows Server,
focused on understanding the server infrastructure requirements of Microsoft’s
Ilya is a Microsoft Certified Systems
Engineer, Microsoft Certified Solution Developer, and Microsoft Certified
Q: Ilya, you have a long remarkable proven
history of successes and we are fortunate to have you do this interview. Thank
you for taking the time out of your tight schedule.
A: Stephen, always a pleasure to have the
opportunity to chat with you.
Q: What significant corporation directions
is Microsoft taking and what is the long-term strategic impact of this to
businesses and IT professionals?
If you look at Microsoft’s history we have
always focused on people. For the first few generations of computers and
software we focused on making individuals more productive. For example, we
helped people write letters more easily, perform quicker data analysis and
create better presentations, faster. In the last 10 years, we’ve extended that
focus from empowering the individual at their desktop to helping individuals
work together within a connected organization, collaboratively driving business
For the past five years, we’ve been talking
about the notion of connected software – pulling applications together into
composite applications through Web services. Typically, this is easier said
than done. Connecting disparate systems together is still very challenging.
Extracting business insight from the connected systems is more difficult and
yet critical for enhanced decision making. You can do it with what is currently
available, however, we are committed to making it easier for you.
Today, as part of helping individuals drive
business success, we are working on how to enable them to make better decisions
more quickly. Companies thrive or die based on the many daily decisions made
across their organization.
These aren’t the big decisions that the CEO
is making (which company to buy), but the decisions by which the company runs
on every day. A recent survey in Business Week cited that 77% of IT managers
believed employees had made poor decisions based on not having the right
information. So while it might sound like common sense, truly enabling everyone
across a company to make better decisions faster is not that easy. The better
job we can do to help connect people to the information and processes they need
to make those daily decisions, the more we can help organizations thrive.
Q: Rather than from a feature standpoint,
but in terms of meaningful solutions to businesses and roadmaps for success,
tell us more about the following new product releases:
SQL Server 2005
Visual Studio 2005
BizTalk Server 2006
As I mentioned, Microsoft has made significant
investments to make it easier for our customers to connect disparate systems.
BizTalk Server 2006, SQL Server 2005, and Visual Studio 2005 are key products delivering
on the promise of simplifying how you build, deploy and manage connected
systems for faster results. We’ve built these products so that they can
integrate systems easily, capture information and process consistently, and
provide a consistent, familiar user experience. We did this by adding a host of
application adapters to BizTalk Server 2006, by adding deep, easy to use
business analytics to SQL Server, and by enabling a mere-mortal developer to do
From a technical standpoint, we focused on
deep integration of these products into each other and into other Microsoft
products such as Office and Windows Server 2003. What’s the business value of
this technical achievement? Consistency— a consistent, familiar experience
driving greater productivity. Developers need to see the different worlds in a
similar way. Administrators need to learn one way to deploy and update
applications. And users need the familiar UI of Windows and Office.
If you really believe that it’s the
individuals who gain the insight, make the decisions, and take the actions,
anything you can do to reduce the overhead of gaining access to the information
Consistency isn’t limited to a familiar
user experience across your software solution. It is also important for your
software to be built on a consistent, common infrastructure that is designed to
work well together. No other vendor is working as hard as Microsoft at
integration and consistency – most leave the “last-mile” work up to highly
trained consultants and experts. The latter approach just doesn’t scale – there
aren’t enough people in the world who understand how businesses work and how
the technology works to take real business insight into the hands of every
company. These three products – BizTalk Server 2006, SQL Server 2005, and
Visual Studio 2005 – take a huge step in that direction.
Q: Can you provide case studies
illustrating the real benefits of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005, and BizTalk
Certainly; below are just three examples of
customers who are using these products in some of the world’s most demanding
mission critical application scenarios:
- Barclays Capital. Barclays PLC is a top global bank with 78K
employees and 2850 branches in 60 countries, and Barclays Capital is the
investment Division of Barclays Bank PLC, employing over 8300 staff in 22
locations around the world. Their mission critical fixed income core
trading application (government bonds - handling all trades from simple to
complex derivatives) needed to be rearchitected for higher performance and
scale and chose to upgrade from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 to
enable this, and they required high transactional throughput over 200 inserted
trades per sec and over 6000 retrieved trades per second and low latency –
under 100ms per insert and under 15 ms per retrieval with 100%
availability. Barclays chose to adopt SQL Server 2005 in order to achieve
these performance gains and found a reduction in code as well.
- Mediterranean Shipping Company. As the second largest container
ship line in the world, Mediterranean Shipping Company is highly reliant
on its database that tracks more than 15 billion transactions a year.
Enjoying annual growth of 30 percent and an ever increasing level of data
requests from its worldwide customers, MSC needed an enterprise solution
that would scale with its growth and simplify database administration. The
company upgraded its database to Microsoft® SQL Server™ 2005 running on
the Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003 Enterprise Edition operating system.
MSC has found that the move from SQL Server 2000 to SQL Server 2005 has
increased its agility to swiftly respond to customer needs, simplified
database administration, provided faster query responses, and, in
combination with Microsoft Visual Studio® 2005, given it an even better
- Xerox. Xerox Office Services helps customers around the world
manage the office equipment, software, supplies, and services that it
takes to successfully compete in today’s global marketplace. One of the
key services Xerox provides its customers is management of large numbers
of printers, copiers, and faxes. By optimizing such “print fleets” through
proprietary software, Xerox Office Services reduces the total cost of
printing for its customers. To make it even easier and more cost effective
for customers, Xerox developed a worldwide, centrally hosted, Web-based
solution. Early adoption of Microsoft® Visual Studio® 2005 made
development faster and easier, and reduced the complexity of the code
base. In addition, Microsoft SQL Server™ 2005 (64-bit) Beta contributes to
the scalability and high performance of the back-end datacenter, which
helps to deliver new levels of customer satisfaction.
Q: Which businesses are the best candidates
for these new releases and for what reasons?
Organizations of all sizes who need to
build and deliver connected systems, faster, will find a lot of value in these
new product releases. Through their tight integration with each other, SQL
Server 2005, BizTalk Server 2006, and Visual Studio 2005 will enable
organizations to be more productive and deliver faster results.
Specifically, Visual Studio 2005 offers
productive software lifecycle tools, visual designers, innovative programming
languages, and a broad product line that enables development organizations to
select tools best tailored for their skills, tasks, and circumstances. The
Visual Studio 2005 Team System expands the Visual Studio product line to
include tools that assist teams communicate and collaborate more efficiently,
while the core Visual Studio product continues its industry leadership in delivering
highly productive tools for individual developers.
Customers consistently find that Visual
Studio and its deep integration with Windows Server, BizTalk Server, and SQL
Server enables them to deliver their solutions more quickly and cost-effectively
than competing solutions. For example:
- Citigroup. This financial company is number 8 in the Fortune
100, with 200 million customers in more than 100 countries and chose the
Microsoft application platform for its Syndicated Hub Certificate management
system, which routes and mediates digitally-certificated messages between
customers and Certification Authorities. This is a new business
opportunity for Citigroup, which plans to leverage its experience on
secure transactions and relationships to create new revenue opportunities
and, in fact, Pfizer is its first major customer, using the service to
comply with clinical trial regulations.
- HMV. HMV is the largest music retailer in the UK,
with more than 200 stores and a successful online company store – www.hmv.co.uk.
HMV was keen to take advantage of the growth in digital downloading as a
music and entertainment channel and looked for a partner to build a
digital offering on highly reliable, scalable, and easy-to-use software.
After reviewing different options, HMV chose to work with Microsoft to
build the infrastructure for its new service, HMV Digital. Developed in
record time using the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and Microsoft Visual
Studio 2005 development tools, HMV Digital relies on Microsoft SQL Server 2005
for continuous availability to customers. Thanks to the Microsoft
technology, HMV Digital users have more choice in compatible music
players, subscription options, and music, than users of other digital
download services. HMV’s proven understanding and experience in the music
industry, combined with Microsoft technologies, has given it the potential
to lead the digital market.
- Siemens. Siemens, a large global manufacturer (number 21 on the
Global 100) has some 430,000 employees worldwide and US$91B in revenue and
it needed a new EAI application that would enable provisioning of IT
services and management of internal workflow such as e-mail setup and
network access via a portal interface. To do this, Siemens chose BizTalk
Server 2006, SQL Server 2005, and Visual Studio 2005 so it could quickly
deliver this new solution that integrated so many back-end systems. This
portal now serves 35,000 internal customers generate 30k requests per
month from a single portal interface and has reduced calls to Help Desk by
In addition to rapidly delivering connected
systems, customers and partners have also told us that they need to extract
business insight more broadly and deeply across their organizations. SQL Server
2005 offers a comprehensive business intelligence platform with integrated
support for end-user reporting and data analysis, enabling organizations to
make more effective business decisions. Coupled with the Business Activity
Monitoring functionality in BizTalk Server 2006, organizations can take advantage
of a single business intelligence platform that provides greater insight into
business information, as well as proactive, real-time alerts and notification
of important changes to the business. For example:
- Barnes & Noble. Barnes & Noble, the world’s largest
bookseller, operates 821 stores in 50 states. To help improve its business
operations and respond better to customer needs, the company needed new
business intelligence tools that could access information faster and
provide more detailed reports to managers. The company, which runs Oracle
databases for operational systems, decided to deploy a new data warehouse
using Microsoft SQL Server running on an HP Integrity Superdome server.
Today, daily transactional information is loaded faster, reports are
available to managers quickly for more insightful business decisions, and
the company has a long-term solution that is improving profitability and
enhancing relationships with Barnes & Noble customers.
- Hilton. Hilton International is best known for its operations
of over 400 hotels in 70 countries. As you can imagine, Hilton depends
deeply on its ability to forecast occupancy, and has a dedicated room and
catering forecasting management system to do it. This application will be
used by all the Hilton branch managers to plan and forecast the occupancy
and food inventory for each of their locations. This system is a large,
complex OLAP system with 400 users at any given time. So Hilton Chose SQL
Server 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0 for the integrated business intelligence and
because the deep integration between ASP.NET 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005
enabled their developers to be incredibly productive.
- Nestle. Nestle is the world's biggest food and beverage company
with 250,000 employees and US$70B in annual revenue and chose the
Microsoft application platform for two key projects: the Application
reporting framework for all company non-SAP data world-wide to unify and
consolidate reporting and analysis, and the registration (50GB) and
content database on the backend of their customer facing web site. Again,
the tight integration of Visual Studio 2005, BizTalk, and SQL Server
2005 proved not only a time saver,
but also enabled them to use the integrated business intelligence
capabilities of SQL Server to gather information about how their company
Q: How do you plan to engage the business
and IT leaders to get their feedback?
Over the past few years, we have embraced a
culture of transparency and openness with our customers. This transparency has
given us tremendous insight into how our best and most vocal customers use our
products and what they want us to deliver in terms of solutions now and well
into the future.
Through our employee blogs, the Community
Technology Preview process, and the Feedback Centers we’ve made available
online, we’re able to engage in a vibrant dialogue with our customers and
The end result is we were able to launch three
very high quality products that were built with a tremendous amount of input
from our customers, and these products would not be as compelling without the participation
of many of your readers.
Q: For the future, which technology trends,
do you find will have the greatest impact on history?
Well, there are really several key trends
driving our industry. The Web services technologies are maturing enabling
exciting new connected systems scenarios; Moore’s law is driving unprecedented
computing power to the edge of the network, enabling amazing new peer-to-peer
applications; and mobile devices are becoming more powerful and are truly
always connected, making mobile application development a very exciting place
Our goal at Microsoft is to offer a
comprehensive application platform to enable businesses to take advantage of
these trends and to help IT deliver more value for their business, by reducing
costs, increasing efficiency, and enabling faster delivery of solutions – all
of which drive greater business insight and innovation.
And we’re not done yet. We already know
where we need to go – where our customers want us to go. Even as we’re launching these three new products, we’re
already laying the groundwork for making it as simple to handle business
process and information as it is to post a page to a Web site today.
This is why I think it’s truly a great time
to be an IT professional, developer, or DBA!
Q: Ilya, thank you for talking with us –
and for your many insightful comments. It’s always a real pleasure to have you
do an interview.
A: Stephen, it’s been my pleasure. And on
behalf of everyone at Microsoft who has worked on the development of these
products, I want to finish up by thanking all of you who downloaded a beta or
CTP, submitted a bug or suggestion, attended one of our events, and generally
engaged with us to make these products better. Thank you for your passion and