DBAs could manage hundreds of database servers at any one time thanks to a new tool, said Microsoft.

The company has demonstrated an "application and multi-server management" feature that will enable DBAs to set policies and deploy applications to their entire "SQL Server Fabric," rather than one at a time, claimed the company.

The feature will arrive with the upcoming Kilimanjaro release of SQL Server 2008. Due in 2010, Kilimanjaro will be the first version of SQL Server that can "scale out" to hundreds of servers - hence the need for the management feature.

Kilimanjaro, which some are calling SQL Server 10.5, will be aimed at large-scale data warehouses with tens or hundreds of terabytes of data. It will allow Microsoft to compete with the likes of Teradata Inc. in the high-end BI (business intelligence) space, as well as IBM and Oracle.

The management dashboard was demonstrated during a keynote speech by Microsoft's corporate vice-president for the data and storage platform division, Ted Kummert, at the Professional Association for SQL Server's annual conference.

One attendee of the demonstration, Steve Jones of SQLServerCentral.com, blogged that multi-server management "is a good idea since I've always tried to set up the same management tools and processes on each server, so that I can efficiently keep an eye on things."

Jones also wrote, "I assume some backwards compatibility, but there is a lot of work for third party vendors to do here. At least that's my guess."

Microsoft said it has more than 40 internal apps running SQL Server 2008, including a 37 TB data warehouse, and two SQL Server Analytical Services (SSAS) cubes for its Live Search service that are 1.4TB and 1.8TB, respectively.

Microsoft also announced the public availability of the first Community Technology Preview for SQL Server Data Services (SSDS), its cloud version of SQL Server.