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Over the years, Microsoft has steadily gained market share on Oracle in the relational database management system (RDBMS) space, with the possible exception of high-end, mission-critical applications.

But with the arrival of a Microsoft SQL Server 2014 offering that can run both transactional processing and analytics applications in-memory, Microsoft clearly has its sights set on the high end of the RDBMS market.

To that end, Microsoft has announced an upgrade to SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA), a free tool that makes it easier to migrate applications from Oracle to the Microsoft SQL Server 2014 database.

New features include the ability to automatically move Oracle tables into SQL Server 2014 in-memory tables, the ability to process 10,000 Oracle objects in a single migration, and better overall performance in database migration and report generation.

Tiffany Wissner, director of SQL Server marketing for Microsoft, said version 6.0 of SSMA, creates an opportunity for Microsoft partners to be at the forefront of the emerging shift to in-memory computing platforms.

At the moment, most of the hype surrounding in-memory computing has been squarely focused on the battle between Oracle and SAP. But Microsoft contends that Microsoft SQL Server 2014 sports a significantly more efficient database architecture that, for example, enables support for lock-free, row-versioning data structures and the compiling of T-SQL and queries into native code in a way that allows organizations to take advantage of in-memory computing without having to rewrite their applications.

It’s still early in terms of the shift to in-memory computing. But it’s clear from a solution provider’s perspective in the channel that this shift represents a vast opportunity that affects everything from how applications are built and deployed to the amount of physical infrastructure in the data center. As such, solution providers should start giving serious thought to how they are going to profit from what is clearly shaping up to be the next wave of enterprise computing.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.