SQL Server 2005 September Community Technology Preview (CTP) has been released today by Microsoft and is available for download now.

The September CTP will be the last CTP/Beta before Microsoft releases the RTM/Gold version in November. Its available in the same five flavours as before: Enterprise, Standard, Workgroup, Express, and Developer.

Microsoft have said that much touted Database Mirroring feature, an alternative to Clustering with Log Shipping which works with physically separated hardware, will slip from the initial release. It’s expected to ship in the first half of 2006, which can be thought of as our first Service Pack for SQL Server 2005.

We’re also expecting around that time a cut-down version of SQL Server 2005 Managment Studio to replace the existing Express management tools. This should make looking after Express installs much easier, and more inline with the other versions of SQL Server.

This CTP is supposed to play nicely with VS2005 RC. If you are going to use Visual Studio with SQL Server, there is definate install order you must follow. If you have a beta of Visual Studio installed, you should try to auto-uninstall it, otherwise you could be facing a difficult uninstall process.

The September CTP itself should be a seemless upgrade (without uninstall) from the June CTP. June CTP upgrade from April’s seemed to go well for me, so I’m hoping the same can be said for what will undoubtably be a more polished product. If you are planning to uninstall your previous ctp/beta installation, there are some things you should consider first.