First, the bad news - Microsoft has made the following statement related to a bug in pre-release builds of SQL Server 2008 that prevent the SQL Server service from starting (or being installed!) on February 29th:
We have recently discovered an issue with SQL Server 2008 CTPs that result in SQL Server 2008 not starting or installing on Feb 29 GMT only. We recommend that you do not run, install or upgrade this CTP on Feb 29 GMT to minimize any impact in your environment. You can install starting on March 1 GMT. If you have an immediate issue that cannot wait until march 1st GMT contact firstname.lastname@example.org before taking any further steps.
Ugh. Talk about bad timing. The official launch for the product was two days ago, so it's likely that quite a few people are attempting to install and use SQL Server 2008 for the first time today.
Still, it could be worse, right? Imagine the chaos in Los Angeles if the launch were today and all of the demos that depend on SQL Server 2008 were blowing up in front of a live studio audience. I shudder (and yet I also laugh at the same time - go figure) to think of that possibility.
And the good news? Microsoft and Unisys have announced new, world-record ETL performance using SQL Server Integration Services 2008. The bottom line is that they've loaded 1.18 TB worth of flat file data in 1794 seconds - just under half an hour. And yes, that's correct - TB and not GB. This would average out to over 2 TB worth of data per hour.
I won't try to reproduce all of the details here - instead, check it out on the SQL Server Performance blog here: http://blogs.msdn.com/sqlperf/archive/2008/02/27/etl-world-record.aspx.
If you ask me, the good news far outweighs the bad. The bug only matters today and will be fixed before RTM. The amazing performance improvements in SSIS, SQL Server and Windows Server will last a lifetime.