After shipping version 6.0, many team members took well-deserved vacations after months of working in crunch mode. But within a month, they were actively beginning work on SQL Server version 6.5. With any huge release like version 6.0, some features get deferred due to schedule constraints. And during this ambitious 18-month project, new demands came up that weren't even conceived of as requirements when the project began . For example, the Internet and data warehousing both exploded in importance and demand in 1995. Version 6.5 added capabilities for both. It also included further ease-of-use improvements, gained certification as conforming to the ANSI SQL standard, and provided much richer distributed transactions.
Although version 6.0 was released to manufacturing in June 1995, on December 15, 1995, Microsoft shipped a feature-complete beta version of 6.5 to 150 beta sites. The production version of 6.5 released to manufacturing in April 1996, a scant 10 months after 6.0 was released. The SQL Server team was not about to slow down.