Kalen Delaney saw the first version of Microsoft SQL Server at about the same time that Ron did. She started working for Sybase Corporation's technical support team in 1987. And in 1988, she started working with a team that was testing the new PC-based version of Sybase SQL Server, which a company in the Seattle area was developing for OS/2. Sybase would be providing phone support for customers purchasing this version of the product, and Kalen, along with the rest of the technical support team, wanted to be ready.
Up to that point, she had never actually worked with PC-based systems and had pegged them as being mere toys. Sybase SQL Server was an extremely powerful product, capable of handling hundreds of simultaneous users and hundreds of megabytes of data. Kalen supported customers using Sybase SQL Server databases to manage worldwide financial, inventory, and human resource systems. A serious product was required to handle these kinds of applications, and Kalen thought PCs just didn't fit the bill. However, when she saw a PC sitting on a coworker's desk actually running SQL Server, Kalen's attitude changed in a hurry. Over the next few years , she worked with hundreds of customers in her position in product support and later in her position as Senior Instructor, using Microsoft SQL Server to manage real businesses with more than toy amounts of data, from a PC.
In 1991, Kalen's family left the San Francisco Bay Area to live in the Pacific Northwest, but she continued to work for Sybase as a trainer and courseware developer. A year later, Sybase dissolved her remote position, and she decided to start her own business. A big decision loomed: should she focus primarily on the Sybase version or the Microsoft version of SQL Server? Because Microsoft SQL Server would run on a PC that she could purchase at her local Sears store with low monthly payments, and because she could buy SQL Server software and the needed operating system in one package, the decision was simple. Microsoft had made it quite easy for the sole proprietor to acquire and develop software and to hone his or her skills on a powerful, real-world, relational database system.