Robert Hurlbut, an independent software consultant in Worcester, Mass., said SQL Server 2005's security features are a big improvement over what was in the previous release of the database, especially for government users and companies in the health care and financial services industries. Microsoft has "locked down the ports and turned things on automatically that you used to have to do by hand," Hurlbut said.
Actually, I said "turned things off" but, that's probably the result of a cold I had last week and a flaky service with my cell phone. :)
Among the many features in SQL Server 2005 I like both personally and for my clients are: security (especially built-in encryption), Service Broker, T-SQL enhancements, high availability, and improvements for developer productivity (IDE, debugging, etc.). I am also interested in the SQLCLR features from an almost academic "great to see another CLR hosting solution" perspective, but I am not sure yet how much I will use these features in custom solutions. Either way, it is a very exciting day to see the product I have been beta testing over the last year and a half finally be released!