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May 03 2016

Microsoft SQL Server 2016: 30 Days to Go

Microsoft's SQL Server Team has announced the latest version of its "data platform" will be generally available from June 1 – and goes to combat with Oracle.

According to the official announcement, the new release offers an "end-to-end data management and business analytics solution with mission critical intelligence for your most demanding applications as well as insights on your data on any device." To achieve this, the developers have focused on providing seamless integration with the rest of the data center world: the software manages data from relational databases as well as JSON, XML or Hadoop repositories, and easily 'mixes' classic structured with unstructured data and data that is stored on premises with info kept in the cloud. More specifically, SQL Server 2016 will enable IT departments to

  • Build "mission-critical intelligent applications" that use built-in in-memory technology and advanced analytics to lay the groundwork for important operational/business decisions in real time
  • Increase query performance by a factor of 100 over standard disk-based solutions using the in-memory columnstore feature, and build scale-out solutions with specially optimized hard- and software
  • Protect data at rest and in motion with the new Always Encrypted feature and Role Level Security – without harming database performance
  • Deliver BI insights to smartphones and tablets as well as to standard desktops
  • Run queries against structured and unstructured data simultaneously with the help of the new PolyBase technology, and
  • Build hybrid clouds using a new feature that transparently and securely moves OLTP data to Microsoft Azure environments if required and is hence called "Stretch Database"

Regarding speed, responsiveness and costs, SQL Server 2016 has undergone several important TPC tests prior to its release and scored world records, among them the top TPC-E performance benchmark for transaction processing, the top TPC-H performance benchmark for data warehousing, and the top TPC-E price/performance benchmark.

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 will be available in four editions – Enterprise, Standard, Express, and Developer. As per usual, these editions meet varying requirements: Enterprise is for customers who actually need the full set of capabilities, whereas Standard is a bit of a trimmed-down package that includes "enhanced performance with basic availability, greater scalability up to 24 cores, modern reports, tabular modeling capabilities and robust security that [...] allows you to control access to sensitive data." Customers with a valid Microsoft Software Assurance subscription may get their Enterprise or Standard Edition free of charge if they opt to move over from Oracle until June 30; all others will have to pay the regular license fees. Small businesses and freelance coders may alternatively opt for the Express and Developer editions, both of which will be available at no cost, but offer somewhat reduced functionality. SQL Server 2016 is due out on June 1; meanwhile, potential customers can eveluate Release Candidate 3, which can be downloaded from here.

Detailed information is available from Microsoft's product page; users who wish to learn more about the discount for Oracle customers should look here.

 
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