SQL Server 2016 Evolution and Azure DataWarehouseAt this year’s inaugural Ignite Conference in held in Chicago Microsoft announced that the next release of SQL Server, previously referred to as SQL Server vNext, will officially be SQL Server 2016. There’s no doubt that SQL Server has been on a fast track release program and the upcoming SQL Server 2016 release will be just two short years after the last SQL Server 2014 release. For business critical enterprise software this is a torrid release cycle that many businesses will have trouble keeping up with. But Microsoft fully intends to make the SQL Server 2016 release worth getting. You can find out more about the upcoming SQL Server 2016 features at the SQL Server 2016 Preview page http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server-2016/ , and the SQL Server Blog http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2015/05/04/sql-server-2016-public-preview-coming-this-summer.aspx . You might also check out the Ignite session SQL Server Evolution on this Blog.
Get an early look at the next Microsoft data platformThe first public preview of SQL Server 2016 is now available for download. It is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft's data platform history with real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on mobile devices, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technology, and new hybrid cloud scenarios.
SQL Server 2016 delivers breakthrough mission-critical capabilities with in-memory performance and operational analytics built-in. Comprehensive security features like new Always Encrypted technology help protect your data at rest and in motion, and a world-class high availability and disaster recovery solution adds new enhancements to AlwaysOn technology.
Organizations will gain deeper insights into all of their data with new capabilities that go beyond business intelligence to perform advanced analytics directly within their database and present rich visualizations for business insights on any device.
You can also gain the benefits of hyper-scale cloud with new hybrid scenarios enabled by new Stretch Database technology that lets you dynamically stretch your warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure in a secured way so your data is always at hand for queries, no matter the size. In addition, SQL Server 2016 delivers a complete database platform for hybrid cloud, enabling you to easily build, deploy and manage solutions that span on-premises and cloud.
- Enhanced in-memory performance provides up to 30x faster transactions, more than 100x faster queries than disk-based relational databases and real-time operational analytics
- New Always Encrypted technology helps protect your data at rest and in motion, on-premises and in the cloud, with master keys sitting with the application, without application changes
- Stretch Database technology keeps more of your customer’s historical data at your fingertips by transparently stretching your warm and cold OLTP data to Microsoft Azure in a secure manner without application changes
- Built-in advanced analytics provide the scalability and performance benefits of building and running your advanced analytics algorithms directly in the core SQL Server transactional database
- Business insights through rich visualizations on mobile devices with native apps for Windows, iOS and Android
- Simplify management of relational and non-relational data by querying both with T-SQL using PolyBase
- Faster hybrid backups, high availability and disaster recovery scenarios to back up and restore your on-premises databases to Microsoft Azure and place your SQL Server AlwaysOn secondaries in Azure
Here are eight great features to look for in SQL Server 2016.
1. Always Encrypted
Always Encrypted is designed to protect data at rest or in motion. With Always Encrypted, SQL Server can perform operations on encrypted data and the encryption key can reside with the application. Encryption and decryption of data happens transparently inside the application. This means the data stored in SQL Server will be encrypted which can secure it from DBA and administrators but that also has considerations for ad-hoc queries, reporting and exporting the data.
2. Stretch Database
The idea behind this feature is certainly interesting. The upcoming stretch database feature will allow you to dynamically stretch your on-premise database to Azure. This would enable your frequently accessed or hot data to stay on-premise and your infrequently accessed cold data to be moved to the cloud. This could enable you to take advantage of low cost Azure store and still have high performance applications. However, this is one trick where Microsoft really needs to get the partitioning right to keep your queries from straying into the cloud and killing your performance.
3. Real-time Operational Analytics
This feature uses the dynamic duo of SQL Server’s in-memory technologies; it combines In-Memory OLTP with the in-memory columnstore for real-time operational analytics. Its purpose is to tune your system for optimal transactional performance as well as increase workload concurrency. This sounds like a great combination and applying analytics to your system’s performance is something a lot of customers have asked for a long time but you will certainly need to have the memory to take advantage of it.
4. PolyBase into SQL Server
Big Data continues to grow in strategic importance but unless you had the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) connecting SQL Server to Dig Data and Hadoop in particular was limited and difficult. In previous releases, PDW was the only version of SQL Server that came with PolyBase – a technology that bridged SQL Server and Hadoop by enabling you to construct and run SQL queries over Hadoop data stores eliminating the need to understand HDFS or MapReduce. SQL Server 2016 promises to bring the PolyBase technology mainstream into the primary SQL Server SKUs (probably the Enterprise edition).
5. Native JSON Support
6. Enhancements to AlwaysOn
SQL Server 2016 will also continue to advance high availability and disaster recovery with several enhancements to AlwaysOn. The upcoming SQL Server 2016 release will enhance AlwaysOn with the ability to have up to three synchronous replicas. Additionally, it will include DTC (Distributed Transaction Coordinator) support as well as support for round-robin load balancing of the secondaries replicas. There will also be support for automatic failover based on database health.
7. Enhanced In-Memory OLTP
First introduced with SQL Server 2014, In-Memory OLTP will continue to mature in SQL Server 2016. Microsoft will enhance In-Memory OLTP by extending the functionality to more applications while also enhancing concurrency. This means they will be expanding the T-SQL surface area, increasing the total amount of memory supported into the terabyte range as well as supporting a greater number of parallel CPUs.
8. Revamped SQL Server Data Tools
Another welcome change in SQL Server 2016 is the reconsolidation of SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT). As Microsoft worked to supplant the popular and useful Business Development Studio (BIDS) with SQL Server Data Tools they wound up confusing almost everyone by creating not one but two versions of SQL Server Data Tools both of which needed to be downloaded separately from installing SQL Server itself. With the SQL Server 2016 release Microsoft has indicated that they intend to reconsolidate SQL Server Data Tools.
SQL Server Evolution 2016 Part 1
SQL Server 2016 Evolution Part2
Microsoft Azure SQL Data Warehouse Overview
Azure SQL Data Warehouse: Deep Dive