Microsoft readies SQL Server 2016 summer preview

Microsoft's first public preview of the next version of its SQL Server database is coming this summer. Here's what to expect.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is readying a first public preview of its next version of SQL Server, called SQL Server 2016, for delivery this summer.

The successor to SQL Server 2014 will include enhanced in-memory technologies, real-time operational analytics, new security and encryption technologies, built-in advanced analytics with the R language and mobile business intelligence for on-premises data, officials said this week.

SQL Server 2016 will include a new Stretch Database feature that will provide access to historical data by "dynamically stretching" warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure, so that users will have an easier time getting immediate access to that data.

SQL Server 2016 will build on the in-memory online-transaction-processing technology (codenamed "Hekaton") that's part of SQL Server 2014. From the May 4 blog post describing the coming release:

"For In-Memory OLTP, which customers today are using for up to 30x faster transactions than disk based systems, you will now be able to apply this technology tuned for transactional performance to a significantly greater number of applications as well as benefit from increased concurrency. With these enhancements, we also introduce the unique capability to use our in-memory columnstore delivering 100X faster queries with in-memory OLTP for in-memory performance and real-time operational analytics."

The Polybase data-processing engine that's been part of the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse appliance will now be built into the core SQL Server 2016 product.

Other new features coming to the SQL Server 2016 release, according to Microsoft's blog post:

Additional security enhancements for Row-level Security and Dynamic Data Masking to round out our security investments with Always Encrypted.

  • Improvements to AlwaysOn for more robust availability and disaster recovery with multiple synchronous replicas and secondary load balancing.
  • Native JSON support to offer better performance and support for your many types of your data.
  • SQL Server Enterprise Information Management (EIM) tools and Analysis Services get an upgrade in performance, usability and scalability.
  • Faster hybrid backups, high availability and disaster recovery scenarios to backup and restore your on-premises databases to Azure and place your SQL Server AlwaysOn secondaries in Azure.

The data sheet on SQL Server 2016 is here.

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