Microsoft has released to manufacturing (RTM'd) its SQL Server 2012 product, as of March 6, the day before the company's virtual "launch" of its new database.
So when can you get the bits? If you're an MSDN/TechNet subscriber, you can download them as of March 7, the Softies said. If you're a volume-license customer, you can grab them from the Volume Licensing Center on April 1. April 1 (no fooling) also is the date when SQL Server 2012 will be generally available to any/all interested parties. And if you want to take the evaluation version for a spin, you can do so immediately, starting March 6.
(Update: Though not quite yet, it seems. Microsoft is working on fixing whatever is holding up availability of the trial version, officials said in the early afternoon ET on March 6. Update 2: And here is the Evaluation Edition download.)
With SQL Server 2012, codenamed Denali, Microsoft has added a new business-intelligence (BI) specific SKU to its line-up. The Redmondians also have added a core-based pricing option with the new release.
Microsoft rolled out the first Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of SQL Server 2012 back in November 2010. Approximately 150,000 users have tested the product via various CTP and Release Candidate test builds, officials said.
Like the SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2 releases, SQL Server 2012 is focused on providing users with more high-availability, self-service and BI functionality, officials have said. New technologies and features part of this release include:
Microsoft is playing up the ability of its database technologies -- both SQL Server 2012 and the Hadoop on Azure and Hadoop on Windows Server offerings officials announced last year -- as giving the company the ability to handle both structured and unstructured data.