Microsoft SQL Server 2016 will be generally available June 1

Microsoft plans to make all four editions of SQL Server 2016 generally available to all customers on June 1, 2016.

Microsoft will make SQL Server 2016 generally available on June 1, 2016, company officials announced today.

That June 1 date is when the product will be available to all users, including brand new ones, MSDN subscribers, and existing customers, officials said. All four versions of SQL Server 2016 will be available on that date.

Microsoft recently released what execs said was the fourth and final release candidate of SQL Server 2016. When I asked when SQL Server 2016 had or would be released to manufacturing, a spokesperson said the company wouldn't comment.

SQL Server 2016 will be licensed per core, rather than per processor. Microsoft is fielding four versions of SQL Server 2016: Enterprise, Standard, Express and Developer. Earlier this year, officials said the Developer Edition -- which includes the full feature set of the Enterprise Edition -- would be freely available for development and test use only, not in production settings.

Here's Microsoft's chart indicating which features will be part of which editions:

Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft is pitching SQL Server 2016 as the version of its database that has "everything built in."

Microsoft released the first public preview of SQL Server 2016 in May 2015. At that time, Microsoft officials said to expect the following components to be part of SQL Server 2016:

  • Always Encrypted - a new capability developed by Microsoft Research that is designed to protect data "at rest and in motion
  • "Stretch Database" - new technology that lets allows users to dynamically stretch warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure
  • Enhancements to Microsoft's "Hekaton" in-memory technologies for real-time analytics
  • New in-database analytics with R integration
  • Polybase -- an engine that, to date, has been part of the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance, for more easily managing relational and non-relational data
  • Row-level security, allowing users to control access to data based on characteristics of the user, without modifications to applications
  • Dynamic Data Masking -- supports real-time obfuscation of data to prevent access to unauthorized data
  • Temporal database support for tracking historical data changes
  • Query Data Store -- a "flight data recorder" for database administrators
  • Enhanced server management for Master Data Services
  • Enhanced hybrid backup to Azure and faster restores to SQL Server in Azure virtual machines

Microsoft also is testing a version of SQL Server for Linux. That product is due for release in mid-2017.

Update: Some have noticed that Microsoft doesn't have BI editions of SQL Server 2016, even though those editions were part of the SQL Server 2012 and 2014 line-ups. I asked Microsoft why. "There are transition plans in place for customers to ensure they can continue to get the same BI capabilities at a similar cost," a spokesperson said. So far, no word on when we'll hear about these transition plans.

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