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New Cloud Computing Enhancements Coming in SQL Server 2014


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There’s no doubt that cloud computing is growing due to the strong cost benefits, simplified management, and reduced hosting complexities.  So it’s only fitting that we cap this series on the new features of Microsoft’s upcoming SQL Server 2014 (SQL2014) release of their flagship database by going over the highlights for SQL2014’s new cloud computing features. 

Here’s what SQL2014 will do for you with regards to business cloud computing:

 SQL2014 Futhers Microsoft's Hybrid Cloud Offerings

Personally, I believe that Microsoft’s hybrid cloud offerings are the strongest in the market, and this release of SQL2014 furthers its capabilities in this space.  A hybrid cloud enables an enterprise to have traditional on-premises compute resources, compute resources in a private cloud, and compute resources in the public cloud, simultaneously.  This hybrid enables enterprises to take advantage of the strength of each platform:

  • Traditional platforms: These are more expensive and require more staff to administer, but offer the benefit of highly-granular performance tuning.
  • Private cloud platforms: These offer the cloud benefits of pooled and virtualized resources coupled with speedy delivery of new servers, but must still be administered and hosted on-premises.
  • Public cloud platforms: The public cloud platforms offer a variety of benefits, similar to private clouds, but also offer elasticity and usage-based billing. They’re typically a fast, easy, and cheap way to get your databases hosted, but have the drawback of being difficult to performance tune.

Public Cloud Computing in SQL2014

While Microsoft has offered Windows Azure and Windows Azure SQL Database in the cloud for quite awhile, they’ve just recently released the Windows Azure Virtual Machine product line with hosted SQL Server running in the VM.  Many users in the industry are much more excited about Windows Azure VMs than they were about Windows Azure SQL Database because Azure VMs are a complete self-contained VM with all the look and feel of a traditional SQL Server.  (Windows Azure SQL Database, on the other hand, is only a subset of the full SQL Server database platform).  Renting a SQL Server by the hour is very appealing to a lot of customers due to the nature of their business, so I feel confident that Windows Azure VMs will see widespread and rapid adoption.

Better Handling of Common Cloud Scenarios in SQL2014

Microsoft’s in-the-box tooling for specific, but frequently encountered scenarios has gotten a lot better.  For example, migrating databases and entire SQL Servers to and from the cloud is a lot easier. (More details at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windowsazure/jj156165.aspx).  Microsoft has also augmented backup and AlwaysOn high-availability features by enabling users to use the cloud for their backup targets or AlwaysOn failover targets.  (Again, more details on these features at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj919148.aspx).   Microsoft’s Sync Framework has been enhanced to support synchronized bidirectional data between on-premises SQL Server and cloud instances of SQL Server, while the Azure portal enables easier build-out of federated SQL Server applications.  Microsoft is also taking steps to enable code-far programming designs, for example, using Microsoft Access 2013 to build a local front-end running against a back end in the cloud, rather than in a traditional, on-premises SQL Server.

More resources for SQL Server 2014 Cloud Enhancements

That seems like a lot to sink your teeth into. Get more information about the SQL Server 2014 Cloud Enhancements by downloading Microsoft’s 28-page white paper .  

If you haven’t read any of my previous column articles on the upcoming release, check out some other  good resources, such as the TechNet Evaluation Center for SQL Server 2014 CTP1,  the CTP1 Release Notes, and the CTP1 Product Guide.

Finally, download the Microsoft’s SQL Server 2014 CTP1.


About the author:

Kevin Kline, a longtime Microsoft SQL Server MVP, is a founder and former president of PASS and the author of SQL in a Nutshell. Kline tweets at @kekline and blogs at http://kevinekline.com.


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