SQL Server 2016 became generally available on June 1, as scheduled previously by Microsoft. Described as the “biggest leap forward in Microsoft data platform history” in a Microsoft Developer Network blog, the new release provides improvements in real-time operational analytics, visualizations on mobile devices, analytics, as well as new security technology and hybrid cloud scenarios.
According to Microsoft, SQL Server 2016 manages both relational and “beyond relational” (JSON, XML, Hadoop) data, integrates structured data with Hadoop data, and integrates on-premises data with cloud data, and is suited for mission-critical applications that deliver real-time operational intelligence by combining built-in advanced analytics and in-memory technology.
Key advantages of SQL Server 2016, as outlined by Microsoft:
It supports enterprise-scale data warehousing with enhanced in-memory column-store technology that increases query performance by more than 100x versus disk-based solutions, as well as applications requiring high levels of security through the Always Encrypted technology that protects data at rest and in motion without impacting database performance.
In addition, business intelligence solutions on mobile devices are supported by an end-to-end mobile BI solution built in; and new big data solutions that require relational data to be combined with non-relational data are supported by PolyBase technology that allows users to query structured and unstructured data with the simplicity of T-SQL, an extension to SQL.
New Stretch Database technology in the new release also targets hybrid cloud solutions that can reduce storage costs, improve availability and simplify IT operations. This keeps more historical data accessible by transparently and “securely stretching” warm and cold OLTP data to Microsoft Azure on-demand without application changes. In addition, faster replicas can be placed in Azure to provide cost-effective disaster recovery and backups.
For more information, read the SQL Server 2016 Release Notes and SQL Server 2016 datasheet.