The Best of SQL Server 2014 RTM – 6 Reasons to Think About Upgrading

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Just in case you missed the latest news from Microsoft, SQL Server 2014 has finally gone RTM (Released to Manufacturing). I’ve been telling you about the new features planned for this release since late summer of 2013. In fact, most of my columns have been devoted to this topic since the first CTP was made public. But let’s have a quick recap in case you’ve missed those or are only now starting to get interested.

If you’re an IT manager, the first thing I’d like to tell you is how invested Microsoft is in SQL Server. While earlier incarnations of executive leadership focused in other areas (anyone remember “Developers! Developers! Developers!”?), Microsoft’s new leadership is very bullish on SQL Server. And, why not? After Microsoft Office and Windows Server, SQL Server is Microsoft’s third biggest money-making product line. Check out the recording of the “Accelerate your insights” webcast, about SQL Server 2014, featuring appearances by CEO Satya Nadella, COO Kevin Turner and CVP Quentin Clark.

The 3 major categories for new features in SQL Server 2014, along with two of my favorite key features in each area (entirely subjective, I know), are:

Mission-Critical Performance Enhancements:

  1. In-Memory OLTP (a.k.a. Project Hekaton): This is way cool. Hekaton enables enormous improvements in SQL Server performance by utilizing a completely new architecture behind the scenes. For example, Hekaton does not use locks or latches, a fundamental method of controlling concurrency in relational databases since their inception.
  2. New Cardinality Estimator: SQL Server’s cardinality estimator, a key component using in query optimization, has been running on a code base first written for the SQL Server 2005 release. The new SQL Server 2014 cardinality estimator provides major enhancements for improved query optimization.

Business Intelligence Insights:

  1. Power BI for Office 365: New cloud and BI analytics tooling makes it easier than ever for knowledge workers throughout the enterprise (read: Excel buffs) to get very rich data and data visualizations for improved decision making. Look for features with “Power” in their name, like Power Map, Power View, and Power Query.
  2. Big Data: I’ve described in my two most recent columns, ways in which Microsoft is partnering with major Big Data providers, such as HortonWorks, and is now offering a powerful cloud-based version of Hadoop, HDInsight, on Azure.

Hybrid Cloud Enhancements:

  1. Azure VMs and Azure SQL Database: It’s easier and cheaper than ever to move your application and data management into the cloud.
  2. Recoverability: Microsoft has enhanced many HA and recoverability features to be cloud-based. For example, on-premise databases backups can go directly into Azure storage, as can secondary replicas in an AlwaysOn Availability Group topology. That means you can take advantage of Availability Groups for HA without have to buy more servers. Read more here.

You can read more about each of these major feature categories by reviewing my SQL Server Drill Down columns over the previous months. And, you can download the evaluation of Microsoft SQL Server 2014 today! The link is

If you have any questions or are looking for insight into specific areas of the SQL Server platform, let me know!  I’m always happy to respond.



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