SQL Server is evolving rapidly. Just last year we received SQL Server 2014 and 3 years ago we received SQL Server 2012 and now we are already expecting SQL Server 2016. SQL Server 2012’s main features were Always-On, and Contained databases. SQL Server 2014’s main features were In-Memory OLTP and integration with Windows Azure. Here are some of the main features of SQL Server 2016:
1. Always Encrypted
It’s a security related feature, as obvious from the name. In the past we did have TDE for encrypting the entire database which required creation of encryption keys. In Always Encrypted seems like the encryption key will reside on the application side. More will get know when the preview software gets released.
2. Support for JSON
JSON has become a power house when it comes to data format used for data transfer. XML is already supported by SQL Server as a native data type with XQuery / XPath syntax. Now JSON is getting added to SQL Server 2016 which means a lot smaller footprint, compared to XML.
3. Advanced Analytics, PolyBase, Mobile BI
Business Intelligence is getting more love from Microsoft in SQL Server 2016. PolyBase will allow folks with T-SQL skills to extract value from structured and unstructured data. Data visualization tools will be available on Windows, iOS and Android mobile devices. Exactly how the applications will look like? We will find out soon.
4. Stretch Database
Storage is getting cheaper but still there are cases where we struggle and run out of storage. Stretch database feature allows us to archive data that’s not part of day to day transactions. So we can call the important data “warm transactional data” and rest of it that we want to archive can be called “cold transactional data”. Cold transactional data can be archived to Windows Azure cloud storage. It seems like reports can still be created based of warm as well as cold transactional data.
There are several more features but above features. Waiting anxiously for the preview release which is expected sometime this summer.