Just when you thought you got a handle on SQL Server 2012, here comes the next version! SQL Server 2014 was announced yesterday during the TechEd North America 2013 Day 1 Keynote. It is due to be released in early 2014, shortly after the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 (aka Windows Blue Server). A technology preview download (SQL Server 2014 CTP 1) will be available this month, and already released is the Microsoft® SQL Server® 2014 CTP1 Product Guide.
Unfortunately, this is a database-focused release with no changes to the BI-stack (SSAS, SSRS, SSIS).
So what are some of the cool new database-focused features? Here are my favorites:
- Hekaton in-memory OLTP: In-memory database technology that will provide breakthrough performance gains 10 times for existing apps and up to 50 times for new applications optimized for in-memory performance with no additional hardware required. There will be a diagnostic tool that will suggest which databases and tables are the best candidates to run in-memory. The “Hekaton” codename will fade and it will be referred to as the SQL Server In-Memory OLTP Engine. See In-Memory OLTP White Paper and Edgenet Gain Real-Time Access to Retail Product Data with In-Memory Technology
- SSD caching: You can indicate that you want to use a SSD to extend memory. Then SQL Server will automatically cache data in the SSD. This will increase performance by extending SQL Server in-memory buffer pool to SSDs for faster paging
- Updatable clustered column store indexes: This was recently introduced in PDW, where you will be able to load and delete data in existing column-store indexes. They also have faster query speeds and greater data compression, Yea, a new BI-related feature!
- Online maintenance additions: You can rebuild a single partition’s index online as well as switch partitions using lock priorities
- More secondaries for AlwaysOn Availability Groups: Increased from 4 secondaries to 8
- Improved reliability for AlwaysOn Availability Group secondaries: The secondaries will now stay online if the primary goes offline
- Use Azure VMs as AlwaysOn Availability Group replicas: When adding a replica you can specify an Azure VM
- Backup to Azure: With this new feature of backup to Azure, backups can be stored offsite (in the cloud) providing safe storage of backup data
- Smart Backup to Azure: SQL Server determines whether to do a full or differential backup and how often to backup the transaction log to Azure
- Have data/log files in Azure storage: You can have SQL Server on-premise but specify that the data and/or log files should be on Azure
- SSMS Migration Wizard for Windows Azure Infrastructure Services: Easily migrate an on-premises SQL Server database to a Windows Azure Virtual machine with a point and click experience in SSMS. The newly deployed database application can be managed through SSMS or System Center 2012 R2.
- Enhanced Query Processing: Speeds all SQL Server queries regardless of workload. Query processing has been enhanced and split into a two-step process: decision making and execution
- Windows Server 2012 R2: Combining with the new OS provides Increased scale, Network Virtualization, and Storage Virtualization with Storage Spaces (see Windows Server 2012 Storage Virtualization Explained)
- Enhanced Resource Governor: New capabilities allow you to manage IO
- Enhanced Separation of Duties: Achieve greater compliance with new capabilities for creating role and sub-roles. For example, a database administrator can now manage the data without seeing sensitive data or personally identifiable information
- Statistics improvements: Statistics are now maintained on the partition level
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