Microsoft has finally settled on a release date for SQL Server 2016, the Redmond, Wash., software giant announced May 2.
A year after Microsoft released the first public preview of SQL Server 2016, the database software will be generally available Wednesday, June 1—before summer arrives. Customers can select from four editions: Express, Standard, Enterprise and the free Developer Edition. The latter includes all the features found in SQL Server Enterprise but is meant for development and test deployments, not production workloads.
The official release, along with full enterprise support services from Microsoft, will allow customers "to build mission-critical, and business-critical intelligent applications with the most secure database, the highest performance data warehouse, end-to-end mobile BI [business intelligence] on any device, in-database advanced analytics, in-memory capabilities optimized for all workloads, and a consistent experience from on-premises to cloud," wrote Tiffany Wissner, senior director of Microsoft Data Platform Marketing, in a May 2 blog post.
While those are lofty claims, new benchmark data from one of Microsoft's major hardware partners suggests that Wissner's remarks are no idle boast.
Separately, Lenovo announced May 2 that it had set a new data warehouse performance record using a x3950 X6 server running Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Edition and Windows Server 2016 Standard. The server was outfitted with eight Intel Xeon E7-8890 v3 processors clocked at 2.5GHz and 12TB of system memory. The non-clustered system scored 1,056,164.7 queries per hour H (QphH) @30,000GB at $2.04/QphH @30,000GB on the TPC-H decision support benchmark that simulates a large number of ad hoc queries and concurrent data changes in business settings.
"This is the first-ever non-clustered result @30,000GB TPC-H benchmark scale. Previously, non-clustered results maxed out @10,000 TPC-H benchmark scale. At 30TB, it is three times larger than the previous tested database, reflecting the growth of in-memory databases both in size, and popularity," said Lenovo in a statement. In addition to SQL Server's in-memory data processing capabilities, the Chinese server maker also credited Windows Server 2016's ability to support 12TB of memory, up from the previous 4TB limit.
SQL Server also opens the door to advanced R-based business analytics. R is the statistical computing language that is popular among data scientists for predictive analytics.
Last month's SQL Server 2016 release candidate introduced a new installer that gives administrators the option of installing a stand-alone Microsoft R Server, formerly Revolution R from Revolution Analytics, or SQL Server R Services as an in-database capability. Microsoft acquired Revolution Analytics in early 2015.
On the security front, SQL Server 2016 includes a new data privacy enhancing feature called Dynamic Data Masking (DDM), which Microsoft incorporated into its cloud-based Azure SQL Database last year. DDM can be used to obfuscate or limit access to sensitive data without making changes to the data stored in the database or applications.