Microsoft SQL Server 2017 Sets Stage for 'Modern Data Estate'

Database professionals and developers are already flocking to Microsoft's Linux-, cloud- and AI-friendly database, but Microsoft has more in store.

SQL Server

Barely a month out of the gate, and not only is Microsoft's SQL Server 2017 off to a strong start, but it's opening up new opportunities for enterprises and their data professionals to derive more value from their business information, according to the company.

In fact, Microsoft's bet on friendly database technologies that support Linux, containers, agile DevOps, artificial intelligence (AI) and hybrid cloud workloads is already paying off, Rohan Kumar, general manager of Database Systems Engineering at Microsoft, said in a keynote address at PASS Summit 2017, which runs Oct. 31-Nov. 3 in Seattle. SQL Server 2017 was made generally available in late September during Microsoft's Ignite conference.

Much of the early enthusiasm surrounding the product and its brisk adoption rates can be traced to the company's embrace of technologies like AI while creating a so-called "modern data estate" that is relatively easy to manage, despite SQL Server's advanced functionality, and can span hybrid cloud environments.

"Data, cloud and AI are the three most disruptive technology trends of our time. They're changing the way we work, the way we live and are redefining what's possible," said Kumar during his keynote address, citing research that shows that companies that have incorporated these trends into their IT and business strategies "outperform and out-innovate their competition."

Many database professionals seem to be onboard with Microsoft's vision. Customers downloaded an estimated 2 million SQL Server 2017 previews, and since its official release at Ignite, they have kicked off 500,000 trials, Kumar said.

To keep that momentum going, and to help database developers and administrators get the most of SQL Server's capabilities, the software giant is readying the release of a cross-platform tool called Microsoft SQL Operations Studio.

"In a few weeks, users will be able to download and evaluate this free, light-weight tool for modern database development and operations on Windows, Mac or Linux machines for SQL Server, Azure SQL Database, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse," Kumar explained in a related blog post. "Increase your productivity with smart T-SQL code snippets and customizable dashboards to monitor and quickly detect performance bottlenecks in your SQL databases on-premises or in Azure," Microsoft's cloud computing platform.

Getting started with Microsoft SQL Operations Studio should be fairly seamless for users who are experienced with the database system. The software's Integrated Terminal interface supports popular command line tools, including PowerShell, Bash, sqlcmd and others.

For those administrators more interested in raw performance, Microsoft executives showed off SQL Server 2017 running on SUSE Enterprise Linux Server using an HPE ProLiant DL380 Gen 10 Server system with persistent RAM. Dubbing the solution as the "world's first enterprise-grade diskless database server," Microsoft demonstrated how database queries can run more than five times faster on the system compared to using a solid state drive array at half the cost. HPE's system ships in December 2017.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the Internet.com network of...