Just a few weeks ago Microsoft revealed SQL Server 2016 at Ignite in Chicago and now the first public preview is available for IT Pro's to learn more about the upcoming release and to provide feedback on it development.
Once you decide to participate in the community technology preview expect the pace of updates to come fast. The frequent updates will assist Microsoft in development and will allow customers to see the progress rather than waiting for the next full preview to be released. Testing of SQL Server 2016 can be done on premise or on Microsoft Azure using a virtual machine.
"As the foundation of our end-to-end data platform, with this release we continue to make it easier for customers to maximize their data dividends. With SQL Server 2016 you can capture, transform, and analyze any data, of any size, at any scale, in its native format —using the tools, languages and frameworks you know and want in a trusted environment on-premises and in the cloud."
This graphic from Microsoft shows three key enhancements to SQL Server 2016: Stretch Database, Operational Analytics and Always Encrypted.
Additional features in SQL Server 2016 include:
- PolyBase – More easily manage relational and non-relational data with the simplicity of T-SQL.
- AlwaysOn Enhancements – Achieve even higher availability and performance of your secondaries, with up to 3 synchronous replicas, DTC support and round-robin load balancing of the secondaries.
- Row Level Security– Enables customers to control access to data based on the characteristics of the user. Security is implemented inside the database, requiring no modifications to the application.
- Dynamic Data Masking – Supports real-time obfuscation of data so data requesters do not get access to unauthorized data. Helps protect sensitive data even when it is not encrypted.
- Native JSON support – Allows easy parsing and storing of JSON and exporting relational data to JSON.
- Temporal Database support – Tracks historical data changes with temporal database support.
- Query Data Store – Acts as a flight data recorder for a database, giving full history of query execution so DBAs can pinpoint expensive/regressed queries and tune query performance.
- MDS enhancements – Offer enhanced server management capabilities for Master Data Services.
- Enhanced hybrid backup to Azure – Enables faster backups to Microsoft Azure and faster restores to SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines. Also, you can stage backups on-premises prior to uploading to Azure.