Microsoft released SQL Server 2016 this month and it provides an incredible number of new features and improved functionality. There are so many enhancements that it can be really difficult for the busy database professional to get up to speed. Fortunately, Microsoft has provided a number of free training resources that you can use to learn about all the new features in SQL Server 2016.
One of the best places to start learning about the new SQL Server 2016 release is the Microsoft eBook. This eBook is still in preview, which means that it will be subsequently updated. Currently, it has seven chapters, and it covers the new security related enhancements like Always Encrypted, Row-Level Security and Dynamic Data Masking. A section on availability covers the enhancements to AlwaysOn Availability Groups. The Database Engine section provides information about the new Query Store and Stretch database features. The eBook also provides information on the new R integration and the Mobile Reports.
Microsoft has also created a number of tutorials to help you learn about the different subsystems in SQL Server 2016. These tutorials are mostly written instruction sets that you follow to help you learn the basics of each of the different areas for SQL Server. They don’t focus on just the new features. Most of the tutorials require the AdventureWorks2016 sample databases. Microsoft provides the following SQL Server 2016 tutorials:
- Analysis Servers
- Reporting Services
- Integration Services
- Database engine
- R Services
Video Presentations on Channel 9
If you prefer learning by watching video and presentations, then Channel 9 provides a number great SQL Server 2016 video presentations, many of which are presented by SQL Server product managers. There are videos on Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Mobile Reports, SQL Server GA and SQL on Linux, Delivering mission critical intelligence with SQL Server 2016, R Services FAQ, Microsoft SQL Server 2016: Polybase, Upgrade and Migration to SQL Server 2016, Tooling Improvements in SQL Server 2016, In-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2016: Stretch Database and SQL Server 2016 Query Store Performance Troubleshooting.
Microsoft Virtual Labs
Microsoft’s virtual labs are another great free resource that you can take advantage of to get more in-depth knowledge of about SQL Server 2016. The virtual labs provide a guided hands-on virtual environment that you can use to get practical experience with the different SQL Server 2016 features. There are 42 difference SQL Server virtual labs that you can choose from. Some of the virtual labs that are available for SQL Server 2016 include:
- SQL Server 2016 CTP3 Exploring Organizational Security and Auditing
- SQL Server 2016 DTP# Exploring Resource Governor I/O Enhancements
- Exploring What’s New in SLQ Server 2016 RC2 Integration Services
- Exploring What’s New in SQL Server 2016 RC2 Analysis Services
- Exploring What’s New in SQL Server 2016 RC2 Mobile Reports
- Exploring SQL Server 2016 Temporal Tables
- SQL Server 2016 CTP3 Always Encrypted
- Exploring IN-Memory OLTP in SQL Server 2016
Finally, no list of resources would be complete without the official SQL Server 2016 Technical Documentation. This site contains the Books Online as well as links to download the SQL server 2016 Evaluation Edition and the new SQL Server Management Studio.
HPE and Microsoft are the underwriters of this article.