The SQL Server 2016 is promising to be significantly faster than the previous version, even without using any of the new features that include better support for in-memory computing and an in-memory updateable columnstores that can speed up some types of queries by 100x.
This speed is promising to be comparable to using MySQL with additional expensive hardware but without losing the enterprise-centric security features that Microsoft offers. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, the speed gains will allow for SQL Server 2016 to allow real-time analytics instead using dedicated data warehousing solution.
The new database platform will also offer support for statistical computing environment R right into SQL Server with the help of its 2014 acquisition of Revolution Analytics. This will allow scientists to use R directly on their databases instead of having to extract and move data first.
With regards to security, SQL Server 2016 will be using the new cryptographic technique call "homeomorphic encryption" to allow it to query data without decrypting it.
Following the current trends, the product is also moving towards cloud computing. While the on-premises version of SQL Server 2016 is still making its way to general availability, Microsoft has actually been using the same codebase to power Azure’s SQL database service. It is currently running on around 1.4 million machines and the company has been using it there for nine months now.
Microsoft is also adding the ability to stretch warm and cold data from their on-premises database into Azure, which can lead to major cost savings for companies who will be able to store data in the cloud instead of behind the firewall. The data will still be queryable from the on-premises version, though.
The company is so sure that people will want this new SQL Server 2016, that they are launching a new program for Oracle users that will allow them to offset the costs of licensing, migration planning, and training when moving to the new database platform. Thus, Oracle users will get free licensing when they make the move through their account representatives, as well as free training and subsidized deployment services.