Microsoft SQL Server 2016 was released on June 1 for "general availability" after months of tests from beta users. It was trumpeted on a blog post from the SQL Server Team on Microsoft's website as "revolutionary" and having "ground-breaking performance optimizations" and an "unmatched security record." The Team shows statistics that Microsoft SQL Server 2016 has value with built in additions that cost considerably more with Oracle. It seems like a great opportunity for developers and companies. But is it?
Here's the breakdown of features.
Moving Analytics Closer to Data
The central premise to Microsoft SQL Server 2016 is the movement of analytics to data rather than vice versa. According to the blog post, putting the analytics close to where the data is managed allows for increased speed with lower latency rates and the ability to perform analytics in real-time. PROS Holdings, a profit and realization company, used SQL Server 2016 to "deliver advanced analytics more than 100x faster than before."
The idea is to increase performance of running analytics to improve customer profits.
It's a new philosophy tech writer Mark Kaelin states and may be the most valuable asset of Microsoft SQL Server 2016 for developers and their companies.
Stronger Performance Optimizations and Efficiencies
Microsoft touts that SQL Server 2016 has "ground-breaking performance optimizations and efficiences" that leads to "new levels of performance and scales." A collaboration was done with Intel with a 100TB data warehouse, a single server with four Xeon E7 processors, and SQL Server 2016. It took just 5.3 seconds to run a complex query on the entire 100TB database.
They have a nifty graph worth checking out about Query Execution Time.
It's important to note that this is one instance in one time and may not be indicative of consistent performance outputs. Statistics, when isolated and selected specfically out of a sample, can be misleading. And has led to some eye-rolling.
New Security Features
New security features for SQL Server 2016 include Always Encrypted, which protects data at rest and in memory; Transparent Data Encryption, which encrypts all user data with low performance overhead; Dynamic Data Masking and Row Level Security, which allow developers to build applications that restrict access and protect data.
The real world uses are detailed by Lynn Greiner who writes that Dynamic Data Masking could protect users' credit card data, while Row Level Security would allow developer to restrict what users can access row by row.
She adds that, "Of course, these features are of no use if they’re too hard to enable, so Microsoft has made the task a matter of a few clicks."
Microsoft seems eager to get SQL Server 2016 out to the public, while hoping to cut into Oracle's market share. The blog post announcing the release of SQL Server 2016 had a direct comparison to Oracle products, with a comparison in prices and a list of built-in value for SQL Server 2016.
Writes Jessica Davis of InformationWeek, "Microsoft has pursued larger enterprise customers for several years now as it sought to expand upstream from its roots in the small and mid-size business market. Big enterprise database customers had more typically chosen products from giants such as Oracle and IBM."
Microsoft SQL Server 2016 has new features, improved performance, and a new philosophy but it still may not resonate with the majority of developers and companies that utilize relational database warehouses.