Microsoft announced on Monday that its next version for SQL Server will launch on June 1. The release comes according to the company’s regular round of public previews and release candidates since the company first announced this update in 2015 with an added bonus of the updates having been tested earlier on in its Azure cloud.

The biggest oof-factor of this update, according to the Redmond giant, is that the service now offers significant improvements in speed without making any hardware changes. The company promises an average of 25 percent increase in speed on all queries on the same hardware. Other than this, we get security enhancements, with the ability to perform some queries on encrypted data without having to decrypt it first. SQL Server is also getting built-in R support along with an ability to store and query both structured and unstructured data.

All these combined, Microsoft hopes to position SQL Server as a solution for data warehousing and big data analytics. The following are the ideal applications of SQL Server, according to its makers:

  • Mission critical intelligent applications delivering real-time operational intelligence by combining built-in advanced analytics and in-memory technology without having to move the data or impact end user performance.
  • Enterprise scale data warehousing with enhanced in-memory columnstore that increases query performance by over 100x vs disk based solutions. With SQL Server 2016, you can also access optimized MPP scale out software that can be combined with scale out appliance architecture with our Analytics Platform System (APS).
  • Applications requiring the highest levels of security with new Always Encrypted technology that protects your data at rest and in motion without impacting database performance.
  • Comprehensive business intelligence solutions on mobile devices with an end-to-end mobile BI solution built-in that can deliver insights on any device. You can also manage all of your KPIs, mobile reports and traditional reports from a modern web portal.
  • New big data solutions that require combining relational data with non-relational data with PolyBase technology built-in that allows you to query structured and unstructured data with the simplicity of T-SQL.
  • Hybrid cloud solutions that can reduce storage costs, improve high availability and simplify IT operations with new Stretch Database technology. This keeps more of your historical data at your fingertips by transparently and securely stretching warm and cold OLTP data to Microsoft Azure on-demand without application changes. In addition, faster replicas can be placed in Azure to give you cost effective disaster recovery and backups.

The next major announcement regarding SQL Server is the new Lenovo benchmark that shows SQL Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016. This test proves that SQL Server 2016 is the fastest in-memory database on the planet for your applications.

The service is also available in four editions– Enterprise, Standard, Express and Developer, with each version coming in with its own set of separate exclusive features.

The Enterprise edition offers customers benefit from low cost of ownership with the full capabilities of SQL Server built into a single offering including our mission critical database, high performance data warehouse, rich data integration capabilities, end-to-end mobile business intelligence and built-in advanced analytic, for instance. Although it’s worth noting that the Developer edition will be available as a free download and will offer all the features of the full enterprise edition. Only drawback of this is that its license prohibits production use.

You can learn more about the different versions on Microsoft’s official announcement blog post.

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