Microsoft's largest and most comprehensive conference, Ignite, is happening in Chicago this week, and I've heard great things about the announcements, sessions, and our booth from my co-workers, friends, and Twitter. I was eagerly awaiting any SQL Server announcements, and Microsoft didn't disappoint!
Satya Nadella announced that SQL Server 2016 will be available for preview this summer! The biggest enhancements will be to security, business analytics, and further integration with Azure.
Security of data is a major concern for every type of business, with the frequency of security and data breaches in the news. With that in mind, Always Encrypted is a new feature that will encrypt sensitive data. SQL Server will be able to work with the data, but it can't be viewed without the encryption key, which resides with the application in the client environment. This is a huge leap forward in security.
Row-level Security is also being introduced, which allows the data returned to users to be restricted based on parameters. Dynamic Data Masking is also in the mix, which allows policies to be set that determine how much - if any - of sensitive data users are allowed to see in the applications.
Microsoft is taking security seriously, and it's good to see them moving forward on multiple fronts.
Business intelligence and analytics are hot topics for every business. Microsoft recognizes this and is making forward strides, such as their recent acquisition of Datazen
. Two major additions to SQL Server 2016 will be R processing and PolyBase.
R is a programming environment for statistical computing and predictive analytics. Adding this to SQL Server will provide a richer, deeper analysis experience. PolyBase will allow SQL Server to query Hadoop, the "big data" platform. Both of these additions make Microsoft an increasingly significant player in the analytics space.
Microsoft's goal is to be a cloud-first company. In the last two years, the number of services available in Azure has increased dramatically, as have the reliability and features. The next step is integrating on-premises deployments with Azure. 2016 is going to offer a feature called Stretch Database. Data that is archival or infrequently used can be transparently stored in Azure storage, but still accessed from an on-premises database.
All of these announcements are exciting, and great steps forward. You can head over the preview page
to learn more about what SQL Server 2016 will offer, and sign up here
to be notified once the preview is available!