Microsoft Announces General Availability Of SQL Server 2016

Microsoft announces the general availability of SQL Server 2016, the world’s fastest and most price-performant database for HTAP (Hybrid Transactional and Analytical Processing) with updatable, in-memory columnstores and advanced analytics through deep integration with R Services. Software applications can now easily deploy sophisticated analytics and machine learning models in the database resulting in 100x or more speedup in time to insight, compared to deployments of such models outside of the database.
 
A new platform for intelligent applications
 
The majority of advanced analytic applications use a primitive approach of moving data from databases into the application tier to derive intelligence. This approach has been because of the high latency due to the data movement,and does not scale as data volumes grow,  and thus burden the application tier with the task of managing as well as maintaining the analytical models. The deep analytics on real-time transactions are quite impossible without a lot of heaving lifting. 
 
The SQL Server 2016 simplifies analytics in the way databases simplified enterprise data management, by moving the analytics quite close to where the data is managed instead of the other way around. It has gone on to introduce a new paradigm where all joins and aggregations as well as machine learning are securely performed within the database itself without moving the data out, hence enabling analytics on real-time transactions with great speed and parallelism. Hence, analytical applications are much simpler and require only querying the database for analytic results. Now you can easily update the machine learning models, deploy new models, as well as monitor their performance, which can easily be conducted in the database without recompiling and redeploying. In addition, the database can serve as a central server for the enterprise’s analytical models as well as multiple intelligence applications which can leverage the same models. It is reflectively simple how mission-critical intelligent applications can now be built as well as managed in the enterprise.
 
Microsoft states,
 
“SQL Server 2016 comes with several features and tools to support cross-platform analytics. Polybase allows you to run queries on external data in Hadoop or Azure blob storage. It can push computation to Hadoop where appropriate, so that your analytical application can join and integrate data from big data stores with the data in the relational store. Microsoft R Services, which is integrated with SQL Server also runs on multiple Hadoop distributions and is also integrated with Azure HDInsight + Spark, enabling both choice and standardization in developing analytics code. And finally, R Tools for Visual Studio allows the ease of use of the modern Visual Studio IDE for developing analytical code in R.”
 
Benchmark leadership through efficient use of modern hardware
 
SQL Server 2016 comes with ground-breaking performance optimization and efficiencies, leading to new levels of performance and scale. Modern servers can now support large number of cores with sophisticated vector instructions, which can hold terabytes of memory, and provide very high I/O bandwidth with local flash storage.
Image Source: blogs.msdn.microsoft.com 
 
Large performance improvements from prior versions
 
Microsoft states,
 
“Our focus for SQL Server 2016 was to deliver great value for our customers with dramatic improvements while keeping the price the same. Simply by upgrading to SQL 2016, many customer workloads experienced large performance gains. For example, the 3TB TPC-H benchmark on the same hardware demonstrated a forty-eight percent performance gain1.”
 
SQL Server 2016 features were first released in Microsoft Azure and stress-tested in the real-world through over 1.7 million Azure SQL DB databases. It is battle-tested and several users have already been running on-premises production workloads on SQL Server 2016 prior to its general availability. 
 
Unmatched security record
 
Solid security is an essential requirement for any business application. Databases contain a significant portion of sensitive corporate data and intellectual property. If database security is compromised than the entire business will be at risk.
 
For six years, SQL Server has had the least vulnerabilities of any of the major database platforms, as per the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the government agency that monitors security vulnerabilities by technology, vendor, and product. Now SQL Server 2016 takes a step further as the constant encryption helps in protecting data at rest and in memory. The Transparent Data Encryption now encrypts all users data, with low performance overhead. The Dynamic Data Marketing (DDM) And Row Level Security (RLS) allows developers to build applications which restrict as well as protect data.
 
Unmatched value proposition 
 
SQL Server 2016 ships as a comprehensive data platform with everything built in. The powerful database engine with in-memory capabilities includes exclusive features such as JSON support for building modern apps, Stretch Database for reducing storage costs while keeping data available for querying in Azure, significantly faster Geospatial query support, Temporal Tables for traveling back in time and a Query Store for ensuring performance consistency.
 
Image Source:blogs.msdn.microsoft.com
 
Microsoft states
 
“We bundle in powerful data integration capabilities with SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Data Quality Services (DQS) and Master Data Services (MDS). We provide world-leading data warehousing capabilities, closely integrated with advanced analytics and machine learning through R. We provide a world-leading Business Intelligence engine with Tabular and Multidimensional models. We deliver end-to-end mobile BI solution on any device and you can add on self-service Power BI for a fraction of the total cost. The table below shows a simple competitive comparison that highlights the value of the SQL Server package.”