Microsoft is pushing its hybrid cloud credentials with the release of a new SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate that will feature the ability to extend seamlessly onto the firm's Azure cloud platform, giving customers more choice in whether to store data on-premise or in the cloud.
The company has made an updated SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate with new hybrid enhancements available in preview. The first public preview of SQL Server 2016 was released last May.
Among the showcased hybrid capabilities is SQL Server Stretch Database, a new Azure companion service that allows customers dynamically to extend data from an on-premise SQL Server infrastructure to Azure.
"The Stretch Database service makes remote query processing possible by providing compute and storage in a way that's completely transparent to the application," said Mark Jewett, Microsoft's director of product marketing for cloud platform, detailing the new capability on the Azure blog.
The preview version enables customers to store up to 60TB per database in Azure, allowing them to keep much larger volumes of data on tap without incurring the high cost of traditional enterprise storage, Microsoft claimed.
It holds out the promise of organisations being able to shift less frequently used 'warm' or 'cold' data to the cloud and reserve on-premise storage for more critical data, without having to dispose of data that could prove useful later.
"SQL Server 2016 with the new Stretch Database service enables you to keep more data accessible for deep insights at significantly lower cost," Jewett said.
SQL Server Stretch Database can also integrate with Azure's Always Encrypted feature, which encrypts data before sending it to Azure. The encryption key remains on-premise to give customers the assurance that data stays protected regardless of whether it is stored on their own infrastructure or in the cloud.
Another new hybrid capability in SQL Server 2016 is support for Transactional Replication to Azure SQL Database. This expands on an existing option for replicating data to SQL Server in an Azure virtual machine, but now lets users replicate data directly to the Azure SQL Database service.
"This extends the options you have to back up your data to the cloud to ensure it's protected in worst-case scenarios. You can also migrate data from SQL Server on-premise to Azure SQL Database, providing a simple mechanism to move data to the cloud without downtime to the on-premise database," Jewett said.
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