Microsoft's next-generation database platform is set for general availability on 1 June, the firm has disclosed, bringing greater performance for business-critical applications as well as new capabilities for analytics, business intelligence and closer integration with Microsoft's cloud services.
SQL Server 2016's release on June 1 follows the delivery to testers of a second Release Candidate version of the database management system back in March, and a third in mid-April.
Microsoft also disclosed that SQL Server 2016 will be available in four editions; Enterprise, Standard, Express, and Developer, with the latter available as a free download to encourage development on top of the latest SQL Server release.
The software giant is pitching SQL Server 2016 as a step up in capabilities over previous releases of the platform. It delivers a comprehensive high performance, high scale data platform for the most demanding applications and insights from data on any device, the firm said.
Key new capabilities include support for operational intelligence by combining built-in advanced analytics and in-memory technology; Always Encrypted technology that keeps data protected at rest and in transit; the ability to handle both relational and non-relational data structures (such as Hadoop); and the Stretch Database technology that allows customers to dynamically extend data from an on-premise SQL Server deployment to Microsoft's Azure public cloud.
"With this new innovation, SQL Server 2016 is the first born-in-the-cloud database, where features such as Always Encrypted and Role Level Security were first validated in Azure SQL Database by hundreds of thousands of customers and billions of queries," said Tiffany Wissner, senior director of Data Platform Marketing at Microsoft, announcing the upcoming release on the SQL Server Blog.
Microsoft also pointed to new benchmark figures for SQL Server 2016, claiming that these demonstrate it to be the "fastest in-memory database on the planet" for customer applications. The software giant claimed that the platform now holds two new TPC-E world record price/performance benchmarks, as well as the top TPC-H performance benchmarks for data warehousing, and the top performance benchmarks with leading business applications like PROS and KPMG.
The software giant is also making a big push for adoption of this generation of the SQL Server platform. It has already detailed an offer of free SQL Server licences for Oracle database users tempted to make the switch, and said it is developing a version of SQL Server 2016 that will run on Linux servers, although this is not expected until next year.
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