Microsoft has given notice that it will change the compatibility level used by the Azure SQL Database cloud service. The move will bring it in line with SQL Server 2016 and deliver higher performance for newly created databases, but developers need to be mindful of the change, the firm warned.
Azure SQL Database is Microsoft's cloud-native database service optimised for software-as-a-service app development, and offers compatibility with the majority of on-premise SQL Server features.
The default Azure SQL Database compatibility level is currently set to 120, the same as for SQL Server 2014. However, the default compatibility level for newly created databases will change in mid-June to 130, which is the same as for the newly released SQL Server 2016.
Guy Haycock, principal product planner for Microsoft's Azure Data Platform, explained that switching to compatibility level 130 enables developers to benefit from enhancements on SQL Server 2016's query processor.
It also allows them to improve the performance of query executions by taking advantage of features such as parallel plan execution, serial batch mode execution, and new query plan estimates.
Existing databases operating on the service will not be affected and will maintain their current compatibility level, but Microsoft strongly encourages customers to update the level used for their applications to take advantage of the new capabilities.
"Our experience shows that most workloads run as-is under compatibility level 130. However, there are always some exceptions, and due diligence is important to determine how much you can benefit from the enhancements," Haycock said on Microsoft's Azure blog.
Compatibility level is a feature of SQL Server intended to ensure that queries will be handled in the same way even if a database uses a newer version of the software than the version with which it was created. However, compatibility level provides only partial backwards compatibility with earlier versions of SQL Server, the firm warned.
More detailed information for developers and IT professionals regarding changing compatibility levels is available in a Microsoft TechNet document.
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