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SQL Server 2016 Hits Release Candidate Stage, Gets Linux Support

Microsoft on Monday issued a release candidate (RC0) of its upcoming SQL Server 2016 database system, as well as announced its plans to enable SQL Server to run on Linux.

"This will enable SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud," said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, in a blog post. "We are bringing the core relational database capabilities to preview today, and are targeting availability in mid-2017."

In addition to the Linux capability, Microsoft also announced a new RC of SQL Server 2016 that includes a preview of the SQL Server Stretch Database service, which lets enterprises "stretch" their on-premises data to a service in the Microsoft Azure cloud.

"Right now, with SQL Server 2016 RC0, when you enable stretching to Azure from SQL Server Management Studio, the default behavior is to stretch to Azure SQL Database," the SQL Server team said in a blog post. "If you would like to preview the new Stretch Database service, you can enroll in the preview and we'll provide instructions for configuring your SQL Server 2016 database for this new service. For future builds of SQL Server 2016, Stretch Database service will be the default target location for stretching."

Microsoft made the announcements as a prelude to a Data Driven event this Thursday surrounding the RC0 preview in New York. General availability of SQL Server 2016 is scheduled for later this year.

Guthrie said the 2016 version of the software will provide:

  • New security encryption capabilities that enable data to always be encrypted at rest, in motion and in-memory to deliver maximum security protection.

  • In-memory database support for every workload with performance increases up to 30-100x.

  • Better data warehousing performance with the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 TPC-H 10 terabyte benchmarks for non-clustered performance, and the No. 1 SAP SD Two-Tier performance benchmark on Windows.

  • Business intelligence (BI) for every employee on every device -- including new mobile BI support for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.

  • Advanced analytics using new R support that lets customers do real-time predictive analytics on both operational and analytic data.

  • Unique cloud capabilities that enable customers to deploy hybrid architectures that partition data workloads across on-premises and cloud-based systems to save costs and increase agility.

IDC analyst Al Gillen weighed in on the plan to bring SQL Server to Linux, one of the best indications yet that Microsoft has changed its proprietary ways.

"This is an enormously important decision for Microsoft, allowing it to offer its well-known and trusted database to an expanded set of customers," Microsoft quoted Gillen as saying. "By taking this key product to Linux, Microsoft is proving its commitment to being a cross-platform solution provider. This gives customers choice and reduces the concerns for lock-in. We would expect this will also accelerate the overall adoption of SQL Server."

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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