SQL Server 2016 Nears Completion with 'Final' Release Candidate

Microsoft recently issued the final release candidate (RC) of its upcoming SQL Server 2016 product.

In a blog post Friday, Microsoft called SQL Server 2016 RC3 the "last of our publicly-available release candidates." Somewhat confusingly, RC3 is actually the fourth SQL Server 2016 release candidate; the first two (RC0 and RC1) were issued in March, and the third (RC2) was released earlier in April.

RC3 presents the last time for organizations to evaluate and test SQL Server 2016 before it hits general availability in the coming months, according to the post.

"Our SQL Server Release Candidates represent important milestones in the release of SQL Server 2016, as the product is now essentially feature complete, and means that a very rich set of capabilities is now available," Microsoft said. "These include real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on mobile devices, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technologies and new hybrid scenarios that allow you to securely stretch data to the cloud."

RC3 includes no new features. Instead, Microsoft is treating RC3 as a tune-up to SQL Server 2016 on its way to final release.

"The improvements in SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate 3 (RC3) primarily consist of bug fixes and other work to increase the stability and reliability of SQL Server 2016," Microsoft wrote in the release documentation. "We continue to refine the product for general availability."

The previous release candidate, RC2, was issued during Microsoft's Build 2016 conference in San Francisco. That version included row-level security, Stretch Database capabilities and support for the open source R statistical computing programming language, which Microsoft acquired from its purchase of Revolution Analytics last year.

Microsoft has not indicated what features, if any, will be included in the general availability version compared to this final release candidate. SQL Server 2016 RC3 can be downloaded here for an evaluation period of 180 days.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.