SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 Released

Microsoft announced the first service pack (SP1) of its SQL Server 2016 product on Wednesday at its Connect() developer conference, taking place this week in New York.

SQL Server 2016 became generally available this past June. Microsoft says SP1 will add "key improvements" to the relational database management solution.

"With SQL Server 2016 SP1, we are making key improvements allowing a consistent programmability surface area for developers and organizations across SQL Server editions," wrote Parikshit Savjani, senior product manager for the SQL Product Group, in a blog post. "This will enable you to build advanced applications that scale across editions and cloud as you grow. Developers and application partners can now build to a single programming surface when creating or upgrading intelligent applications, and use the edition which scales to the application's needs."

What this means is that features like row-level security and dynamic data masking -- capabilities only offered in the more-expensive Enterprise version of SQL Server 2016 -- will be available in the Standard, Wev, LocalDB and Express versions. Paying for the higher-end versions of SQL Server 2016 will now only grant users better performance and compatibility with specific hardware.

Microsoft is bringing other features and changes with SP1, including:

  • Database Cloning: Microsoft said this new feature was designed for analyzing specific databases by making a copy of the schema, statistics and metadata, and excluding the actual data. The company notes that this feature isn't made to clone an existing database for production, but for testing and troubleshooting.

  • Create or Alter Controls: This will allow users to deploy or modify stored procedures, user-defined functions, views and triggers. Microsoft noted that this was one of the most requested features.

  • USE HINT Query Option: This new query option will change the query optimizer behavior to take into account nine query level hints, including DISABLE_OPTIMIZED_NESTED_LOOP, FORCE_LEGACY_CARDINALITY_ESTIMATION and DISABLE_PARAMETER_SNIFFING.

  • Support for tempdb: SQL Server 2016 SP1 will include an error log message notifying the number, sizes and autogrowth of tempdb files.

  • Improved AlwaysOn latency diagnostics and manual change tracking cleanup.

The full list of improved and added features can be found here.

SQL Server 2016 SP1 will also include a rollup of all the cumulative updates up to the November release. The service pack can be downloaded directly from Microsoft Download Center.

In other SQL Server 2016 news from the Connect() conference, Microsoft announced that the Linux version of SQL Server database software, which entered closed preview in March, is now available for public preview.

About the Author

Chris Paoli is the site producer for and


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