SQL Server 2014 RTM

Yesterday Microsoft officially released SQL Server 2014. 

Tweeted by @SQLServer
Some of features that had me excited about this release are:

In-Memory Capabilities
Microsoft released a new feature called,  In-Memory OLTP and enhanced the existing feature known as Columnstore Indexes.

In-Memory OLTP
This is a memory-optimized database engine integrated into the SQL Server engine. It allows you to create tables in memory which can be used to provide performance improvements as well as deal with possible concurrency problems. Finally something cool for the DBAs!

Columnstore Index
ColumnStore indexes uses xVelocity In-Memory (formerly known as VertiPaq) technology to provide improvements in query execution time which is beneficial for common data warehouse data sets. This was a feature that was also introduced in SQL Server 2012. However you could only create nonclustered columnstore indexes and once created the tables cannot be updated. In SQL Server 2014, you can now create updatable clustered columnstore indexes and they also provided three new system views:

    • sys.column_store_segments
    • sys.column_store_dictionaries
    • sys.column_store_row_groups

AlwaysOn Availability Groups
This is a high availability and disaster recovery option that was introduced in SQL Server 2012 and gave the you all the benefits of Database Mirroring as well as other benefits such as Active Secondaries. SQL Server 2014 allow you to have a maximum of 8 secondary replicas (increased from 4). This is great for reporting and of course sharing the querying load. Also Readable secondary replicas stay online if  the primary isn't available. This was what was expected in 2012 but is should be available in 2014.

Hybrid Cloud Solutions
As I mentioned AlwaysOn AG I thought I should start off the cloud solutions features by highlighting the fact that you can now use Azure VMs as replicas through the Add Azure Replica wizard. Another feature is the ability to store data files as Windows Azure blobs. The last hybrid cloud feature that I wanted to highlight is SQL Server Managed Backup to Windows Azure. This allows users to manage and automate database and log backups to the Windows Azure blob storage both at the database and instance level.

Cardinality Estimation Improvements
Using knowledge of modern OLTP and data warehousing workloads, the cardinality estimator was redesigned to improve the query plans.

Other features include:
  • SSD buffer pool extension
  • Resource Governor for IO
  • Backup To URL
  • Encryption of Backups
  • Hosting a SQL Server Database in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine
  • Delayed Durability
  • Partition Switching and Indexing
  • Managing the Lock Priority of Online Operations
  • Incremental Statistics
  • Sysprep enhancements

SQL Server 2014 has new and improved features for everyone (DBAs, Developers and BI enthusiasts) and is definitely a product that you should be excited to get your hands on. You can download the evaluation from here or if you have an MSDN subscription then you can download it from here.


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