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SQL 2014 - Bringing Sexy Back to Databases

For the average person that uses the internet, they probably have no idea just how many databases they are touching at any given moment and certainly no idea of how much data is being collected and stored while they click, shop and surf the web.  Most probably don’t care to hear the specifications of the database or the feature set of the latest versions on the market.  My experience has shown that if there’s one Microsoft product that tends to be a little boring, it’s the SQL database. 

But SQL 2014, you could easily argue, is bringing the sexy back to Databases and is clearly a product ready for the future and ready for 50 billion intelligent systems all connected to the cloud.

Here we are just two short years from the time that SQL 2012 was released and many would ask: do I really need to take a closer look at SQL 2014?  Yes!  You do!  It has some major improvements that take it to the next level and provide enormous value for the investment and certainly even more so for those companies still running the older SQL 2008 or 2008 R2.

So what’s so great about SQL Server? It’s the most widely used database on the planet, has been around for more than 20 years, and currently holds a 46% market share for databases.  It has one of the most robust partner ecosystems with over 70,000 partners and is also supported by a large community of .NET developers.

So let’s talk what’s new and sexy about the 2014 edition.  First off the maximum memory utilized by the SQL Standard edition database has been doubled from 64Gb to 128Gb and you can now extend Buffer Pool to SSD drives which will significantly improve I/O throughput and performance at a lower cost.  Those two features alone are enough for most to make the jump but if that isn’t sexy enough let me note a few other enhancements:  

  1. In-Memory OLTP Engine enables memory optimization of selected tables and stored procedures which if used you can expect up to 20 times better performance over SQL 2012.
  2. AlwaysOn Enhancements such as expanding the maximum number of secondary replicas from four to eight.  Also readable secondary replicas are now available for read workloads even when the primary replica is unavailable.  Even sexier is the ability to create asynchronous secondary replicas in Windows Azure.
  3. Storage I/O Control has updated the Resource Governor which allowed control over the CPU and memory limits on a workload basis to now extend to storage I/O which can now limit the physical I/Os issued for user threads in a given resource pool.
  4. Backup Encryption has been added giving you the ability to encrypt database backups for at-rest data protection.  It supports several encryption algorithms including AES 128, AES 192, AES 256 and Triple DES.
  5. Backup to Windows Azure!  Fully built into the SQL Server Management Studio is the ability to backup your on-premises SQL 2014 instances to Windows Azure Storage.

I know talking about databases isn’t that sexy unless you are a database admin however I still personally think that SQL 2014 has a number of very impressive and sexy new features that should be more than enough to get DB admins adding it to their 2014 budget upgrade wish list.

I should also add that SQL 2014 is available via many different license programs such as Volume licensing, Embedded as well as ISV. We all know the licensing can get tricky if you have your DB instance running in a load balanced VM so make sure and contact me if you want to go over any of the licensing scenarios that you could argue are not sexy – not at all.

Want to learn more about SQL 2014 or perhaps take it for a test drive? Check out this link to download an eval version and see for yourself why SQL 2014 truly is brining the sexy back to servers.