Uninstalling SQL Server 2016 SP1

David Alcock sounds an important note:

All of that is very good however a word of warning has been issued from the MSSQL Tiger Team if you are using SP1 on the “lower” version:”you might see some unforeseen errors or databases might even be left in suspect state after uninstallation of SQL Server 2016 SP1. Even worse would be if the system databases are using new features for example, partitioned table in master database, it can lead to SQL Server instance unable to start after uninstalling SQL Server 2016 SP1″.

This makes sense:  if you’re using new functionality and try to revert back to a version without that functionality available, there could be an issue.  David links to a test script you can use to see if your database is using any new features.

Connect Announcements

James Serra walks through all of the Microsoft Connect(); announcements:

Microsoft Connect(); is a developer event from Nov 16-18, where plenty of announcements are made.  Here is a summary of the data platform related announcements:

SQL Server 2016 SP1 was the huge announcement, but there are several other interesting announcements, including Kafka for HDInsight.  Click through for the list.

Columnstore On Standard Edition

Niko Neugebauer extends his Columnstore series with a post on what you can do with these indexes in Standard Edition:

Given the improvements and the availability of the of the programability surface for every edition (with some insignificant & logical limitations) that I have blogged about in
SQL Server 2016 SP1 – Programmability Surface for everyone!, I believe everyone using Microsoft Data Platform has rejoyced greatly. Of course, now everyone can have Columnstore Indexes on every SQL Server edition!
There are some noticeable limitations that were announced right from the start, such as the maximum size of the Columnstore Object Pool (you can find more information about it here – Columnstore Indexes – part 38 (“Memory Structures”)), but there are more limitations to the Standard Editions and inferior ones and it is extremely important to know them, to understand them in order to make the right decision – when your Business is ready/needed to upgrade to the Enterprise Edition of the SQL Server.

If you’re on Standard Edition and excited about using Columnstore, do read Niko’s post.  Columnstore won’t work as fast as it does on Enterprise Edition (gotta have a reason to upgrade) but based on what he’s shown thus far, Columnstore is still a good reason to upgrade to 2016 SP1 if you’re on Standard Edition.

Upgrade To 2016?

Kendra Little explains why upgrading to 2016 is a good idea:

I know most of y’all care about Standard Edition.

With SP1, you can use all sorts of (formerly) super-expensive features like data compression, partitioning, Columnstore, Change Data Capture, Polybase, and more in Standard Edition.

A few features have scalability caps in “lower” editions. There’s a memory limit for In-Memory OLTP (aka Hekaton), and Columnstore. Columnstore also has restrictions on parallelism.

I’ll also throw out my experience as an anecdote:  2016 has been more stable than 2014 in our environment.  I don’t regret going to 2014, but we’re better off on 2016.

New Features In 2016 SP1

Niko Neugebauer looks at new functionality released as part of SQL Server 2016 SP1:

CREATE OR ALTER. I almost cried when I found out that it was implemented. I was asking, begging, threatening, crying for years to get this in the SQL Server. Now, I can finally have future project deployments of those who are not using SSDT running with much less problems.
Now we can modify and deploy objects like Stored Procedures, Triggers, User-Defined Functions, and Views without any fear. Just “Make it so!”

Yeah, they’re not as big as “every Enterprise Edition development feature over the past decade is now available to anybody” but there are some nice additions here.

SQL Server 2016 SP1

Parikshit Savjani notes that SQL Server 2016 SP1 is available:

The following table compares the list of features which were only available in Enterprise edition which are now enabled in Standard, Web, Express, and LocalDB editions with SQL Server 2016 SP1. This consistent programmatically surface area allows developers and ISVs to develop and build applications leveraging the following features which can be deployed against any edition of SQL Server installed in the customer environment. The scale and high availability limits do not change, and remain as–is for lower editions as documented in this MSDN article.

This is huge.  With SQL Server 2016 SP1, you can get data compression, In-Memory OLTP, partitioning, database snapshots, Polybase, Always Encrypted, and a lot more in Standard edition.  If you’re on Standard Edition today, this is a must-upgrade—some of these have been Enterprise-only features for nearly a decade and they were a huge part of the appeal for paying for Enterprise.  My question is, what are they going to announce to make people want to keep buying Enterprise Edition?

Upgrading SSMS

Melissa Coates argues that you should upgrade to the latest version of Management Studio:

SSMS is supported for managing SQL Server 2008 through 2016 (except for SSIS instances which sadly still require a version-specific SSMS at the time of this writing). If you manage numerous servers on different versions, this unification is fantastic. There is partial support for managing pre-2008 instances. And, of course as you’d expect, the newest SSMS release supports various new features in SQL Server 2016 such as Query Statistics, Live Query Plans, Compare Showplan, Security Policies for row-level security, and so on with all the new 2016 goodies we have.

SSMS also supports managing Azure components such as Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Data Warehouse, as well as hybrid cloud features such as StretchDB and Backup to URL. This additional unification is really, really handy.

I have a copy of SSMS 16 for reading Query Store, but not all of my plugins have been updated yet, so I’m still living in SSMS 2014 for now.

Attaching Databases With CDC Enabled

Amit Banerjee notes an issue with detaching a database with Change Data Capture enabled and moving it to a new version of SQL Server:

When you detach a database with Change Data Capture enabled on SQL Server 2014 and below and attach it to a SQL Server 2016 instance, you could run into the error mentioned below while execute Change Data Capture (CDC) related procedures.

Error:

Msg 22832, Level 16, State 1, Procedure sp_cdc_enable_table_internal, Line 639 [Batch Start Line 0]

Could not update the metadata that indicates table [<schema name>].[<object name>] is enabled for Change Data Capture. The failure occurred when executing the command ‘insert into [cdc].[captured_columns]’. The error returned was 213: ‘Column name or number of supplied values does not match table definition.’. Use the action and error to determine the cause of the failure and resubmit the request.

Read on to learn more, including how to fix the issue.

Datetime Conversion Change

Dan Guzman notes a change in behavior in how datetime fields are upconverted:

SQL Server 2016 and Azure SQL Database V12 use the raw datetime internal value without rounding during conversion to another temporal type. The value is rounded only once during conversion, to the target type precision. The end result will be the same as before SQL Server 2016 when the target type precision is 3 or less. However, the converted value will be different when the target type precision is greater than 3 and the internal time unit interval is not evenly divisible by 3 (i.e. rounded source datetime millisecond value is 3 or 7). Note the non-zero microseconds and nanoseconds in the script results below and that rounding is based on the target type precision rather than the source.

This is a good thing on net, but be aware of this if you try to compare datetime versus datetime2 values.

SQL Server 2016 CU2 And Spinlocks

Arvind Shyamsundar has a nice post on SQL Server 2016’s Cumulative Update 2 and how it reduces spinlock contention:

The developers then took a long hard look at how to make this more efficient on such large systems. As described before, since operations on the cache are read-intensive, there was a thought to leverage reader-writer primitives to optimize locking. However, any changes to this spinlock had to be validated extensively before releasing publicly as they may have a drastic impact if incorrectly implemented.

The implementation of the reader / writer version of this spinlock was an intricate effort and was done carefully to ensure that we do not accidentally affect any other functionality. We are glad to say that the final outcome, of what started as a late night investigation in the SQLCAT lab, has finally landed as an improvement which you can use! If you download and install Cumulative Update 2 for SQL Server 2016 RTM, you will observe two new spinlocks in the sys.dm_os_spinlock_stats view:

  • LOCK_RW_CMED_HASH_SET
  • LOCK_RW_SECURITY_CACHE

These are improved reader/writer versions of the original spinlocks. For example, LOCK_RW_CMED_HASH_SET is basically the replacement for CMED_HASH_SET, the spinlock which was the bottleneck in the above case.

Click through for the full story.

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