Choose Your Edition

Grant Fritchey explains the differences between different editions of SQL Server:

SQL Server Enterprise Edition is the high end. Here is where you need to go to multi-terrabytes in size and you have massive transaction loads. You’re looking at very sophisticated availability and disaster recovery. Again, the name gives it away. You’re generally only going to this edition when you’re working at an enterprise level of scale and architecture. Since you’re just getting started, don’t worry about this.

My version of the story is, “Buy Enterprise Edition.  Don’t cheap out because you’ll regret it later.”  Grant’s version is much more thorough.

Launch Event Thoughts

Patrick Keisler sums up his thoughts on the Raleigh-Durham SQL Server 2016 Launch Discovery Day:

Your solution must be completed in 3 hours.

On paper this all sounds pretty easy, but in practice it was quite hard. I am no BI developer and the other members of my team did not have any expertise in that area either, but we still managed to create a solution and have fun doing so.

The first issue was had was how to combine our development work on the same database. This one was easy…just use Azure. In the span of about 30 minutes, I spun up a new Azure VM with SQL Server 2016 pre-installed, uploaded the database, setup logins, and opened the appropriate ports. I then gave my team members the URL and credentials so they each could connect from their laptops.

These are good thoughts, and I completely agree with the point that better data definition would have made for a better event.  Each one of the teams had to spend a lot of time cleaning up data, and I think that limited the teams’ ability to do really cool things.  I’d love to put something like this on again, but if that happens, I’m going to make sure we start with a good data model so people can do fun things on top of that rather than spend all their time scrubbing data (unless that’s the point of the exercise).

More Licensing Notes

Joey D’Antoni has additional information on licensing for SQL Server 2016:

SQL Server 2016 launched last week to great reviews and with a ton of great new features. I have been working with this version for well over a year now and extremely happy to see it hit RTM and be broadly adopted. So as DBAs it always sucks when you get excited about new features, only to find out the price changed, or vendor “O” made that feature a cost option. So what’s new with SQL Server 2016 licensing? (you won’t this as a session title at any upcoming SQL Server events).  Well first the good news—SQL Server 2016 is the same price and 2012 and 2014 (roughly $6800 core for Enterprise Edition). That’s definitely good news—Microsoft gave us a bunch of new functionality and didn’t raise the price. Additionally, if you see my below post on what is in Standard Edition, they added a lot of functionality there, too.

But we know finance and marketing employees have jobs to do as well, and there is no way they were letting a major version release happen without some changes. So let’s take a look at the one’s Denny Cherry (b|t) and I could glean out of the licensing guide. Please download and read for yourself.

There are a couple of interesting nuances that you’ll want to read up on.

T-SQL Tuesday: SQL 2016

Michael J. Swart is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday:

SQL Server 2016 went RTM this week and so naturally, we’re going to write about it. Here are a few writing prompts for you:

  • Check out what’s new. Microsoft has written a lot about their new features. Thomas Larock has written a really nice landing page for those posts, SQL Server 2016: It Just Runs Faster – Thomas Larock. Look through those links. Do you feel optimistic about 2016? Or maybe a bit disappointed? Let us know either way

  • Haven’t had time to download the bits, install them, explore and form thoughts on 2016 yet? Have no fear, check out Microsoft’s Virtual Labs. It lets you explore features without worrying about all the setup. In minutes you’ll be typing SELECT 'hello world';

Get writing!

Downloading SQL Express 2016

Dave Mason tries out SQL Server Express 2016:

I’m not a fan of the filename “SQLEXPRADV_x64_ENU.exe”. It’s not very descriptive IMO. But if you hover your mouse over the file, there’s a helpful file description tool tip. I’ll probably rename the file anyway.

The download process has changed significantly and I have to admit I’m surprised that I like it so much. I can be set in my ways and averse to change. But once I launched that initial “SQLServer2016-SSEI-Expr.exe” download, everything made sense.

Think back to SQL Server 2012 Express. Remember the “Choose the download you want” dialog? Those file names aren’t very intuitive. I had to Google them every time to make sure I picked the right one. It was slightly better for SQL Server 2014 Express. But still. Yuck!

Sounds like they’ve improved the download experience for Express edition.

Converting SSIS Solution Versions

Andy Leonard shows how to convert a SQL Server Integration Services solution from one version of SQL Server to another:

Note the “(SQL Server 2014)” beside the project name in Solution Explorer.

If I want to deploy this project to an SSIS Catalog on a SQL Server 2016 instance, I should update the project to SSIS 2016. How do I do this? In Solution Explorer, right-click the project name and click Properties

There are some nice screen shots to walk you through this.  I’m happy that SSIS is moving in a multi-version direction.  That makes it easier for me as a developer to upgrade my tools without needing three versions of Visual Studio (or SSDT).

Upgrading To RTM

John Sterrett walks us through upgrading an RC of SQL Server 2016 to RTM:

Please read the release notes. There actually might be a few things you need to complete before upgrading to GA especially if you are using Stretch Databases.

Everyone, should validate if they need to apply KB 3138367. msvcr120.dll should be version 12.0.40649.5 or higher.

This is a nice walkthrough with a lot of screen shots, making it easy to follow.

SQL Server 2016 RTM On Azure

Jens Vestergaard points out that SQL Server 2016 RTM is now available as an Azure VM:

As of today, the latest release of SQL Server is available as a Virtual Machine on Microsofts Azure Platform.
In a matter of minutes you’ll be able to try out all the new featuresthat was added.

If you can’t provision a local server and have Azure credits, this is another way to use SQL Server 2016.

SQL Server 2016 Features

James Serra gives us several methods for obtaining SQL Server 2016 and some of the new features:

Today is the day: SQL Server 2016 is available for download!  You can download all the versions(enterprise, standard, web, express with advanced services, express, developer) of SQL Server 2016 now if you have a MSDN subscription, and you can also create an Azure VM right now that includes SQL Server pre-installed with one of the versions (enterprise, standard, web, express).  Lastly, you can also experience the full features through the free evaluation edition (180 days) or the developer edition(you have to sign in to Visual Studio Dev Essentials, a free developer program, before you can download the developer edition).

Even though it’s a day old now, it’s not too late to grab a copy…

2016 Licensing Changes

Brent Ozar points out a couple of EULA changes with SQL Sever 2016, including sending telemetry results automatically:

Before 2016, you had to manually opt-in by checking a checkbox during installation.

With SQL Server 2016, there’s no checkbox – you’re opted in by default.

I’m actually a huge fan of app telemetry – sending crash reports and usage data back to the application developers in order to help make the app better. I want developers to know how I use their apps, because I want them to improve the parts of the app that I use the most. Heck, I’d be fine if SSMS turned on the microphone while I worked, and then did sentiment analysis. (They would see a very high number of four-letter words tied to the term “IntelliSense.”)

I’m generally fine with sending telemetry results, but I also think the option to disable this should be easier than a registry setting.

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