SQL Server 2016 Release Day

Today is the official release day for SQL Server 2016.

I’ll be watching the SQL Server 2016 page as well as the Data Platform Insiders blog for an official announcement.

Update: as of noon eastern, SQL Server 2016 RTM is now available.

On The Edge

Kendra Little answers a question on version novelty:

Dear SQL DBA,

What are your thoughts on the early adoption of new SQL Server versions? Specifically, if the business is willing to assume the risk of early adoption just to get one new feature that they can probably live without, should DBAs be happy and willing to assume that risk too? Or, is it our responsibility to “just say no” until it has been tested? I would like to hear about any experience you have with this. Thanks.

Bleeding in Edgeville

Go read Kendra’s answer because it’s a good one.  My answer is, I want to be on the edge.  I’ve run into V1 bugs and had to spike projects before they made it to production, but if there’s a good benefit to moving, and if your business side is supportive, I’d lean heavily toward fast upgrades.

Downgrading Databases

Stephen West shows how to migrate a database to an earlier version of SQL Server:

The error occurs as SQL Server database files and backups are not backward compatible restricting restore of database created from higher SQL Server version to lower version. Below are some of the steps to migrate the SQL Server Database from higher version to lower version:

1. Use Generate Scripts wizard of SQL Server Management Studio in Higher version

In this step, we will first script the schema of the desired Database on SQL Server 2012 instance to migrate the database to SQL Server 2008 R2 using Generate Scripts wizard of the SQL Server Management Studio.

There’s no easy way to do this; database upgrades are generally a one-way action.

SQL Server 2016 Editions For BI

John White discusses which version of SQL Server 2016 you should use for business intelligence work:

SQL Server 2016 removes the BI Edition as an option, leaving us with a choice between only Standard and Enterprise. The biggest news in my opinion from a licensing perspective with 2016 is that Tabular Mode will now be supported in Standard Edition. This puts the tabular model within the reach of all organizations, and closes the licensing gap in the BI stack. This is fantastic news.

There are of course limitations with Standard mode. Tabular in Standard Mode is restricted to 16 GB of RAM, which may seem like a lot, but keep in mind that tabular is an in-memory technology. It’s possible to bump into this limit fairly quickly, but it’s a limit that serves the small/medium business space rather well.

It’s surprising (in a good way) that John recommends Standard Edition, at least for small and medium businesses.

More RAM In Standard Edition Requested

Erik Darling wants Standard Edition to support more RAM:

Microsoft needs to make money. I get it. There’s no such thing as a free etc. But do they really need to make Enterprise licensing money off of people who will never use a single Enterprise feature? Should a small shop with a lot of data really have to make a $5000 jump per core just to cache another 128-256GB of data? That seems unreasonable to me. RAM is cheap. Licensing is not.

I wouldn’t suggest à la carte pricing, because licensing is already complicated enough. What could make sense is offering higher memory limits to shops with Software Assurance. Say up to 512GB on Standard Edition. That way, Microsoft can still manage to keep the lights on, and smaller shops that don’t need all the pizzaz and razzmatazz of Enterprise Edition can still hope to cache a reasonable amount of their data.

It’s an interesting argument.  I’m always sympathetic to having more features (and I’m including stretching limits as a feature here) in Standard Edition as not every company can afford Enterprise Edition.

BI Features In 2016

Jessica Moss compares 2014 versus 2016 with respect to Business Intelligence features:

Good-bye, Business Intelligence Edition
The biggest surprise to me was the removal of the Business Intelligence edition that was initially introduced in SQL Server 2012.  Truthfully, it never seemed to fit in the environments where I worked, so I guess it makes sense.  Hopefully, fewer licensing options will make it easier for people to understand their licensing and pick the edition that works best for them.

2016 looks to be a great version for BI.

Thoughts On Standard Edition

Joey D’Antoni points out new features available in Standard Edition:

In my circles, there are number of people who are complaining about the lack of features in standard edition. While I do agree that Always Encrypted should be in every version, as lack of strong data encryption is a problem that continues to confound IT. Putting Always Encrypted in all editions would be a good start to having wide ISV adoption of the Always Encrypted feature.

However, even without Always Encrypted, Microsoft added a LOT of new features to Standard Edition. Let’s list them (no specific order here):

There’s a pretty good amount of value in upgrading, even if you’re living on Standard Edition.

SQL Server 2016 Release Date: June 1

Microsoft has made it official:

  • SQL Server 2016 will be generally available on June 1, 2016. This will allow you to build mission-critical, and business critical intelligent applications with the most secure database1, the highest performance data warehouse2, end-to-end mobile BI on any device, in-database advanced analytics, in-memory capabilities optimized for all workloads, and a consistent experience from on-premises to cloud. These capabilities are built-in to SQL Server for industry-leading low cost of ownership.

They also announced what will be in each edition.

Interesting Standard versus Enterprise bits for me:

  1. Polybase Compute nodes may be Standard edition but head nodes must be Enterprise
  2. Row-level security and data masking appear to be Standard edition features
  3. R support will be in all editions, but “full” parallelism requires Enterprise edition

SQL Server 2016 RC 3 Available

Microsoft has announced RC 3 of SQL Server 2016:

SQL Server 2016 RC 3 is the last of our publicly-available release candidates. You can try this in your development and test environments, and it is available for download today.

In SQL Server 2016 RC 3, enhancements consisted primarily of bug fixes. We continue to refine the product for general availability. For the current release notes, see SQL Server 2016 Release Notes.

That “last of our publicly-available release candidates” thing says to me that we’re going to see RTM soon.

A Tribute To SQL 2005

Brent Ozar gives his tribute to SQL Server 2005:

I remember the first time I used SQL Server 2005.

I was a database administrator working on a new-build data warehouse project in Miami. Both our data warehouse and SQL Server 2005 were looking like they were going to come out at the same time, and I kept hoping I could make the timing work.

SQL Server 2005 looked so seductive. Let’s take just a moment to think back about all the cool new technologies it introduced:

SQL Server 2005 was, in my opinion, the first enterprise-quality version of SQL Server.  2000 was a great start but wasn’t quite there yet.  This version, though, was quite nice.

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