Ever need to have a test database on hand that you can allow others to query “real like” data without actually giving them actual production data values? In SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) 18.0 preview Microsoft introduces us to Static Data Masking
. Static Data Masking is a new feature that allows you to create a cloned copy of your database and replace sensitive data with new data (fake data, referred to as masked). You can use this for things like development of business reports and analytics, trouble shooting, database development and even sharing data with outside teams or third parties. Unlike Dynamic Data Masking
added in SQL Server 2016, this feature does not hide the data with characters, rather it replaces the entire value. For example with dynamic data masking the name Peter = Pxxxx, whereas Static Data Masking changes Peter to Paul. This makes it very easy to use in place of production. Let’s see it in action. If you are not on a newer version on SSMS, don’t worry, you can download it
It looks like there are a few limitations to keep in mind, so click through to read about those.