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Category: Versions

New in SQL Server Big Data Clusters

Daniel Coelho has an update on what’s available in SQL Server Big Data Clusters:

SQL Server Big Data Clusters (BDC) is a capability brought to market as part of the SQL Server 2019 release. Big Data Clusters extends SQL Server’s analytical capabilities beyond in-database processing of transactional and analytical workloads by uniting the SQL engine with Apache Spark and Apache Hadoop to create a single, secure, and unified data platform. It is available exclusively to run on Linux containers, orchestrated by Kubernetes, and can be deployed in multiple-cloud providers or on-premises.

Today, we’re proud to announce the release of the latest cumulative update, CU13, for SQL Server Big Data Clusters which includes important changes and capabilities:

Updating to the most recent production-ready version of Spark (as of today) is a nice upgrade.

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SQL Server Express Memory Limitations

Steve Stedman notes that the memory limitations on SQL Server Express Edition are not quite as stringent as you may first believe:

Looking at the memory limits and other limits on the SQL Server versions over time, we have seen things increase, but one limit that is still very low is the memory limit for SQL Express. Specifically the maximum memory for buffer pool per instance of SQL Server Database Engine for SQL 2019. The limit there is 1410 MB.

At first glance you may think that this limit is the total amount of memory that SQL Server will use, but let me show you a couple of screen shots for Database Health Monitor showing the memory utilization on two different SQL 2019 Express servers.

Read on to see what, exactly, the memory limitation is. Also, there are separate limits for things like In-Memory OLTP table sizes.

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Apache Flink 1.14.0 Released

Stephan Ewen and Johannes Moser have aa round-up of the latest Apache Flink updates:

The Apache Software Foundation recently released its annual report and Apache Flink once again made it on the list of the top 5 most active projects! This remarkable activity also shows in the new 1.14.0 release. Once again, more than 200 contributors worked on over 1,000 issues. We are proud of how this community is consistently moving the project forward.

This release brings many new features and improvements in areas such as the SQL API, more connector support, checkpointing, and PyFlink. A major area of changes in this release is the integrated streaming & batch experience. We believe that, in practice, unbounded stream processing goes hand-in-hand with bounded- and batch processing tasks, because many use cases require processing historic data from various sources alongside streaming data. Examples are data exploration when developing new applications, bootstrapping state for new applications, training models to be applied in a streaming application, or re-processing data after fixes/upgrades.

Read on for the list of changes.

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The Final Service Pack for SQL Server

Pedro Lopes announces the last service pack ever:

The 3rd and final Service Pack release for SQL Server 2016 is now available for download at the Microsoft Downloads site. This is also the last Service Pack for any SQL Server version, as previously announced in the Modern Servicing Model for SQL Server. Please note that registration is no longer required to download.

The cynic in me says “This is the final service pack ever, at least until they re-introduce them in five years under a slightly different name because people keep waiting for CU10 to drop before thinking about migrating to the latest version of the product.”

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Nonclustered Index Leaf Records and Null Bitmaps

Alex Stuart lays out a finding:

While testing a script that involved calculating index record size recently I was getting some confusing results depending on server version, and after some digging it appears there was a somewhat undocumented change to nonclustered index leaf page structure in SQL Server 2012.

Prior to 2012, as dicussed by Paul Randal in this 2010 blog post (which is still the top result for searching for ‘nonclustered index null bitmap’, hence this post) the null bitmap – that is, a >= 3 byte structure representing null fields in a record – was essentially present in all data pages but not the leaf pages of a nonclustered index that had no nulls in either the index key or any clustering key columns.

Read on for a demonstration using SQL Server 2008 R2 as well as SQL Server 2012.

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SQL Server 2012 End of Support

Debbi Lyons and Vijay Kumar have a reminder for us:

While new innovations keep lighting up in the latest releases of SQL Server and Windows Server, support for older versions along with security updates will eventually end. This can lead to the potential for compliance gaps for workloads that still rely on these versions and create missed opportunities to apply innovation to business-critical workloads. SQL Server 2012 and Windows Server 2012, and 2012 R2 End of Extended support is approaching:

– SQL Server 2012 Extended Support will end on July 12, 2022.

– Windows Server 2012 and 2012 R2 Extended Support will end on October 10, 2023.

The news this week has mostly been about SQL Server 2016 ending mainstream support, but this is a bigger one. Fortunately, there’s still a year to procrastinate plan.

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Reviewing the ConstantCare Population Report

Brent Ozar surveys the landscape:

Ever wonder how fast people are adopting new versions of SQL Server, or what’s “normal” out there for SQL Server adoption rates, hardware sizes, or numbers of databases? Let’s find out in the summer 2021 version of our SQL ConstantCare® population report.

Click through for Brent’s findings. It’s interesting to compare these against Steve Stedman’s findings, and these come with the same caveat about population.

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Ending Mainstream Support for SQL Server 2016

Allan Hirt gives us the skinny:

Today is July 13, 2021. Besides the anniversary of Live Aid in 1985 (had to sneak a music reference in somewhere!), today marks an important date: the end of mainstream support for SQL Server 2016The last Cumulative Update was CU17 released on March 29, 2021. UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Berry (Twitter | Blog), he pointed out that Microsoft announced that SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 3 is coming around September 2021 give or take.

Windows Server 2016 is on a similar trajectory. It is out of mainstream support on January 11, 2022 – less than six months from now.

What does this mean for you?

Read on to learn what it means.

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A Measure of Utilization by SQL Server Version

Steve Stedman some numbers:

Here listed is the current percentages of SQL server versions running our Daily Check-up with Database Health Monitor.

Do note that the population for this is “People who use Steve Steadman’s SQL Daily Checkup product” and not organizations which use SQL Server as a whole, so it’s not wise to apply findings from the first directly onto the second. That said, it doesn’t surprise me that 2016 is the most in-use version of SQL Server in this sample. It’s a little surprising how many 2014 instances there are, but that might be related to cardinality estimator changes.

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SQL Server 2016 Leaving Mainstream Support July 2021

Glenn Berry reminds us that time flies:

SQL Server 2016 falls out of Mainstream Support on July 13, 2021. What this means is that there won’t be any new Service Packs or Cumulative Updates released for SQL Server 2016 after that date. It is still in Extended Support until July 14th, 2026. While in Extended Support, there will still be security and critical functional updates, if any are needed. This post is about SQL Server 2016 falling out of Mainstream Support.

Read on for more information about what this means, as it’s not a situation to panic and immediately change everything.

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