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.

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.

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