Microsoft readies a "near-final" SQL Server 2016 release candidate

According to a recent ZDNet post, Microsoft is almost ready to release nearly complete SQL Server 2016 database Release Candidate (RC). According to Mary Jo Foley, a Microsoft representative said the update would be coming out "this week;" the statement was confirmed yesterday, March 3.

SQL Server 2016 will have an evaluation version available for testers to use before Microsoft's "Data Driven" event on March 10. The Data Driven conference will feature keynotes from CEO Satya Nadella, Azure wizard Scott Guthrie, as well as Microsoft business customers, and will take a look at how data is transforming how companies operate their day-to-day business.

According to Microsoft's MSDN website, there will be a number of features available in SQL Server 2016 RC starting this month. SQL Server 2016 RC will provide the following features; UTF-8 support, new string functions, and parallel scan capabilities of nonclustered indexes on Memory-Optimized tables.

SQL Server Stretch Database preview on Azure will also be updated, adding the ability to support up to 1 petabyte of data (1,000 terabytes). In addition, SQL Server will add an option to use a federated service account to communicate with the remote Azure SQL Database server to the release candidate.

Microsoft released SQL Server 2016 Preview in May 2015 and expected the following features to be included in the final version of SQL Server 2016:

  • Always Encrypted - a new capability developed by Microsoft Research that is designed to protect data "at rest and in motion"

  • Stretch Database - new technology that lets allows users to dynamically stretch warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure

  • Enhancements to Microsoft's "Hekaton" in-memory technologies for real-time analytics

  • New in-database analytics with R integration

  • Polybase -- an engine that, to date, has been part of the SQL Server

  • Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance, for more easily managing relational and non-relational data

  • Row-level security, allowing users to control access to data based on characteristics of the user, without modifications to applications

  • Dynamic Data Masking -- supports real-time obfuscation of data to prevent access to unauthorized dataTemporal database support for tracking historical data changes

  • Query Data Store -- a "flight data recorder" for database administrators

  • Enhanced server management for Master Data Services

  • Enhanced hybrid backup to Azure and faster restores to SQL Server in Azure virtual machines

Watch Microsoft's Data Driven virtual event live on March 10 in New York City and register now for access to exclusive SQL Server information sessions with leading SQL Server experts.

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