What Do We Think About SQL 2016?
Microsoft's latest edition of SQL Server has arrived, with a lot of bells and whistles included. We've had some time to tinker with SQL 2016 and here is a breakdown of what you're getting when you add or upgrade.
Our primary concern (as yours probably is as well) we had during our experimentation and exploration was: Is SQL Server 2016 worth the cost of upgrading?
Before we tried out the 2016 edition, we heavily utilized SQL 2014 and our findings and opinions will be carrying weight to those used to and comfortable with SQL 2014.
However, if you are on a SQL edition that is 2012 or older, we can outright say that the security enhancements are well worth upgrading. Below is a timeline of the various improvements Microsoft has made throughout SQL Server's timeline.
Let's dig into the top 5 features that we found really advantageous and think you will also enjoy:
1. 100% Encryption
- There is a new feature in SQL Server 2016 called "Always Encrypted". It ensures that the data within your database will always stay encrypted whether it's in a moving, stopped, or active database.
2. In-Memory Optimization
- You might have heard of this before, as it was introduce (in a relatively primitive form relative to now) in 2014. In-memory optimization got an overhaul in 2016, and now greatly increases scalability, being able to adapt with your hardware. As hardware has gotten significantly more powerful throughout the years, the developers at Microsoft have figured out a way to maximize that potential, such as multi-threaded workloads and low latency for all of your operations, among other uses. The number of operations that the database can process has been documented to show an increase of 30 times over!
- With the various data stores that are around, it can be quite difficult and frustrating to analyze data that is not structured as a table. Polybase essentially gives you the flexibility to query external data such as hadoop or azure. Simply put, you will not need any additional software tools in order to analyze that data anymore, as SQL Server can do it natively now, improving the efficiency of analytics even further.
4. Query Store
- Admins have the ability to maintain a history of all the query executions plans and can utilize their performance data. It will also identify your queries that have decreased in performance recently and will allow developers to correct the plan.
5. JSON Data
- You can now quickly move your JSON data into formulated tables. For us this was a complete game changer, as almost all of our data is primarily delivered to us in JSON format. With this feature we can formulate structured tables, and efficiently sort our data through multiple queries, helping us optimize our business targeting, purchasing patterns, search trends, among so many other things. This has been definitely our favorite feature of SQL Server 2016.
Conclusion: We love SQL 2016. We utilize it now in our corporate office and our sales/support office. We personally found the JSON Data modifications to be most helpful for our IT staff and highly recommend everyone try the free evaluation to see if you can find a feature that's worth upgrading for. Efficient data management has become one of the quintessential building blocks for companies looking to grow, and with the latest SQL Server, you will have all the tools you need to optimize your data as well.
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Let us know what your thoughts are or send us any questions you might have!
Trusted Tech Team
"Your Friendly Neighborhood Nerds"