Big news came out of Redmond yesterday. SQL Server 2014 will be publicly released on April 1, 2014. This version brings the highly anticipated, in-memory OLTP for SQL Server (formerly code named Hekaton). SQL Server in-memory OLTP works with standard x64 hardware. It also can be easily added to existing OLTP applications with no large code changes/migrations needed to enjoy the speed benefits in-memory technology offers. Other enhancements include but are not limited to improved cloud back up, better hybrid support, cluster index improvements, improved performance, resource governor, automated sysprep installs and other database administrator features. SQL Server in-memory OLTP is Microsoft’s compete with SAP’s HANA and other in-memory database solutions. I have no doubt that SQL Server 2014 will be a hugely popular release.
For those of you that are interested in seeing the Microsoft product team technical overview of SQL Server 2014, I have a SQL Server 2014 300 Technical Level deck posted on my SlideShare. I also highly recommend downloading the SQL Server 2014 Product Guide materials. The Product Guide contains a plethora of fantastic technical information, presentations and white papers.
For my BI and analytics readers, aside from columnstore index there really is not much else new, wild and exciting for BI in SQL Server 2014. There might be some improvements in MDS, DQS, SSIS, SSRS or the various SSAS flavors but I have not seen them discussed anywhere. Note sometimes there are indeed improvements that are merely bug fixes or smaller things that product marketing does not feel are worthy to mention. Every once in a while that overlooked “small” feature is a gem. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see much for BI when you dig in. Almost all of the new Microsoft BI features right now are in the Office 365 Power BI and cloud realm.
On a related note, Microsoft also fared quite well in the recent 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Data Warehouse Database Management Systems. If you work with data and data warehouses, this report is a good read for you to get a current pulse of the market, players and trends. From my market pulse perspective, I can share that I am seeing much more interest in PDW (Microsoft’s Parallel Data Warehouse) than I have in the past. Big data and NoSQL may be making significant strides and altering the landscape but they seem to be added to existing technical architectures as a supplement…not a data warehouse replacement. Hearing industry analyst briefings, I can share that a common theme seems to be big data technology is not quite where it needs to be yet for wider adoption. Right now there are early adoption pains, disappointments, security is lacking, performs poorly, tools are immature and these technologies are not replacing most relational databases today. Don’t take that the wrong way – big data technologies are going mainstream in the near future. They just happen to shine brightly when used for different use cases that a relational database or data warehouse can not handle.