First release candidate of SQL Server 2016 now available

We are excited to announce that our first SQL Server 2016 release candidate, SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate (RC) 0, is now available for download. This is an important milestone in the release of SQL Server 2016, as this marks feature completion for most dimensions of the product. It also means a very rich set of capabilities is now available, including real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on mobile devices, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technologies, and new hybrid scenarios allowing you to securely stretch data to the cloud.

As part of our new rapid release model, we will be publishing multiple release candidates on a more frequent cadence. SQL Server 2016 RC 0, which you can try in your development and test environments, is available for download or in an Azure VM today.

In SQL Server 2016 RC 0, we made enhancements to several features, including:

  • Stretch Database service: With this preview, SQL Server 2016 users can dynamically stretch their on-premises warm and cold data to an Azure service that is engineered from the ground up for compute capacity and virtually infinite storage.
  • Enhancements to In-Memory OLTP: In-Memory OLTP, which dramatically improves transaction processing performance, now has reduced downtime during upgrades.
  • Enhancements to SQL Server Analysis Services: A new Tabular Object model is released to allow easier development and maintenance through code against tabular models.
  • Enhancements to SQL Server Reporting Services: You can do much more in this next preview of the new Reporting Services web portal, including subscribe to reports, manage shared datasets, manage data caching and refresh, and more.

For additional detail, please visit the detailed RC 0 technical overview blog post and the RC 0 Analysis Services blog post.

To learn more, visit the SQL Server 2016 preview page. To experience the new, exciting features in SQL Server 2016 and the new rapid release model, download the preview or try the preview by using a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure and start evaluating the impact these new innovations can have for your business. To learn more about the SQL Server Stretch Database service preview, visit the product page in Azure.

Questions? Join the discussion of the new SQL Server 2016 capabilities at MSDN and StackOverflow. If you run into an issue or would like to make a suggestion, you can let us know with the Connect tool. We look forward to hearing from you!