by Jonathan Gardner
US Partner Technology Strategist for Microsoft Azure
The first blog posts for the Azure Partner Community in 2016 focused on Microsoft data platforms and advanced analytics. How businesses collect, store, analyze, utilize, and protect data was a significant trend and subject for much discussion in 2015. There are so many opportunities for partners in this particular area of technology that we’ll now be publishing a blog series for the US Partner Community that specifically addresses the Microsoft products and technologies that help customers get insights from their data to make better business decisions, faster. We’ll cover both cloud and on-premises solutions, and explore a wide range of topics from database administration to building dashboards.
You can read my first two posts about data platforms and advanced analytics by clicking the links below:
- Azure Partner Community: Big data, advanced analytics, and lambda architecture
- Azure Partner Community: SQL Server and Azure SQL Database
My next few posts will cover the upcoming release of SQL Server 2016. In this post, I’ll talk about what’s new, what to expect, and where to get the newest public preview bits to test out.
SQL Server 2016 introduction
Security is the foundation of any data platform. No company wants to be the next one to experience a data breach that undermines their customers’ confidence in them. Microsoft considers security a top priority, and the focus on a commitment to security is evident in SQL Server 2016. New Always Encrypted technology provides encryption of data both at rest and in flight. The encryption key resides inside the application in the customer environment, and decryption of the data happens inside the application. Always Encrypted is not the only security enhancement in SQL Server 2016. Enhancements to Dynamic Data Masking and Row Level Security increase the options organizations have for encrypting their data.
Microsoft is committed to offering flexibility in its platforms and providing choices for users that span on-premises and cloud. It is not a question of whether to use the cloud, but how to use it. SQL Server 2016 makes new hybrid scenarios possible, enabled by Stretch Database technology that allows for on-premises implementations of SQL Server to extend directly into the cloud. This extension supports scenarios where archived transactional data can be offloaded to Microsoft Azure, keeping high priority data in the local datacenter. Stretch Database in SQL Server 2016 makes it possible to accommodate archived data natively, with a cost effective, scalable solution.
Big data and advanced analytics are top of mind for companies that want to use the information at their disposal to make more informed and better business decisions. SQL Server 2016 doesn’t miss out on the fun of advanced analytics, and brings the power of R processing—through our acquisition last year of Revolution Analytics—directly into SQL Server. SQL Server 2016 also includes PolyBase. The processing power is certainly a nice feature, but the ability to access data meaningfully to make decisions is equally important. In keeping with our mobile-first strategy, the rich visualizations created using SQL Server 2016 can be viewed on mobile devices with native apps for Windows, iOS, and Android.
There are many new features and capabilities in SQL Server 2016 that represent a significant and exciting leap forward in the Microsoft data platform. Here are the resources I recommend to start learning about the possibilities for your partner business and your customers.
- SQL Server 2016 Preview page on Microsoft.com
- Read the SQL Server 2016 data sheet
- Download the SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview
The SQL Server Evolution