SQL 2014: Top Features and Resources


Onur Dogruoz


With the introduction of SQL Server 2014 approaching fast, I wanted to briefly touch on some key technologies coming in the new version. As in 2012 release, SQL Server 2014 also focuses on 3 key areas; Business Intelligence, high availability/performance and hybrid cloud capabilities. Especially Windows Azure integration and simplified deployment scenarios are creating a lot of opportunities that we would hardly consider before. Let's have a quick look at these exciting capabilities of SQL Server 2014.

1. In-memory OLTP : This is probably my favorite new capability in SQL Server 2014. Formerly known as project "Hekaton", this is a new memory optimized database engine integrated into SQL Server engine. Depending on the application, using this new capability can boost OLTP performance up to 30x (in some cases even more) without changing the hardware/VM configuration. There are a lot of resources out there but a good starting point will be SQL Server Team Blog, MSDN and of course In-Memory OLTP Whitepaper.

2. Windows Azure Integration : Now within SQL Server Management Studio -SSMS, you can easily create backups, deploy your databases to Windows Azure VMs or Windows Azure SQL Database. Built-in wizards lets you setup all this hybrid configuration with just couple clicks.

SQL Server Backup/Restore to/from Windows Azure Blob Storage Service

Deploying database to Windows Azure SQL VM and/or to Windows Azure SQL Database

Extending Availability Groups to Azure SQL VM

3. Enhanced AlwaysOn Availability Groups and Resource Governor

AlwaysOn Availability Groups now supports up to 8 replicas (up from 4 in SQL 2012) and new Availability Groups wizard allows you to extend the availability groups configuration to Windows Azure directly. Another big improvement with this release is, during quorum loss, readable replicas remain available.


Resource Governor allows you to manage resource consumption of SQL workloads by creating resource pools. So that, you can make sure all applications are performing as expected. Until SQL Server 2014, we could only specify CPU and memory limits of a pool. Now, it’s also possible to specify limits on physical IO requests.

As I mentioned, new and/or improved capabilities are not limited to what I briefed above. For a detailed breakdown, please checkout What's New in SQL Server 2014 on MSDN.

Thank you!

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