Microsoft unveils SQL Server 2016: The database for mission-critical intelligence

 |   Pornravee Suramool


The world around us, every business and nearly every industry, is being transformed by technology. This disruption is driven, in part, by the intersection of three trends: a massive explosion of data, intelligence from machine learning and advanced analytics, and the economics and agility of cloud computing.

While databases power nearly every aspect of business today, they were not originally designed with this disruption in mind. Traditional databases were about recording and retrieving transactions such as orders and payments very reliably, very securely and efficiently. They were designed to enable reliable, secure, mission-critical transactional applications at small to medium scale, in on-premises datacenters.

Databases built to get ahead of today’s disruptions do very fast analyses of live data in-memory as transactions are being recorded or queried. They support very low latency advanced analytics and machine learning, such as forecasting and predictive models, on the same data, so that applications can easily embed data-driven intelligence. They allow databases to be offered as a fully managed service in the cloud, in turn making it easy to build and deploy intelligent Software as a Service (SaaS) apps.

They also provide innovative security features built for a world where a majority of data is accessible over the Internet. They support 24×7 high-availability, efficient management and database administration across platforms. They therefore enable mission critical intelligent applications to be built and managed both in the cloud and on-premises. They are exciting harbingers of a new world of ambient intelligence.

We built SQL Server 2016 for this new world, and to help businesses get ahead of today’s disruptions. It supports hybrid transactional/analytical processing, advanced analytics and machine learning, mobile BI, data integration, always encrypted query processing capabilities and in-memory transactions with persistence. It is also perhaps the world’s only relational database to be “born cloud-first,” with the majority of features first deployed and tested in Azure, across 22 global datacenters and billions of requests per day. It is customer tested and battle ready.

Industry analysts recognize the breadth and depth of our capabilities in data, intelligence and the cloud. Microsoft is the only company recognized as a leader across data platforms and cloud by Gartner in both vision and execution, in database, business intelligenceadvanced analyticsdata warehousecloud infrastructure and cloud application platforms.

The customers we’ve been working with in preview share our excitement and are already benefiting from new innovations, such as built-in analytics.

PROS Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: PRO) is a revenue and profit realization company that helps B2B and B2C customers achieve their business goals through data science. Royce Kallesen, senior director of Science and Research at PROS says: “Microsoft R’s parallelization and enhanced memory management on the server integrated with SQL Server provides much faster results on a common platform with built-in security.” They have realized over 100x faster advanced analytics using SQL Server and built-in Microsoft R Server.

In addition to faster analytics, the real-time in-memory processing capabilities of SQL Server are industry leading. This technology allows up to 100x faster analytics with updatable in-memory columnstores. In addition, as the only commercial database that leads simultaneously in both transaction processing (per the TPC-E benchmark) and data warehousing (per the TPC-H benchmark), SQL Server allows customers to realize incredible performance against massive data sets and gain real-time insights – across all workloads, new and existing applications.

“KPMG observed approximately 60 percent reduction in execution time and 10x table-compression gains for one of the main analytical procedures by leveraging Columnstore Indexes and Parallel Insert functions in SQL Server 2016,” says Michael S. Sellman, executive director, Global IT Services, KPMG LLP.

According to Chris Stolte, co-founder and chief development officer of Tableau, Inc., “an average 190%+ interactive query performance improvement enables our customers to visually explore large datasets in real-time, even against transactional databases.”

With unique hybrid capabilities, any SQL Server deployment or app can span private clouds, hosted clouds and our public cloud, Microsoft Azure. New Stretch Database technology allows customers to dynamically, transparently and securely stretch their transactional data to Azure, creating a massive database with great price performance. Customers can also use new AlwaysOn Availability Groups to enable disaster recovery at low cost.

Security has never been more important, and we’re humbled to be the industry’s least vulnerable database, six years running, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) public security board. Several capabilities in SQL Server 2016 help protect data at rest and in memory (Always Encrypted), encrypt all user data with low performance overhead (Transparent Data Encryption), mitigate attacks with support for Transport Layer Security version 1.2, and allow developers to build applications that restrict access and protect data from specific users with Dynamic Data Masking (DDM) and Row Level Security (RLS).

DocuSign helps organizations build entire approval workflows without a single sheet of paper or filing cabinet in sight, so security and reliability are critical, as they are with every business today. Docusign partnered with Microsoft to help secure their customers’ data, realize insights with SQL Server analytics and BI capabilities and receive world-class support.

With all of these capabilities built-in, SQL Server 2016 delivers not just a relational database, but an entire data platform for your business with incredible TCO.  Today customers can save up to $10 million over three years versus Oracle, running transactional, data warehouse, data integration, business intelligence and advanced analytics workloads.* Judson Althoff, president of Microsoft North America, announced a new program to help more customers adopt SQL Server 2016 and save.  Specifically, customers currently running applications or workloads on non-Microsoft paid commercial RDBMS platform will be able to migrate their existing applications with free SQL Server licenses.**

Microsoft is delivering on a vision that no other company can match across data, intelligence and cloud. To learn more, watch the webcast as well as various on-demand videos that showcase the new capabilities of this database built for mission-critical intelligence.


* Annualized pricing based on Oracle US commercial list price & SQL Server open ERP EE price, assuming 16 core servers (2 procs with 8 cores each) running OLTP, BI, DW, AA and ETL Tools, 1000 BI users.

**Software assurance required. Some restrictions apply.