This past June, Microsoft officially released the latest version of Microsoft SQL Server, 2016, to the public. Whether you’ve upgraded already or not, it’s important to understand the benefits that any new technology solution–especially one that benefits the operations of your enterprise–can bring.

Released on June 1st, 2016, Microsoft SQL Server 2016 aims to provide organizations with the benefits of hybrid cloud-based technology. Rather than focus on the cloud itself, Microsoft sought to provide a solution that provided a common base for both in-house and cloud-based solutions. Microsoft claims that SQL Server 2016 is “the fastest and most price-performant database for HTAP (Hybrid Transactional and Analytical Processing).”

So, what are some of the new features that enterprises can benefit from with SQL Server 2016? Let’s dive deeper and see what we can discover.

New Features and Benefits of SQL Server 2016

The new features of Microsoft SQL Server 2016 tend to prioritize speed and security above all else, but analytics also play a major part in its development. Microsoft has focused on building out its data science and machine learning capabilities to allow organizations and CIOs to see exactly how their data is being used across an application infrastructure.

  • Always Encrypted: Perhaps one of the most notable enhancements has been made to SQL Server’s security. By enabling the Always Encrypted feature, your enterprise’s database will be encrypted, and access to the data stored within the database is limited to the application accessing it. The application is in possession of the encryption key, rather than the database. It’s reported by the National Institute of Standards and Technology that SQL Server has had “the least vulnerabilities of any major platform for six years running.”
  • R-Integration: Before, users would have to extract data from the SQL database and warehouse it elsewhere for observation, providing a lag in reporting. Now, enterprises can do so right from the database itself, in real time. This effectively cuts out the middle-man saving CIOs time and better reporting standards. SQL Server 2016 is also the first database product to achieve full-fledged integration with Revolution R. Additionally, it allows for cross-compatibility with Windows R Services, Polybase, and R Tools for Visual Studio.
  • AlwaysOn: This isn’t necessarily a new feature, but an important one nonetheless. AlwaysOn allows enterprises to allow for high availability and disaster recovery for data. By taking advantage of in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) your enterprise can keep its systems going with maximum uptime, while keeping costs to a minimum. Microsoft claims that SQL Server’s in-memory technology improves transactional performance and load balancing by up to 30 times.
  • Hekaton (OLTP) enhancements: The in-memory OLTP introduced in 2014 is back, and better than ever. You can now create tables and check them against I/O operations to improve performance and identify problems with the system. Overall, this is a speed boost more than anything else, as your application can read and write data much faster than any other connected disk drives.
  • End-to-end mobile BI: Business intelligence is critical to the success of any enterprise, and SQL Server 2016 allows for access to consolidated data reports at a glance. You’ll acquire actionable business insights that allow your employees to understand trends in analytics, and share them throughout your organization.

If you aren’t entirely sold on SQL Server 2016, there’s a free 180-day trial period that you should take advantage of. Even if you’re just curious about how it can improve your enterprise’s data analytics, it’s worthy of serious consideration. If you have any additional questions, feel free to reach out to us.