SQL Server 2014 RTM on 1st of April 2014

Screen Shot 2014-03-24 at 02.46.45After 2 years in making, a couple of days ago Microsoft has announced RTM (Released to Manufacture) of SQL Server 2014 will happen on 1st of April of 2014.
Choosing 1st of April as a GA date sounds like a kind of a joke – but it is not.

The main highlights & attractions of this upcoming version are:

Clustered Columnstore Indexes – you can easily blame my series on Clustered Columnstore Indexes, but for me this is the most important development Microsoft has made for SQL Server 2014.
Bringing together really fast and usable version of the Columnstore Indexes is going to revolutionise & democratize the world of DataWarehousing for so many people.

Hekaton aka In-Memory XTP – after more than 5 years of development an Extreme Transaction Processing In-Memory engine is finally coming to the market. I have been a fan of In-Memory XTP since its public announcement at PASS Summit 2012 and I am excited to see it in its first incarnation in SQL Server 2014. I can see a test of fire coming for it in the first 6-9 months, with people getting disappointed and , but don’t forget that this is the very first version and that the second edition has been known to correct major problems and learn to make things function more properly.
An IT professional who is about to blame Microsoft for some potential problems in the first release has forgotten about his/her own first releases. 🙂
Do not forget how Nonclustered Columnstore appeared in SQL Server 2012 and take a look at Clustered Columnstore now in SQL Server 2014. Just 1 major release.
Is there any doubt about the direction ? – Not a single one. Go on, don’t stop Microsoft!

Memory Limit for Standard Edition increased from 64GB to 128GB. Memory is cheap, extremely cheap at the moment.
I guess everyone was asking/begging for this and even bigger increase, so we all should be happy about it. I would definitely wish Microsoft go on and scale it up to 256GB or even 512GB in the future.

New Cardinality Estimator – enabled by default whenever using 2014 (120) Compatibility Mode, this new cardinality estimator has shown much more closer statistics estimation for multiple column predicates. Note: it works by default and as I have heard shows great results on PDW (Parallel Data WareHouse) since 2013.

Resource Governor Enhancements – now you can finally take control of the IO operations with Resource Governor. This alone will finally make this feature being used by the Sysadmins.

CloudOS Backup to Azure – Not only you can easily backup your SQL Server 2014 Database to Azure, but you can also download a stand-alone tool which will allow to do so for a good number of previous SQL Server versions.

Incremental Statistics – I have already written a small series of 3 blog posts about Incremental Statistics. A very good feature for improving enterprise solutions maintainability.

Encrypted Backup – a very welcome feature from the security perspective. Very welcomed and very needed. Making sure that information is solid & safe are 2 of the most important tasks for any database professional, including developers. 🙂
Encrypted Backup for any SQL Server versions starting from SQL Server 2005.
I know enough Sysadmins who will be very happy about it.

AlwaysOn Improvements – the total number of replicas has been increased to 8 and now we can have a replica running in Azure VM. This is definitely a good step forward towards better integration with Cloud, but all we need right now are the prices to go a little bit down … 🙂

Delayed Durability – get better control of your transaction performance and persistence with Delayed Durability. A very interesting but a kind of dangerous setting for SQL Server 2014, where I would most probably prefer it to be activated by a trace flag.

Buffer Pool Extension – you can extend your Buffer Pool with a space on your fastest disk (Hint: memory is still pretty cheap :)). Instead of spilling the data on TempDB, you can define a disk which will be used once you reached the situation when memory is not enough.

Online Partition Rebuild – Nuff said. Way overdue.

Lock Control options for Online Index Rebuilding Operations – Once you are rebuilding an Index Online, you can have a nice set of options that such as WAIT_AT_LOW_PRIORITY, MAX_DURATION, AND ABORT_AFTER_WAIT that will allow you to control Lock operations behaviour.
Feel free to explore them at the documentation page.

Security Enhancements – Four great new permission groups were added: CONNECT ANY DATABASE, SELECT ALL USER SECURABLES, IMPERSONATE ANY LOGIN, ALTER ANY DATABASE EVENT SESSION.

Data Files on Azure – a very much Hybrid solution, that is all I can say.

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