If you need to find out what SQL Server 2012 offers, but don’t really need the hassle of installing 3GB of beta code, an offer from Amazon and Microsoft might be of interest.
Amazon is offering a deal on an EC2 AMI that has a test version of SQL Server 2012 for just the price of the EC2 instances; these start at $0.12 per hour, so you’re not going to break the bank. If you’re not familiar with Amazon’s cloud offerings, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) is a web service designed to make it easier for developers to create web-ready apps, while Amazon Machine Images (AMIs) are essentially virtual machines in the cloud that are preconfigured with an operating system, and in this case with the beta version of SQL Server 2012 alongside Windows Server 2008 R2. You can find the AMI details here: http://aws.amazon.com/solutions/global-solution-providers/microsoft/denali/.
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 was code named Denali, and many of us will undoubtedly end up developing apps to use it when it’s launched next year. Features to check out include the self-service business intelligence for end users; data visualization from PowerView; and columnstore indexes that group and store data for each column and then join all the columns to complete the whole index.
Amazon estimates that getting started should take only about five minutes before you’re running SQL Server 2012. It sounds like a lot less problematic than getting the beta running on a local server.
Test "Denali" on Amazon Web Services in Minutes
SQL Server releases (Denali) available
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