SQL Server 2016 Released
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Friday, 03 June 2016

SQL Server 2016 is now generally available in four versions: Enterprise, Standard, Express and Developer. Developer has the same feature set as Enterprise, but is free for development and testing.

The Express version is limited to one CPU socket or four cores, to 1GB of RAM, and 10GB maximum database size, It is free to use, but has other features that are not enabled.


The Web version will only be provided by hosting companies, and is also limited to one CPU socket or 16 cores and 64GB of RAM, but there's no limit on database size.

The Standard Edition adds some of the features missing in the Express and Web versions such as row-level security and BI support, but is limited to four 4 CPU sockets or 24 cores and 128GB RAM per database engine. The Enterprise version has all the features that Microsoft has announced for this version. The SQL Server for Linux version announced earlier this year isn't due for release until next year.

New features (mostly only available in the Enterprise version) include Always Encrypted support so data is encrypted "at rest and in motion". In practise this means data is encrypted from server to client via the use of client-side keys. Row-level security has also been added, meaning you can restrict what data can be seen by particular users, the classic example being a sales person only able to see their own sales. Dynamic Data Masking is another new security feature, letting you mask sensitive data unless users have permission to unmask it.

Temporal tables are another addition. These store the history of data changes, including the date and time changes were made. The tables can be queried for audit and analysis.

Links to Microsoft Azure have been strengthened with the ability to carry out hybrid backups to Azure, and to restore from Azure virtual machines mare rapidly. There's also a new feature called Stretch Database that means cold transactional data can be 'stretched' to Azure but still queried from SQL Server. This involves a linked table in Azure that is automatically included in relevant queries.




Query Store is a new feature intended to give administrators a way to track query performance. The query code, execution plan, and performance data can be stored in the database so you can investigate any problem queries that are running too slow or over using resources.

Another addition is PolyBase, an engine that until now has only been available as part of the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance. PolyBase lets you work with non-relational data from within SQL Server, using SQL tools rather than unfamiliar options such as MapReduce. It can be used with Azure Blob data, or with Hadoop.

The other major improvement is the inclusion of SQL Server 2016 R Services. This adds the ability to do analysis using R, and includes the R language runtime, Intel Math Kernel Library, and the ScaleR library that includes functions for managing, analyzing, modeling and visualizing data.


More Information

SQL Server Site 

Related Articles

SQL Server On Linux

Microsoft Unveils Free R Server

SQL Server 2016 And Azure Data Lake

First Preview Of SQL Server 2016

In-Memory OLTP In Depth


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Last Updated ( Friday, 03 June 2016 )