Microsoft recently announced that June 1 will be the general availability release date for the highly anticipated SQL Server 2016. This release of SQL Server is unlike any other, as this version is truly a cloud-borne release with many features already developed and released within Microsoft’s Azure SQL Database cloud platform.

SQL Server’s innovative functionality is getting noticed — and Gartner placed Microsoft in the top position for its Operation Database Management Systems magic quadrant.Picture1

Let’s take a look at some of the highly impactful capabilities coming in SQL Server 2016.


While SQL Server has the fewest vulnerabilities among enterprise database management systems for the past six years running, Microsoft continues to invest in security with a layered approach. New security capabilities for SQL Server 2016 include:

  • Restrict access to data with Row-Level Security. This allows users to only see specific rows of a data within a table that are needed for the user to perform their role in the organization.
  • Obscure sensitive data with Dynamic Data Masking without needing to change your data or applications. Sensitive data can be partially presented to a user, such as only showing the last four digits of a credit card number for payment identification during order processing.
  • Encrypt your most sensitive data at rest, in-memory, and over the network. Always Encrypted brings an end-to-end solution for maintaining data encryption all the way to the client application. Even system administrators cannot decrypt the data, as SQL Server does not hold the necessary key for decrypting the data. Only your application has access to the key.

By leveraging these security capabilities, you can modernize your SQL Server environment to best meet the security demands of the future.

Hybrid: On-Premises and Cloud

As cloud solutions continue to develop, it is imperative to bridge these with on-premises functionality. Microsoft has delivered in several areas for hybrid solutions including:

  • Improved setup and performance for Availability Groups spanning on-premises and Azure, including support for the Availability Groups Listener to enable application redirect after failover to Azure.
  • Managed database backups to Azure Storage, allowing you to easily get your database backups offsite and secure.
  • Archive your older, rarely queried data into Azure with Stretch Database. Save on storage costs and better utilize your high-performance on-premises storage.

These capabilities allow you to use the cloud on your own terms and determine where it makes the best sense for your organization.

Analytics and Reporting

Just as Microsoft and many others have become a data-driven company, the ability to analyze and understand your data will change your organization. With 2016, you have the best tools to effectively analyze and report on your data by:

  • Combining In-Memory OLTP and Columnstore to delivery Operational Analytics. For operational data requiring real-time reporting, the In-Memory OLTP engine can be used to meet transactional demands while also utilizing Columnstore indexing to optimize the data for analytics. With no data movement, Microsoft is able to deliver real-time operational reporting.
  • Using Modern Reporting Services with updated reporting visualizations and supporting multiple browsers and devices through HTML5 report rendering. Reporting Services will be the single collaboration point for hosting traditional paginated reports, mobile reports (Datazen), as well as Power BI, shortly after release.
  • Employing R Services in SQL Server to deliver predictive analytics operationalized on your SQL Server. Use predictive analytics against your data without moving it off your SQL Server deployment and leverage parallel processing to meet scalability and performance demands.

All of these capabilities built into SQL Server 2016 can change the way you analyze and leverage your data.

Edition Comparison

In addition to all of the great new capabilities in SQL Server 2016, the chart below summarizes everything included in each edition. While some advanced capabilities will be Enterprise edition-specific, many of the new capabilities will be included in the Standard edition, making 2016 the best version yet for both editions.


More Information

For more information, please contact your CDW account manager to engage with our solution architects to discuss how we can help deliver these solutions to your organization.

Also, check out BizTech Magazine for the latest in software trends.

As always, feel free to leave a comment or question below.