6 SQL Server 2016 Features That Make Upgrading Worth It
If you're thinking about upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2016, you will need to weigh up resource and budget considerations against the very real possibility of passing up some of the software's most exciting features to date. Microsoft has made some major transformations to SQL Server in this latest release. This article provides an overview of six SQL Server 2016 features that make upgrading not only worthwhile, but vital to your overall business performance.
1. Always Encrypted
Data is most vulnerable when in motion. Of course, files tucked away safely on a server are always slightly at risk, even when not in use. SQL Server 2016 combats this challenge head-on by leveraging Transparent Data Encryption (TDE) to ensure your data is always encrypted, period. Always Encrypted holds true regardless of where the data sits, whether it’s in use or in transit.
Wouldn’t it be great for business users to be able to query data and access it without worry of where it resides or what format it’s in? After all, when users can freely access data and actionable insights, they get the true benefit of a robust data platform.
PolyBase breaks down the barriers between relational and non-relational data. Users can run queries on data that resides in the Microsoft Azure cloud or in Hadoop; it doesn’t matter. PolyBase speeds the time it takes to gather insights, and it opens doors for analysing data across all of your sources — freeing you from the cost and hassle of moving it around first.
3. In-memory Online Transaction Processing
If in-memory Online Transaction Processing, or OLTP, is the future of computing, SQL Server 2016 takes the lead. In-memory OLTP was first built into SQL Server 2014, and SQL Server 2016 now boasts industry-leading capabilities. Businesses experience near-instant transactions when running reports and complex queries. And on the front end, customers experience instant and easy transactions.
4. AlwaysOn Availability
AlwaysOn Availability allows organisations to protect data with ease — and flexibility. SQL Server uses data mirroring to improve failover for groups of databases (an improvement over earlier versions that used the same technique for just one database). It’s a mission-critical disaster recovery feature, built in to the platform from the start. Maintain more impressive uptime and streamline your maintenance operations. You have more options in how you protect your data — and greater peace of mind.
5. Power BI mobile app
Power BI puts the power of SQL Server 2016 in the hands of business users, literally. Developers may get excited all day long about storage and security features, but the Power BI mobile app is where the database platform takes centre stage in addressing core business needs. Users can pull, publish and share reports, regardless of operating system and form factor.
This is modern reporting, with all the bells and whistles. Imagine a web portal, intuitive data visualisations, sophisticated paginated reports and at-a-glance key performance indicator reviews. Consider what your business could achieve with those tools in the hands of every user.
6. Stretch Database
The Stretch Database feature in SQL Server 2016 is the true bridge between your on-premise solution and your data in the Azure cloud. Stretch Database shakes things up on the data storage and accessibility front by enabling organisations to migrate data to and from the cloud seamlessly. Migrate an entire data table or just a few rows — remember, you’re in charge. And, it requires zero changes to your queries or applications to experience its full benefits.
Stretch Database is Microsoft’s answer to unpredictable storage or processing requirements. For example, you may have minimal processing requirements for five days of the week but need to kick things up to full gear the other two days. Stretch Database makes that easy for you, and it removes the headache of dealing with infrastructure, including the maintenance and cost that go along with it.