Here Are the Features You’ll Get When Upgrading to Microsoft SQL Server 2016

Posted by Sophina Dillard on Tuesday, 4 July 2017 0

Build intelligent, mission-critical applications using a scalable, hybrid database platform that has everything built in—from in-memory performance and advanced security to in-database analytics.” - Microsoft SQL Server 2016

The Latest Microsoft SQL Server Features

Have you made the upgrade yet? If not, upgrading to the latest Microsoft SQL server results in brand new features and enhancements to previously included features from past versions, so you might want to make the switch. For example, some enhancements include:

In-Memory OLTP (In-Memory Optimization): Performance for transaction processing, data ingestion and data load, and transient data scenarios is improved.

Always On Available Groups (SQL Server): A high-availability and disaster-recovery solution that provides an alternative to database mirroring (for the enterprise).
There are other enhancements, of course, but because our main focus today is on the completely new, here are some of the latest Microsoft SQL features.

Always Encrypted

Always encrypted protects your most sensitive information, such as your social security or credit card number, that’s stored in Azure SQL Database or SQL Server database. It’s also perfect for encrypting data inside client applications without actually divulging encryption keys to the Database Engine. In this way, there’s a much-needed separation between the people who own the data and those who manage it.

Row-Level Security (RLS)

With RLS, users can control access to rows in a database table. Because this simplifies the design and coding of security in your applications, you can implement restrictions on data row access. This means that if you have a customer that needs access to certain data, you can opt to control their access to relevant data.

Stretch Database

Stretch Database allows you to migrate cold data (rarely accessed data) transparently and securely to the Microsoft Azure Cloud. Some benefits are that it:

Provides cost-effective availability for cold data: Stretch warm and cold transactional data dynamically from SQL Server to Microsoft Azure with SQL Server Stretch Database.

Doesn’t require changes to queries or applications: Access your SQL Server data seamlessly regardless of whether it’s on-premises or stretched to the cloud. You set the policy that determines where data is stored, and SQL Server handles the data movement in the background.

Streamlines on-premises data maintenance: Reduce on-premises maintenance and storage for your data. Backups for your on-premises data run faster and finish within the maintenance window.

Keeps your data secure even during migration: Enjoy peace of mind as you stretch your most important applications securely to the cloud. SQL Server’s Always Encrypted provides encryption for your data in motion.

Dynamic Data Masking (DDM)

Because DDM limits data exposure by masking it to non-privileged users, users can designate how much of their (sensitive) data to reveal. For example, you can choose to ‘mask’ every digit except for the last four of a social security number. It can also be used with existing applications and is complementary to other SQL Server security features, like auditing, encryption, etc.

Final Thoughts

The latest Microsoft SQL Server features offer you a lot more scalability, advanced security, and is supported by SharePoint Online. With it, you can:
Develop intelligent applications for online transaction processing (OLTP)
Protect sensitive data such as credit card or social security information
Mask data to non-privileged users
Keep data secure during migrations
A lot more

If you’re still unsure as to whether or not you should make the upgrade, consider what Rohan Kumar, Director of SQL Software Engineering, and Bob Dorr, Principal Engineer of SQL Server Support, have to say:

“With our focused investment in performance and scale, simply upgrading to SQL 2016 could bring 25% performance improvement. SQL 2016 supports 3X more physical memory than previous versions.” - Rohan Kumar

“SQL Server 2016 running on the same hardware as SQL Server 2014, 2012, 2008, 2008 R2 or 2005 uses fewer resources and executes a wide range of workloads faster.” - Bob Dorr
Feel free to download the official Microsoft SQL Server 2016 eBook to learn more about what you can gain from it. Best of luck!

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