Microsoft SQL 2016 is just around the corner—or rather, it is in a landing pattern, since many of its new features were born in the cloud and are now making their way to companies’ on-premises data centers and networks around the world.
Row Level Security is one of the new features in SQL 2016 that has been working in Azure for a few months already. It implements a long-awaited security functionality by filtering out data that a particular user or connection should not be able to access on a row-level basis. Check out our YouTube channel for a video demonstration of this feature.
Still in the security arena, SQL 2016 brings some other exciting improvements and new features to the table. One of them is a very important and sensitive security enhancement called Always Encrypted. Previous releases of the Microsoft SQL Server took care of the security on data storage by implementing transparent data encryption, which prevents SQL databases and backups from being restored in unauthorized servers. The new Always Encrypted security feature creates data privacy all the way from the client connection through memory and data storage, making data secure on the wire in between every connection stage.
While landing from the cloud into private on-premises data centers, Microsoft SQL Server 2016 stretches data storage to the cloud by keeping infrequently accessed/historical data up in Azure. The stretched database and tables in SQL 2016 allow companies to transparently move data from local storage resources to remote data centers. This releases their IT teams from the burden of backups and hard drive acquisition, lowering the total cost of ownership. Applications that access this data are oblivious to the fact the data is remote, and their performance may suffer only due to network latency in between the company’s network and the Azure servers.
Dozens of new features can also be found on the application development front in SQL 2016. A very handy one is the ability to process JSon data in the SQL Server. Web developers creating server side code are used to receiving JSon data from mobile devices and webpages, parsing and changing the data structure to a tabular representation before sending it to the SQL Server to be stored. The fact that dealing with data structures is in the SQL Server job description brings home the responsibility to parse and process JSon data structures and store that data in native SQL tables. This is a great improvement for application design and development, bringing more balance to the client/server layers.
With its 100+ new and improved features, including new capabilities in the Reporting Server and Integration Server besides Master Data Services, the question isn’t what the new features of this release are; rather, it is whether companies will take the time to learn and implement these new features. Will they ignore the brand new capabilities and use SQL 2016 as if it were SQL 2005? Will they buy a Lamborghini and drive it like a Honda Civic?
Hands-on training and proof-of-concept implementations will be key to getting business to the next level in data management, analysis, storage, and security. Companies will land Microsoft SQL Server 2016 in their on-premises centers, and it will empower them to lift off their data to the next level of accessibility and availability.