Microsoft today announced SQL Server 2014, designed with “cloud-first principles” and featuring built-in, in-memory OLTP and a focus on real-time, Big Data-style analytics. No specific realease date was provided in the announcement.
“Our Big Data strategy to unlock real-time insights continues with SQL Server 2014,” said Quentin Clark, corporate vice president with the Data Platform Group, in a blog post. “We are embracing the role of data–it dramatically changes how business happens. Real-time data integration, new and large data sets, data signals from outside LOB systems, evolving analytics techniques and more fluid visualization and collaboration experiences are significant components of that change.”
A key feature of SQL Server 2014 is the incorporation of in-memory, online transaction processing (OLTP) technology stemming from a project that has been in the works for several years, codenamed “Hekaton,” Clark said. Developed in conjunction with Microsoft Research, Hekaton greatly improves transaction processing speeds and reduces latency by virtue of working with in-memory data, as opposed to disk-based data.
Microsoft touted the benefits of the “conscious design choice” to build the Hekaton technology into SQL Server 2014, with no need for a separate data engine. “Other vendors are either introducing separate in-memory optimized caches or building a unification layer over a set of technologies and introducing it as a completely new product,” said Dave Campbell, Microsoft technical fellow, when Hekaton was announced as a coming component of SQL Server 2014 last November. “This adds complexity forcing customers to deploy and manage a completely new product or, worse yet, manage both a ‘memory-optimized’ product for the hot data and a storage-optimized’ product for the application data that is not cost-effective to reside primarily in memory,” Campbell said.
Clark picked up on that theme in today’s announcement. “For our customers, ‘in the box’ means they don’t need to buy specialized hardware or software and can migrate existing applications to benefit from performance gains,” he said.
Clark also emphasized the embrace of cloud computing, noting how SQL Server 2014 will work seamlessly with the cloud-based Windows Azure to reduce operating expenditures for mission-critical applications. “Simplified cloud backup, cloud disaster recovery and easy migration to Windows Azure Virtual Machines are empowering new, easy to use, out-of-the-box hybrid capabilities,” he said.
The Microsoft exec also noted SQL Server 2014 will include improvements to the AlwaysOn feature, supporting “new scenarios, scale of deployment and ease of adoption.”