SQL Server 2016: Keeping Up With the Latest Technology

SQL Server 2016 Software Update

Welcome to the first ever Learning Tree SQL Server Newsletter. Thank you for signing up. The purpose of this Newsletter is to keep you up-to-date with the latest news in the world of SQL Server. I hope you enjoy it. If you have any feedback on the newsletter, on how it can be improved or how it can serve you better please do let me know.

SQL Server 2016 was released to market (RTM) on 1st June 2016. SQL Server 2016 has a variety of new features in the both the database engine and in the business intelligence stack. Here at Learning Tree, I know for a fact, the product development teams and course authors are busy revising and producing new material so that the SQL Server curriculum is up to date and ensuring that the new features of SQL Server 2016 are adequately covered in our courses.

As a SQL Server consultant, I’m often brought in by businesses and organizations with the remit of migrating legacy versions of SQL Server to a newer (not always the newest) version. What I find interesting, are the drivers behind the upgrade or migration project from the organizations perspective. In my experience, for a lot of organizations, the driver is not always the new features available in the latest version of SQL Server, but the driver is in fact the version of SQL Server they are currently running on is going out of support with Microsoft. In some cases the version of SQL Server has already gone out of support. I still get request from new clients to come in and migrate SQL Server 2005 instances and in some cases SQL Server 2000 instances to a later version of SQL Server. SQL Server 2005 went out support with Microsoft in April 2016 and SQL Server 2000 in April 2013. If you use older versions of SQL Server, (SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008, or SQL Server 2008 R2) you might be interested in Learning Tree course 2105: SQL Server 2012: Administration Skills Upgrade. This course will show some of the “amazingness” that’s included in SQL Server 2012, that can really help you deliver a highly available SQL Server database platform.

I often wonder why organization let their databases servers fall out of date and out of support with Microsoft. The simple answer is the older versions of SQL Server work – they are stable. They provide the data platform needed to support the application. The data platform is stable, which makes the application stable, which makes business reluctant to change the platform for a newer version for fear of losing that stability. As we all know, new software usually has some bugs in it and SQL Server is no different. Some of my clients have traditionally preferred to wait for the first service pack release of a SQL Server version before implementing it in production. These days, this might be a flawed idea as I discussed in this blog post. This blog post touches on how Microsoft now approach testing new versions of SQL Server and how that has changed compared to earlier versions of SQL Server. Nowadays, the RTM version of SQL Server will be more thoroughly tested than ever before. I’ll quote from my blog post here:

“Microsoft has the Technology Adoption Program (TAP) and Rapid Deployment Program (RDP)… these initiatives provide Microsoft with early feedback on new product and the product goes through more rigorous testing than in years past.”

Based on my past experience it’s likely that six weeks, after the release of SQL Server 2016 that you might not be thinking of migrating to SQL Server 2016. However, it might be on your company’s technical road map in the next six, twelve or eighteen months’ time. Regardless, of your migration plan and timeline it’s good for you, as a SQL Server professional, to keep updating your skills with the latest technology and ensuring that when the time is right for your business to move to SQL Server 2016 you are prepared and aware of the features the product has to offer. It might even be that some of those features are drivers for the migration project.

If you would like to learn more about some of the new features of SQL Server 2016, check out the following on the Learning Tree SQL Server blogs written by Dan Buskirk:

SQL Server 2016 Release: The Good News and the Better News

SQL Server 2016: Temporal Tables

SQL Server 2016: Batch Mode Operators and the Query Optimizer

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