SQL Server 2014 released to manufacturers, will be generally available April 1

The following post is from Quentin Clark, Corporate Vice President, Data Platform Group.

Today I am very happy to announce SQL Server 2014 has been released to manufacturing and will be generally available on April 1

SQL Server 2014 is the culmination of thousands of hours of hard work from Microsoft engineers and thousands of hours of testing and input from our preview customers. The result is an important component of Microsoft’s overall cloud-first data platform. The platform delivers breakthrough performance, accelerated insights through tools everyone uses and the ability to scale globally on-premises and in the cloud – letting our customers get the most from their data. 

This release of SQL Server is significant in that, in addition to delivering key hybrid scenarios, it rounds out our journey to embrace in-memory technology. Several years back, we began exploring the changing hardware landscape – memory being one of the key areas of focus. Today, our in-memory technology spans the core workloads in the data platform: business intelligence as part of Analysis Services, Excel and Power BI for Office 365; complex event processing with StreamInsight; in-memory columnstore in SQL Server and our data warehousing product; and now with SQL Server 2014 – in-memory transaction processing. 

The completeness of Microsoft’s data platform and the strength of its mission-critical capabilities are the reasons our customers increasingly build on and deploy SQL Server. It has garnered market share and industry recognition because it meets the increasingly demanding needs of business customers of all sizes. SQL Server is the most widely-deployed database in the world and continues to gain revenue share at the expense of our competitors. Our data platform has surpassed our competitors in key technology areas like cloud, in-memory and business intelligence. With SQL Server 2014, we’ll continue to build on that momentum with an enterprise-ready, mission-critical database.

Built-in in-memory technology for faster application performance

What I am most proud of is that the technology innovations we’re delivering today in SQL Server 2014 help customers create new business value and open up new possibilities and opportunities with data. In-memory transaction processing (In-Memory OLTP), speeds up an already very fast experience by delivering speed improvement of up to 30x.

For a company like bwin, the largest regulated online gaming company, faster processing means not only can they serve more customers by scaling their applications to 250,000 requests a second, but it means the experience their customers have with their application is better, faster and smoother. It is exciting to see what customers can do when raw performance and throughput of a database changes this dramatically.

Important to our in-memory work is our approach to build SQL Server’s In-Memory OLTP right into the box. This means our customers don’t need expensive additional software to take advantage of the technology. More importantly, it means customers do not have to rewrite their application or deploy new servers. We approached in-memory columnstore the same way – it is built into SQL Server and our data warehouse product Parallel Data Warehouse. Our customers have appreciated this approach, and it sets us apart from our competitors.

Hybrid cloud capabilities offer greater flexibility

The other key area of investment for SQL Server 2014 has been hybrid features that span the cloud and on-premises, giving customers a choice in how they deploy database solutions. Customers can easily and securely backup and recover on-premises SQL Server databases using Windows Azure. SQL Server 2014’s AlwaysOn technology was not just improved for this release, it was built to enroll Windows Azure virtual machines running SQL Server into a customers’ disaster recovery solution. This turnkey solution builds on SQL Server 2014 availability in Windows Azure virtual machines – one can get SQL Server with its in-memory and mission-critical features up and running in an Azure VM in literally a few minutes. SQL Server 2014 will be available in a Windows Azure virtual machine image as part of general availability on April 1.

Windows Azure and SQL Server provide a continuum of capability and flexibility in deployment options for our customers – on-premises and in the cloud. Windows Azure also supports an important data workload – Windows Azure HDInsight, our Apache Hadoop-based solution in the cloud. Today, we’re announcing the general availability of Hadoop 2.2 support in Windows Azure HDInsight, which has been updated to take full advantage of the latest Hadoop 2.2 platform, including support for YARN and Stinger Phase 2.

There has never been a more exciting time in the database and broader data platform industry. In an era where nearly everything will become digitized, today we’re delivering the data platform that will help our customers digitize their business. Customers can download SQL Server 2014 on April 1 or register today to be notified once the release is available. Customers can also learn more about the release and our data platform strategy at our “Accelerate your Insights” event on April 15, where I will be joined by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and COO Kevin Turner. In addition, some of our customers deriving value from our data platform today will also be in attendance. I encourage you save the date and tune in for the event.

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