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Exploring the Top 7 new features in SQL Server 2016

Microsoft has enhanced a number of features in SQL server 2016 which will help whether or not you are implementing on-premises, in Azure or in a hybrid model. The top most features of SQL Server 2016 are listed below:

  1. Query Store

The Query optimizer is one of the major problem faced by many organizations while upgrading versions of SQL Server.

This results in performance degradation. The Query Store feature allows administrators or developers to identify queries that take longer time for execution and replace them from other substitute queries.

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This special feature is configured at the individual database level in SQL Server.

DataProperties Configuration - SQL Server 2016

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  1. Polybase

Polybase is an SQL Server connector to Hadoop to its data warehouse appliance Analytics Platform System that has been introduced by Microsoft in 2015.

Now, it has been incorporated into its regular on-premises product of Microsoft. This feature is beneficial in dealing with a lot of large text files while processing data.

  1. Stretch Database

“Stretch Database” is a hybrid feature introduced in SQL server in an attempt to reduce the storage and processing costs.

This feature works on the concept of moving, a part of your tables into an Azure SQL Database in the cloud in a secure manner. This helps the query optimizer in balancing the workload on your server and Azure.

Microsoft only charges for the SQL Database in Azure when it is used for queries.

Enable DataBase for stretch - SQL Server 2016

  1. JSON Support

 SQL Server 2016 also supports the lingua franca of Web applications: Java Script Object    Notation (JSON).It provides the ability to quickly move JSON data into tables.

  1. Row Level Security

The row-level security (RLS) feature restricts which users can view what data in a table, based on a function. This feature is useful in multi-tenant environments where the user may want to limit data access based on customer ID.

  1. Always Encrypted

SQL Server has supported both column-level encryption, encryption at rest, and encryption in transit. They all need to be configured independently. Always Encrypted is new functionality so the data stays encrypted in transit, at rest and while it is alive in the database.

  1. In-Memory Enhancements

The concept of in-memory tables was introduced in SQL Server 2014. These were specially designed for loading data in high-speed with no locking issues or high-volume session state issues.

However, there were a lot of limitations mainly around constraints and procedures. In SQL Server 2016, this feature is improved to a great extent, supporting foreign keys, check and unique constraints and parallelism.

Moreover, tables up to 2TB are now supported (up from 256GB). Another benefit of in-memory is column store indexes, which are mostly used for data warehouse workloads.

Although, this feature was introduced in SQL 2012 and has been enhanced in each version consecutively. In 2016, it receives some enhancements around sorting and better support with AlwaysOn Availability Groups.

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