SQL Server 2016 Preview this Year

Quick, short and sharp blog post for those interested in the latest and greatest that the SQL Server mothership has to offer…

It was announced by the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Microsoft Ignite 2015 that SQL Server 2016 will be released for preview summer this year (I assume that means Q3 CY).

The official SQL Blog post is here http://blogs.technet.com/b/dataplatforminsider/archive/2015/05/04/sql-server-2016-public-preview-coming-this-summer.aspx

The official SQL Server 2016 is here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server-2016/

See the my picks on the feature list below…

At a glance it seems to provide technologies that focus on security, scalability/availability and analytics/insights.

I personally like the sound of these features below (and want to hear more!); Query Data Store, Temporal Database, Row Level Security, Dynamic Data Masking, AAG Round-robin load balancing, PolyBase, Enhanced Reporting Services, Mobile BI (I assume this is from the Datazen merger), Built-in Analytics (I assume this is from the Revolution Analytics merger), Stretch Database, Azure Data Factory integration with SSIS.

Also it seems that finally SQL SSRS is getting some enhancement love too in this release!

The key features list below is as much as I could gather them from the official posts, the official data sheet and unofficial posts out there.  I haven’t fully wrapped my head around exactly what these are and I am keen to see more detailed info.


  1.  Operational Analytics: Insights on operational data, works with in-memory OLTP or on disk
  2. In-memory OLTP enhancements: Greater T-SQL surface area, terabytes of memory supported and greater number of parallel CPUs
  3. Query Data Store: Monitor and optimize query plans with full history of query execution
  4. Native JSON: Parsing & storing of JSON as relational data & exporting relational to JSON
  5. Temporal Database: Track historical changes
  6. Enhanced MDS: Excel add-in 15X faster, more granular security roles, archival options for transaction logs, and reuse entities across models


  1. Always Encrypted: Help protect data at rest and in motion with the master key residing with the application & no application changes required
  2. Row Level Security: Apply fine-grained access control to table rows based on users rights
  3. Dynamic Data Masking: Real-time obfuscation of data to prevent unauthorized access

 High Availability

  1. AAG: Up to 3 synchronous replicas for auto failover across domains
  2. AAG: Round-robin load balancing of replicas
  3. AAG: DTC & SSIS support
  4. AAG: Automatic failover based on database health


  1. Enhanced Database Caching: Cache data with automatic, multiple TempDB files per instance in multi-core environments
  2. Enterprise-grade Analysis Services: Enhanced performance and scalability for Analysis Services

Data Access

  1. PolyBase: Manage relational & non-relational data with the simplicity of T-SQL
  2. Power Query for Analytics and Reporting: Pull data from countless sources into data models and reports
  3. Enhanced SSIS: Designer support for previous SSIS versions and support for Power Query

BI, Analytics and Reporting

  1. Mobile BI: Business insights for your on-premises data through rich visualization on mobile devices with native apps for Windows, iOS and Android
  2. Enhanced Reporting Services: New modern reports with rich visualizations
  3. Built-in Advanced Analytics: Bringing predictive analytic algorithms directly in SQL Server. Expand your “R” script library with Microsoft Azure Marketplace


  • Stretch Database: Stretch operational tables in a secure manner into Azure for cost effective historic data availability works with Always Encrypted and Row Level Security
  • PowerBI with on-premises data: New interactive query with Analysis Services. Customer data stays behind your firewall
  • Hybrid Scenarios with SSIS: Azure Data Factory integration with SSIS, package lineage and impact analysis and connect SSIS to cloud data source
  • Enhanced Backup to Azure: X faster restore and 50% reduction in storage, support larger DBs with Block blobs and custom backup schedule with local staging

And so the last thing to say before I sign off – have you even got across all the SQL 2014 features yet? If not then you’d better get a hurry up!  🙂

Disclaimer: all content on Mr. Fox SQL blog is subject to the disclaimer found here

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