SQL Server 2012: What’s New?

SQL Server 2012

By Laurie Head
AIS Network Vice President

What is SQL Server 2012? When will it be here? What’s new in it?

SQL Server 2012 is a major new release from Microsoft, and it’s due for general availability on April 1. At that time, three versions are expected: Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard. The company is making evaluation downloads of SQL Server 2012 available today, however.

“Data is being generated faster than ever before, and organizations need a way to process and analyze all that data,” said Microsoft Corporate Vice President Ted Kummert, during today’s announcement of the next month’s release.

“Whatever the type or size of data, SQL Server 2012 delivers the platform and familiar tools to manage data, generate actionable insights and help drive business impact.”

Also chiming in was Klout, a leading provider of influence measurement and a SQL Server 2012 customer.

“Our business depends on delivering customers fast, detailed insight into hundreds of terabytes of social-network data,” said David Mariani, Klout vice president of engineering.

“With SQL Server 2012 and integrated business intelligence tools, we’re processing massive volumes of data queries in near-real time. Microsoft’s data platform has continued to advance and help us keep up with the evolving world of data.”

Here’s a brief recap from today’s news:

What Is SQL Server 2012? SQL Server 2012 is a data platform that can store, manage and analyze all of your information, including business-critical relational databases and data warehouses as well as data from inside the organization and in the cloud. It also offers a set of tools to analyze both structured and unstructured data and deliver insights that everyone can easily interpret and act upon.

What’s new about SQL Server 2012? SQL Server 2012 succeeds Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2, and the update is significant. It’s more scalable, more reliable and delivers greater performance than ever before. More than 200 performance, scalability and reliability improvements to the database have been made.

SQL Server 2012’s in-memory data-visualization component, a business intelligence function called Power View, is something that the company has been developing for years under the code name “Crescent.” According to Kummert’s blog, “Power View provides users with a powerful interactive capability that transforms the exploration of any data, anywhere, into a more natural, immersive experience. Ultimately this encourages better decision-making – a significant benefit, with massive implications in today’s era of big data.”

Another new feature in SQL Server 2012, called “AlwaysOn,” is part of the high-availability and disaster recovery system. It’s said to reduce planned and unplanned downtime.

The new ColumnStore Indexing feature reportedly boosts performance by up to 10 times when doing star joins and analytic queries that make use of selected columns of data.

A business intelligence semantic model helps users tie together reporting, analytics, scorecards and dashboards.

New security and encryption features enable administrators to separate duties, expose services and features to the right people, protect data and ensure compliance.

Is SQL Server 2012 Proven? According to Microsoft, quite a few customers have been invited to kick the tires on this release. SQL Server 2012 has already been deployed for production use by hundreds of global, industry-leading customers, such as Volvo Car Corporation, Revlon, the HSN, Sanofi Pasteur, Klout and LG Chemical.

Will SQL Server 2012 Improve Performance? Microsoft and partners also announced today that SQL Server 2012 has demonstrated several new performance benchmarks through partner- and Microsoft-led testing that underscore SQL Server’s ability to scale across the enterprise.

Can SQL Server 2012 Tackle Big Data? IT research firm Gartner estimates that the volume of global data is growing at a rate of 59 percent per year, with 70 to 85 percent in unstructured form.* Furthering its commitment to connect SQL Server and rich business intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPivot for Excel 2010 and Power View, with unstructured data, Microsoft announced plans to release an additional limited preview of an Apache Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure in the first half of 2012.

Since the first limited preview released in December, customers such as Webtrends and the University of Dundee are using the Hadoop-based service to glean simple, actionable insights from complex data sets hosted in the cloud.

Will SQL Server 2012 Help ROI? Microsoft commissioned Forrester Consulting to perform a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study on the potential benefits of upgrading to SQL Server 2012. The study reports a potential Return on Investment (ROI) of up to 189 percent with a 12-month payback period.

When is the SQL Server 2012 Launch Event? Tomorrow. Register for the online launch event here: http://www.sqlserverlaunch.com/ww/Home

What do you think you will like about the new SQL Server 2012?

*Gartner Symposium Presentation, Information Management Goes “Extreme”: The Biggest Challenges for 21st-Century CIOs, Mark Beyer, October 2011.

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