Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2014 to Manufacturing

The newest version of Microsoft's relational database management system touts in-memory transaction processing and hybrid deployment scenarios.

After nearly nine months in community preview, Microsoft today released SQL Server 2014 to manufacturing with generally available planned for April 1.

The new version of Microsoft's relational database management system is focused on providing robust support for hybrid deployment scenarios and rounding out the core workloads Microsoft's in-memory technology supports with in-memory online transaction processing (in-memory OLTP).

Microsoft already supports business intelligence (BI) as part of Analysis Services, Excel and Power BI for Office 365; complex event processing with StreamInsight; and in-memory columnstore in SQL Server and its Parallel Data Warehouse product.

"This finishes a journey that we started a number of years ago," says Quentin Clark, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Data Platform Group. "What's important about this whole in-memory journey is that we've been building this into our products. We're not telling our customers to build new applications or buy new products. We're building them right into the products they already have, already love and already know how to use."

Clark says that the new in-memory OLTP technology allows SQL Server 2014 to deliver speed improvements of up to 30x when processing transactions.

He points to Microsoft customer Bwin.Party, an online digital entertainment company focused on casino games, poker and sports betting that formed in 2010 as a result of the merger of two online gambling giants: Bwin and Party Gaming. Following the merger and consolidation of its two high-traffic websites, the company was saddled with severe scalability issues. Its system allowed it to process only about 15,000 requests per second, but peak loads required it to be able to process 30,000 requests per second.

"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," Clark says. "It is exciting to see what customers can do when raw performance and throughput of a database changes this dramatically."

Another example is Belgian firm Ferranti Computer Systems, which provides smart metering solutions to energy, water and utilities companies worldwide. Ferranti used the in-memory OLTP technologies in SQL Server 2014 to help utilities switch from traditional meters that measure usage once a month to new smart meters that provide measurements every 15 minutes. The technology has helped its system scale from supporting 5 million transactions a month to supporting 500 million transactions a day.

SQL Server 2014 Supports Hybrid Cloud Deployment

Microsoft has also focused on making SQL Server 2014 a solution that seamlessly supports whichever deployment option suits customers, on-premise, in the cloud or any variation thereof. It's available on-premise, in the cloud, through hosters, in virtual machines and via a platform-as-a-service option called Windows Azure SQL Database.

"Customers can easily and securely backup and recover on-premises SQL Server databases using Windows Azure," Clark says. "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 customer's disaster recovery solution. This turnkey solution builds on SQL Server 2014 availability in Window 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."

Clark says that SQL Server 2014 will be available in a Windows Azure virtual machine image as part of general availability on April 1. He adds that SQL Server 2014 will keep the same licensing and pricing model as SQL Server 2012.

Thor Olavsrud covers IT Security, Big Data, Open Source, Microsoft Tools and Servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.

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