Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2014 Preview

Tuesday Jun 25th 2013 by Pedro Hernandez
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SQL Server 2014 preview hits Microsoft's download servers. Highlights include an in-memory boost and cloud-enabled workload mobility options.

Brad Anderson, corporate vice president of Windows Server and System Center at Microsoft, took to the stage at TechEd Europe in Madrid, Spain today to announce the immediate availability of the SQL Server 2014 preview edition. Evaluation versions of Windows Server 2012 R2 and System Center 2012 R2 were also released during the event.

Altogether, Microsoft's updated database and server operating system ecosystem will provide for businesses the tools to operate in a cloud economy, according to Anderson. "These products are going to have a massive impact on companies around the world – and IT pros are going to see the traditional boundaries between datacenters vanish and a true hybrid cloud emerge," he wrote in The Official Microsoft Blog.

As part of Microsoft's Cloud OS vision, SQL Server 2014 features analytics-enabling capabilities that are taking the enterprise cloud software market by storm. "SQL Server 2014 features in-memory processing for applications (“Hekaton”), as well as data warehousing and business intelligence," announced Anderson.

Cloud-aware data protection and workload migration features offer database administrators flexibility. "SQL Server 2014 also enables new hybrid scenarios like AlwaysOn availability, cloud backup and disaster recovery. It lives in Windows Azure and can be easily migrated to the cloud from on-premises," added  Anderson.

In another blog post, the SQL Server team said the new database software's in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) capabilities, "which are built in to core SQL Server database," improves performance on existing hardware. SQL Server 2014's data warehousing tech, In-Memory ColumnStore, provides enhanced real-time analytics support.

Also new is buffer pool extension support for SSDs, which "extends your in-memory buffer pools to SSDs for faster paging" and faster SQL Server query processing. Windows Cluster Shared Volumes support has been added to Failover Cluster Instances.

When deployed together, SQL Server 2014 and Windows Server 2012 R2 can scale up to 640 logical processors and 4 TB of RAM.  In virtualized environments, they can scale up to 64 virtual processors and 1 TB of memory per virtual machine. The combo also extends Network virtualization, NIC teaming and storage virtualization capabilities to SQL Server.

The group plans to roll out SQL Server 2014's complete hybrid cloud feature set in a future CTP release, but for the time being, Microsoft is offering at the software's new hybrid cloud deployment wizard. As part of SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), the point-and-click wizard guides admins through the steps of deploying "existing SQL Server databases into Windows Azure Virtual Machine."

SQL Server 2014 CTP1 is available for download now at Microsoft's TechNet Evaluation Center. Hardware and software requirements can be found on MSDN.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Database Journal and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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