Microsoft said it will unveil its next version of SQL Server, the company’s flagship database product on June 1, the company announced today.
The release follows Microsoft’s usual round of public previews and release candidates since the company first announced this update in 2015. Maybe the biggest difference between this release cycle and others is that the company first tested many of the new features of SQL Server 2016 in its Azure cloud.
As we reported earlier this year, the focus of this update is on speed and security (with the ability to perform some queries on encrypted data without having to decrypt it first), but with this new version, Microsoft is also positioning SQL Server as a solution for data warehousing and big data analytics, thanks to both its built-in R support and its ability to store and query both structured and unstructured data.
Clearly, though, Microsoft is most excited about the speed-ups the update promises — even without making any hardware changes. The company promises that most queries should now run an average of 25 percent faster than before (on the same hardware). Microsoft also today announced a new Lenovo benchmark that shows SQL Server 2016 running on Windows Server 2016 (which is still in preview) handling a standard database test using 30 terabyte of data faster than any of its competitors.
As DocuSign VP of platform engineering Eric Fleischman disclosed that his company currently uses SQL Server 2016 for storing the metadata of the tens of thousands of transactions per second its users create on the service, among other parts of its system. DocuSign has been testing SQL Server 2016 and Fleischman called the performance gains it has been able to achieve “off the charts.” These performance gains, as well as the addition of availability groups, are what DocuSign is most excited about in making the switch to the 2016 edition.
Asked why DocuSign didn’t opt for one of the many open-source competitor to SQL Server, Fleischman said that he looks at choosing SQL Server as essentially a hiring decision.
“When you pick SQL [Server] or anything else, you are making a hiring decision,” he said. “Are they going to help me? We don’t want to go write a database. We want to work with a team that builds databases. That’s why we are staying on this train. The team is receptive and helps us.”