I tried to keep a running list of headlines from 2014, and as I look back at them, I find a few things standing out. The first item is that we got a new version of SQL Server. In April, SQL Server 2014 was released, which was a bit over two years after SQL Server 2012. There was a lot of interest and excitement in the Hekaton, In-Memory technology, but the reality of the limitations intruded and it seems relatively few people have been willing to upgrade for this technology.
In fact, I might argue that apart from Hekaton, this wasn’t necessarily worthy of a full release. PowerBI, BPE, the cardinality estimator changes, some Azure improvements and AlwaysOn changes, all were included, but this felt like a bit of a mish-mosh of features. We didn’t see many of the technologies from previous versions (Service Broker, Contained DAtabases, SSRS, SSIS, etc) enhanced or improved. With the additional costs for core licensing that were introduced in SQL Server 2012, it still seems that many companies are trying to continue to use SQL Server 2008 R2 and below to handle their workloads where possible.
This isn’t to say that the product hasn’t improved quite a bit. It’s just that the value received for the increased licensing costs is becoming lower. That concerns me a bit as other platforms mature at lower price points. We’ll see what this means as we move forward.
It does seem that 2014 was year of the data breech. We had Target, Yahoo Mail, Home Depot, Kmart, Sony, and more. I know there were plenty more, but these were the top ones I tracked in 2014. I expect more to occur in 2015, and I would not be surprised to find more attacks against smaller companies as the techniques and tools used by hackers spread. I wouldn’t be surprised to find hackers practicing on smaller targets, like the companies you and I work for. Security will become more important, so learn more, set up auditing, and continue to improve your monitoring.
This year we also see SQL Server really evolving for the professionals. We’ve had Hadoop use grow quite a bit, and a continued emphasis from Microsoft on the PowerPivot/Power Query/Tabular technologies. The press for BI technologies from both Microsoft and PASS, almost one and the same now, seems to be regular and consistent. I’m not sure if this push will become commonplace for most data professionals, but I do know quite a few BI consultants that are very busy. We will see how much adoption increases, but if more organizations don’t start using these technologies more, it’s not for a lack of trying.
We had lots of events in 2014, over 20 for me, and I expect to see more opportunities, in more places, for people to learn about SQL Server. More SQL Saturdays, more smaller conferences, and of course, plenty of big conferences (DevConnections/DevIntersection/PASS Summit) to choose from. If you want an event near you in 2015, think about organizing one. It doesn’t have to be a ton or work if you can get 3-4 people to help, and it seems there is no shortage of speakers to help teach people about the platform. Send a note if you’re interested, and if you move quickly, maybe I’ll come.