vNext 2016

We have a name for the next version of SQL Server: SQL Server 2016. I suspect the internal build may be v14, which I guess makes sense if you’re superstitious about the number 13, or you think your customers are. There are plenty of v13s out there for various other software packages, so I’m not sure if this is an issue, but we’ll see when we get a public CTP for the next version of SQL Server.

vNext has been the way to refer to the next version of Microsoft products before a decision is announced about the official name. This convention seems to have taken over from code names, which makes sense, but it certainly is less fun than hearing Denali, Yukon, or some of the names that have been used for SQL Server. 

Perhaps this is a sign of maturity within Microsoft? It certainly could be as releasing a new version of SQL Server every two years doesn’t happen without some discipline and rigorous engineering effort. Despite the issues with SQL Server 2014 SP1, I do think Microsoft has done a nice job taking a formal approach to software engineering with SQL Server.

I am a bit more interested in SQL Server 2016 than I was in SQL Server 2014. Perhaps that’s just the fact that some significant changes might take longer than two years to implement and a number of them are coming in SQL Server 2016. I certainly looked forward to SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2012 more than the “R2” and 2014 releases. It has seemed that every other release has more significant enhancements and includes more reasons for me to consider upgrading. I think SQL Server 2016 is one of those releases.

The datasheet shows a number of features that I Think make this a compelling release. I worry about security and the Always Encrypted idea seems very interesting. We’ll see how it looks once we get details. I like the improvements to AlwaysOn as well as the changes to include JSON and R support into the database engine. Row Level Security is in Azure now, but I think that’s important in the boxed product, and, of course, the Query Store is something I’ve been looking forward to for years. If you don’t know about that, read about it now. I was hoping to link to Conor Cunningham’s SQL Bits session, but I’m guessing recording wasn’t allowed.

There’s more coming, including the “Stretch to Azure” feature, which I’m not sure about. I’d feel better about “copy to Azure”, but perhaps I can keep local filegroup backups of this data, so that might make sense. I’m sure many of you won’t like some features, but this does seem like a compelling release. Depending on how pricing and licensing might change.

Steve Jones

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