For nearly half of my life, I’ve looked forward to new versions of SQL Server. At first I was just hoping to see SQL Server run on a stable OS, as the OS/2 1v.3 was my original installation. That system couldn’t run 12 hours without someone restarting it, and the upgrade to SQL 4.2b and OS/2 2.1 was welcome. That change reduced my schedule below the 100hr/week level. It wasn’t long after that we upgraded to Windows 3.1 Advanced Server, and never looked back. Since then, I’ve upgraded through all the versions since. From 6.0 to 6.5 to 7.0, and then all the 200x versions.
This week, Microsoft announced the general availability of SQL Server 2017 will come on Oct 2, 2017. This will also be the version that debuts on Linux and in Docker. I’ve been running SQL Server on Linux, and overall, I enjoy it. I’ve experimented with Docker, and since I often have multiple versions running, I think containerized SQL Server is likely the way to go for development systems. Perhaps even further downstream at some point. We’ll see, as I’m not completely sure that containers are the best choice for database systems, but I am considering them as a possible replacement for VMs.
I haven’t always thought every upgrade of SQL Server was worth installing for many data professionals. I think a few versions were really point releases, incorporating limited changes that affected few people. For my own systems, I’ve often looked to skip a version, though that depends on my needs. I think SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2012, and 2016 were worthwhile upgrades with lots of new features. However, some of those features are immature, so perhaps 2008 R2, 2014, and 2017 were better choices for moving your production systems.
There aren’t a lot of changes in SQL Server 2017, but the addition of Linux and the query plan improvements will be helpful to many of us. If you are looking to install a new system, take a look at this version. It’s a more solid SQL Server 2016, even if you don’t need the new features. I am happy that Microsoft is releasing more often, giving me the option of adopting new features quicker. I don’t know if I’d want something like graph database capabilities, but I’m glad I get the choice in 2017 rather than having to wait until 2019 or 2020.