It’s T-SQL Tuesday #100. Amazing. I can’t believe this has been going for so many years. I’m proud that I had the chance to host the main archive site at tsqltuesday.com and host a few topics.
This month we return to the original founder, Adam Machanic, with the topic of looking forward 100 months. I wrote about predictions last week, so here’s a shot at a few more details.
I’m approaching the big 60. It’s a year away, and I can remember joking with Allen White about how old he’s getting. In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I had the chance to mourn that milestone with Grant Fritchey as well. Apparently my turn is coming, but that’s fine.
Life is good and I still enjoy working with SQL Server. It’s been 35 years now that I’ve been on the platform and after a slow few years of few versions, things have taken off. As I write this, I’m working on CTP of v23. Microsoft tried to do away with version numbers, but there are still many of us that need to run our own SQL Server instance. We expect SQL Server 2026 to be released in a few months, and it’s looking good so far. I’m especially pleased that Microsoft has continued to produce separate versions of SQL Server for different platforms.
Linux and Beyond
A few years back we got a version of SQL Server on Linux. I remember being both pleased and surprised by the first demo I saw back in 2016. As I learned more about the process, it was a neat engineering challenge for the team, but once they conquered the underlying API mapping, the rest of the code based was roughly the same. This work allowed Microsoft to continue to expand their platforms, and today we have a small version of SQL Server Express on ARM processors, which can automatically sync data with our larger systems.
Speaking of syncing…
I’m not sure how or why, but in 2021, Microsoft finally started to put some resources onto replication. I suspect they realized that many companies need more than just HA solutions for full databases. Customers need to move data around for other systems, to ensure MDM works, and gain compliance with the GDPR, UK, Japanese, and other legal frameworks. Customers also need to move subsets around for reporting, so replication got some love.
It’s more robust, requiring DNS to register the publishers, distributors, and subscribers. We have custom schema changes that can move data, and the entire process actually has tooling in SSMS to help monitor the system.
All that work with Linux helped, with better network discovery and reliability across all SQL Server versions. Parts of the system are built on the old Data Sync architecture, and more people are willing to use it since we don’t have to drop and rebuild replication for schema changes.
Multiple Query Engines
A little over a 100 months ago, we got the graph query engine in SQL Server 2017. It wasn’t that popular, but people used it and now we can use both Gremlin and Cypher.
SQL Server also added MongoDB API support, as well as a streaming database option for the incredible levels of data ingest caused by the IoT device growth. These are add-ons, and at least with MongoDB, they’re free in all editions. Streaming requires enterprise, which makes sense. Smaller companies don’t really need that level of data ingest.
Almost everyone is thinking cloud first. Thankfully, Microsoft changed the pricing of Stretch Database, and allowed us to move data to the cloud or back again to meet our needs. This has been helpful as most companies use a hybrid system, and as they grow and stabilize their workloads, often want to bring some of their data back into their own data center.
We’ve gotten more choices, as well. There are third party vendors, like Rackspace, that can run an Azure SQL Database or a CosmosDB instance. Microsoft licenses the system and provides third level technical support, but this has made all the difference in the world. Companies know they aren’t stuck with Microsoft for Azure SQL Database, so they’re more willing to give it a try.
Closer to the End
It’s been a great SQL Server ride for me. At this point I’ve been working with SQL Server for 40 years, and I’m getting close to the end of my career. I really enjoy the platform, and I’m still keeping busy with SQLServerCentral, Redgate, and a few clients, but I’m also taking more and more time off.
Hopefully you’ve had a great career to this point, and you will continue to enjoy working with SQL Server, as I have.