The Best Ever

Every few years, or every year now, we see a new version of SQL Server proclaimed as the best ever. A few weeks ago, I saw a number of people leaving hte MVP Summit, rating it as the best ever summit. At SQL Bits or the PASS Summit every year, there’s no shortage of people posting about that event being the best conference.

Is this a human view, that the latest one is often the best one ever if we enjoyed it? Perhaps we learn something and we’re excited about the latest new SQL thing and so we’re excited to proclaim it the best?

What’s the best SQL Server version? Is there one for you? Some of you might be new to SQL Server or have worked with few versions, but perhaps one stands out. I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of versions, so the choices are hard. I’ve written code for SQL Server: 4.2, 6.0, 6.5, 7.0, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2008R2, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017.

I have two votes here. You might like one, and likely will disagree with one. First, I’ll say that I have a fondness for SQL Server 2000. This was a stable, long awaited version that dramatically improved my life from SQL 6.5. It was more reliable and faster, and since it came after a relatively short time after v7, I ended up standardizing on this at a few jobs. Most of my upgrades were to SQL Server 2000 and it lasted a long time as the standard version. It was 5 years before SQL Server 2005 was released, an eternity in today’s software lifecycle. There were some bumps in the road (SQL Slammer), but a better security coding model came about at Microsoft during this version as well as SSRS (added later).

My other choice, maybe the top one, is SQL Server 2016. A number of security changes (AE, RLS, etc) as well as the inclusion of many features in Standard Edition (with SP1) make this my favorite. We got stability from the second version of OLTP tables and the third version of Availability Groups. I think SQL Server 2016 was perhaps the best version of SQL Server I’ve seen.

You might have other votes, and let me know today. Is there a version that’s near and dear to your heart.

Steve Jones

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