Top 5 New Features in SQL Server 2016

SQL Server

The next version of SQL Server will be available soon, and I’m looking at what features I’m excited to use. This is a list of the top 5 features I’m looking forward to using in SQL Server 2016, in no particular order.

  1. JSON Support – The way this is implemented in SQL Server 2016 is similar to the way XML support is built in with FOR JSON and OPENJSON.
  2. Always Encrypted – SQL Server has supported both column-level encryption, encryption at rest, and encryption in transit for a while. However these had to be configured independently and were frequently misconfigured. Always Encrypted is new functionality through the use of an enhanced client library at the application so the data stays encrypted while stored in the database and while in transit.
  3. In-Memory Enhancements – In SQL Server 2016 this feature is vastly improved over what was possible in SQL Server 2014, adding the support for foreign keys, unique constraints, and parallelism. Also tables are supported with sizes up to 2TB, which is significantly larger than the old 256GB limit is SQL Server 2014.
  4. Query Store – The Query Store feature maintains a history of query execution plans (configured at the individual database level) with their performance data, and quickly identifies queries that have gotten slower. This allows administrators (or developers) to force the use of an older, better plan if it is needed.
  5. Row-Level Security – A feature that SQL Server has lacked natively is the ability to provide row-level security. This feature restricts which users can view row data in a table, based on a function. SQL Server 2016 introduces this feature, which doesn’t include inserts and inserts, but it is a great first step.

What features are you excited to start evaluating and moving into your production environment?

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