Microsoft SQL Server 2016 now generally available

Microsoft has now announced the general availability of its SQL Server 2016 product, after releasing a preview build late last year.

The offering comes with a couple of novelties, including the updateable in-memory columnstores and advanced analytics through deep integration with R Services.

SQL Server 2016 also offers advanced analytics and machine learning models in the database, which Microsoft says will have a hundred-fold speed-up in time to insight, compared to similar deployments outside the database.

Announcing the product in a blog post, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Data Group, Joseph Sirosh, calls the SQL Server 2016 the world's fastest and most price-performant database for hybrid transactional and analytical processing (HTAP):

"The integration of advanced analytics into a transactional database is revolutionary. Today a majority of advanced analytic applications use a primitive approach of moving data from databases into the application tier to derive intelligence,” he says.

“This approach incurs high latency because of data movement, doesn’t scale as data volumes grow and burdens the application tier with the task of managing and maintaining analytical models. And deep analytics on real-time transactions are next to impossible without a lot of heavy lifting.”

Sirosh also says the new product can deliver ‘dramatic improvements’ compared to earlier versions of the SQL Server, all while not increasing the price. The product comes in four versions: Enterprise, Standard Express and Developer. The latter is a free download, but created for testing purposes, only.

When first announced, the SQL Server 2016 had raised a lot of dust, especially because Microsoft openly tried to lure Oracle users with free licenses.