Relational database management system guide: RDBMS still on top
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Product of the Month
Product of the Month: SQL Server 2014, from Microsoft
Release date: April 1, 2014
What it does
SQL Server 2014 is the latest version of Microsoft's relational database management system, released to general availability at the start of this month. Among other enhancements, it offers increased processing speed, greater cloud connectivity and higher memory limits -- all part of Microsoft's ongoing effort to improve SQL Server's ability to handle enterprise-class transaction processing and analytics applications.
What sets it apart
SQL Server 2014 can be run on-premises, entirely in the cloud or in hybrid cloud environments that include on-premises data. Its most-anticipated new feature is In-Memory OLTP, a memory-optimized online transaction processing engine integrated into the database that lets tables stored in memory be processed alongside disk-based tables. Microsoft boasts that using In-Memory OLTP can boost transaction processing performance by as much as 30 times compared to conventional approaches with data stored on disks. SQL Server 2014 also accelerates the In-Memory ColumnStore data warehousing technology introduced in the 2012 version, giving the new database a powerful one-two punch on in-memory processing.
What users say
Wolfgang "Rick" Kutschera is team leader of database engineering at Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment, a SQL Server 2014 beta tester. The Gibraltar-based company, which specializes in online betting, has 180 servers with a total of 4,000 SQL Server instances. Kutschera said that using In-Memory OLTP enabled Bwin.Party to scale up its processing capacity to support business growth without spending money on more hardware. He described the in-memory feature as "one of the most amazing things Microsoft has done in a while."
Organizations should go into SQL Server 2014 implementations "with open eyes," Kutschera said. But, he added, the database "is so flexible and so stable that we're comfortable using the beta in production."
Edgenet Inc., an Atlanta-based software and services provider for the retail industry, has had a similar experience with SQL Server 2014. Vice President of IT Michael Steineke said the in-memory computing capabilities allow Edgenet to process product pricing and availability data from clients' stores in near real time.
"We needed to leverage the in-memory functionality to do continuous updates to live systems without having a lot of latch contention or lock contention," Steineke said. "That way, we could update product availability information from various retailers as quickly as they can provide it to us."
- Can be deployed on-premises, in the cloud or in hybrid environments.
- Adds a new in-memory transaction processing engine to boost OLTP performance.
- Improves on SQL Server's AlwaysOn Availability Groups high-availability technology.
SQL Server 2014 has three main editions: Standard, Business Intelligence and Enterprise. Each edition has a set list of features -- for example, In-Memory OLTP is available only in the Enterprise Edition. The editions are priced either per CPU core or by server and client access licenses. Microsoft wouldn't disclose specific pricing, but a representative said there are "no pricing changes to SQL Server 2014" from SQL Server 2012's licensing costs.
Jessica Sirkin is associate site editor of SearchSQLServer, and Mark Fontecchio is news director for it and other TechTarget sites. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, and follow us on Twitter: @SearchSQLServer.