SQL Server 2012 features: Weighing the benefits, limitations

Last updated:March 2014


New features of SQL Server 2012, such as column-based querying, high-availability enhancements, and improved Excel-based analytics and reporting capabilities, have impressed many Microsoft customers, particularly in smaller organizations. This version offers much more than SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 in terms of wielding big data sets and supplying valuable business intelligence (BI) information. Organizations seeking to expand their BI platform must consider newly baked SQL Server 2012features, including the BI Semantic Model, Data Quality Services and Power View.

However, the cost and inconvenience associated with migration is prohibitive at this time for many businesses. Large businesses with homogeneous database environments may not be enticed to dismantle their whole database infrastructure in order to deploy SQL Server 2012, despite its many enhancements. Furthermore, not everyone understands the licensing changes that come with this version, and licensing in a virtual environment is even more complicated than usual, though the costs may be reduced.

On the fence about whether your organization is ready for SQL Server 2012? Explore all that SQL Server 2012 has to offer in this guide, which delivers tips, advice and information on its benefits and limitations.


SQL Server 2012 features and tools

Microsoft made several changes and upgrades with the release of SQL Server 2012. The articles in this section tell you what you need to know about its BI capabilities, enhanced security updates, management tools and bonus features, such as Columnstore Indexes.


Examining the five BI features highlighted in SQL Server 2012

Learn about the BI Semantic Model and Data Quality Services, as well as three other business intelligence features of SQL Server 2012, in this tip. Continue Reading


Gain familiarity with these useful SQL Server 2012 features

Explore some lesser-known SQL Server 2012 features favored by SQL Server expert Roman Rehak. Continue Reading


What is the SQL Server 2012 contained database?

Learn the ins and outs of the contained database and why it may be the most important feature of SQL Server 2012. Continue Reading


Seen it all? Revealing more features of SQL Server 2012

Gain insight into the Microsoft SQL Server 2012 features Columnstore Indexes and Hekaton in this article. Continue Reading


How xVelocity helps with Columnstore Indexes

SearchSQLServer contributor Basit Farooq explains how the xVelocity Columnstore Indexes in SQL Server 2012 work. Continue Reading


Understanding the security changes that come with SQL Server 2012

Learn which types of changes users should expect in SQL Server security with this release of SQL Server. Continue Reading


Business intelligence capabilities tailored for users, IT

Industry watchers discuss the BI features of MS SQL Server 2012, including Power View and master data management, in this tip. Continue Reading


Improve efficiency with these top six SQL Server 2012 management tools

This tip highlights the top six time-saving and job-improving SQL Server 2012 management tools you should know. Continue Reading

2Pros and cons-

Evaluating SQL Server 2012 features' pros and cons

Industry watchers agree that SQL Server 2012 is one of Microsoft's strongest SQL Server versions to date, but does that mean it's right for your business? Research and evaluate the best features, including BI tools and data warehouse appliances -- but also learn why experts say this version isn't a game-changer and isn't necessarily right for all organizations.


Is your organization ready for SQL Server 2012?

SQL Server 2012 offers enhanced performance and support, but is lacking when it comes to application compatibility. Continue Reading


SQL Server 2012 robust, but not disruptive to the database market

While SQL Server 2012 offers BI and high-availability strengths, industry observers warn that it needs to overcome database inertia. Continue Reading


SQL Server 2012 data warehouse appliances and your business

This tip examines HP and Dell SQL Server 2012 data warehouse appliances that might suit your business needs. Continue Reading


Attack massive data sets with SQL Server 2012 scalability features

Learn about the scalability and capacity features of SQL Server 2012 that target applications working with massive data sets. Continue Reading


Delving into the many levels of SQL Server 2012 business intelligence

In this book excerpt from SQL Server expert Brian Larson, learn more about the BI tools available and how they can help improve business decision making. Continue Reading

3Big data-

How SQL Server 2012 accommodates big data needs

With the release of SQL Server 2012, Microsoft increases its features for big data sets. Rather than go it alone, Microsoft partnered with Hadoop to support the processing of large data sets, a smart move according to users. Column-based querying and improvements to Excel-based analytics are among the benefits to this integration. The articles in this section offer more details.


Integration of big data capabilities popular among SQL Server 2012 users

Users share the ways the Apache Hadoop integration with SQL Server 2012 has simplified ad hoc querying and other big data management functions. Continue Reading


The big data capabilities of SQL Server 2012

SQL Server offers more in terms of big data capabilities, as well as open source and cloud computing, with its 2012 version, according to Microsoft database platform specialist Mark Kromer. Continue Reading


Microsoft reveals Hadoop-based big data strategy for SQL Server 2012 release

SQL Server 2012 includes a melding of Hadoop with Windows Azure as a strategy to handle the big data explosion. Continue Reading


SQL Azure cloud and big data influence changes in SQL Server landscape

This article details the changes in the SQL Server landscape associated with the SQL Server 2012 release and considerations like Azure and big data. Continue Reading

4The fine print-

Tips for purchasing, licensing and installation

If your organization is seriously considering an upgrade to SQL Server 2012, you'll want to learn about the pricing and licensing changes that come with this release. The articles in this section offer insights into the details related to purchasing, licensing, installing and configuring SQL Server 2012.


SQL Server 2012's new licensing model: A vote of confidence

Get insights into the key features of SQL Server 2012 and get more information about the core-based licensing model from data platform specialist Mark Kromer. Continue Reading


Understanding the myriad changes with SQL Server 2012 pricing, licensing

Adjustments abound in SQL Server 2012 pricing, including a change from processor- to core-based licensing and fewer editions. Continue Reading


Getting started with SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB

Developers can gain familiarity with SQL Server 2012 by using Express LocalDB, introduced in this tip. Continue Reading


Preparing your system for a SQL Server 2012 upgrade

Explore whether your system is ready to take advantage of the capabilities available with SQL Server 2012. Continue Reading


Decipher the SQL Server 2012 virtual environment licensing model

Learn how to navigate SQL Server 2012 licensing in virtual environments. This tip explains the different editions and licensing options. Continue Reading


Ease configuration with Fast Track Data Warehouse reference architecture

Explore the Microsoft guidelines for a hardware-software configuration that enables top performance from SQL Server 2012. Continue Reading

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