SQL Server 2016 release guide: News and analysis on the new version

Last updated:May 2016


Microsoft plans to launch the latest version of its SQL Server database, SQL Server 2016, into general availability on June 1, 2016. The SQL Server 2016 release updates the relational database by adding new features and improving upon existing ones from previous generations of SQL Server, with expanded capabilities in areas such as processing performance, cloud support, analytics and security. New SQL Server 2016 features include Stretch Database, Always Encrypted, PolyBase and support for the R programming language, while Microsoft has made enhancements to In-Memory OLTP (online transaction processing), AlwaysOn Availability Groups and more.

The saga of SQL Server 2016's release began at the Microsoft Ignite conference in May 2015, when the company first revealed that it was working on a public preview to be released that summer. At the conference, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the new version of SQL Server would be part of the software vendor's shift toward what he called "mobile first, cloud first" technologies. He and other Microsoft officials also noted that SQL Server 2016 would focus on improving the database's support for high-end data processing and its analytics and business intelligence capabilities, with a goal of helping users get more value out of their data. Since then, Microsoft has released several Community Technology Preview releases that gave beta testers an advance taste of the SQL Server 2016 features to come.

In this guide, find out more about the new features and learn what experts and early users have to say about the SQL Server 2016 release.

1New features-

What to look forward to in SQL Server 2016

SQL Server 2016's new and updated features come with a lot of hype from Microsoft. The articles in this section will give you a good look at what's really going on with key SQL Server 2016 features, plus advice on how to use them.


New feature Stretch Database lets databases expand to the cloud

Stretch Database, a new feature in SQL Server 2016 often called StretchDB, lets companies "stretch" their databases to store infrequently used data in the cloud while keeping heavily used data on-premises. Continue Reading


Everything you need to know about using PolyBase in SQL Server 2016

With PolyBase, when you use SQL Server 2016 as your data source, you have easy access to Hadoop and Azure Blob Storage data from whatever environment you're working in. Continue Reading


SQL Server 2016 breathes new life into In-Memory OLTP

Microsoft's in-memory OLTP needed improvements, and they are here with SQL Server 2016. Learn about the enhancements to this query-boosting feature. Continue Reading


The new and improved AlwaysOn Availability Groups: What's changed

Microsoft has added Distributed Transaction Coordinator support, optimized log transport and other features to AlwaysOn Availability Groups in SQL Server 2016. Continue Reading


In-Memory OLTP overcomes its limitations in SQL Server 2016 release

Once hampered by limitations, in-memory OLTP will be more robust and complete in SQL Server 2016. Learn about the improvements. Continue Reading


A look behind the mask of Microsoft's dynamic data masking feature

An expert provides a step-by-step guide for how to use dynamic data masking in SQL Server 2016 CTP2 and Azure SQL database to protect sensitive data. Continue Reading


SQL Server 2016 brings in new T-SQL commands, capabilities

Expert Ashish Kumar Mehta shares some of the enhancements to T-SQL ahead in SQL Server 2016. This includes a DROP IF EXISTS option and MAXDOP for DBCC CHECKDB. Continue Reading

2News and reviews-

Previewing SQL Server 2016

Since the initial announcement of SQL Server 2016, Microsoft has released several previews of the database that let dedicated users get an advance look at the product. In this section, SQL Server database administrators, developers and consultants review their favorite -- and not-so-favorite -- features in SQL Server 2016. You'll also find stories on developments related to the SQL Server 2016 release.


SQL Server developer shares what has him excited about SQL Server 2016

Experts discuss the public preview of SQL Server 2016 and the best new features as early adopters ready themselves to put SQL Server 2016 into production. Continue Reading


How SQL Server 2016 will make the lives of DBAs less difficult

SQL Server 2016 is on the launch pad for a June 1 release with a number of notable built-in features along with improvements to some long-neglected capabilities. Continue Reading


Beta testers get an early look at SQL Server 2016 software

Community Technology Previews show the creation process for Microsoft SQL Server 2016. SQL Server experts Denny Cherry and Joey D'Antoni share what they've learned in beta testing. Continue Reading


Cloud, security and analytics improvements in SQL Server 2016 spotlight

In a podcast, SearchSQLServer's Jessica Sirkin discusses the noteworthy features in SQL Server 2016, reactions from early users and issues to consider in thinking about upgrading. Continue Reading


Initial SQL Server 2016 previews show promise for full release

Microsoft SQL Server 2016 will be released on June 1, 2016; however, even in 2015, we were already receiving glimpses into features like improved in-memory OLTP, security features, analytics and Stretch Database. Continue Reading


Microsoft takes first step toward SQL Server 2016 release

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the SQL Server 2016 preview for this summer. Its new features model the ethos of "mobile first, cloud first." Continue Reading

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