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

Last updated:May 2016

Editor's note

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.

1Previewing 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.