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2012 was an amazing year for Microsoft SQL Server. The most major event was the release of SQL Server 2012, which came out in the middle of the year. I've got a feeling 2013 is going to be just as exciting, if not even more so. Here are my predictions of SQL Server trends we'll see in 2013 from Microsoft.
SQL Server vs. next release
We all know by now that Microsoft has sped up the release cycle for many of their products, releasing new versions much faster than before (anyone else remember the five-year wait between SQL Server 2000 and SQL Server 2005?). As SQL Server 2012 has been out of some time now, it's almost time to start the release cycle all over again with the private and public builds of SQL Server 2014 -- or whatever Microsoft ends up calling it.
I'm guessing we'll see announcements toward the middle of the year with private and possibly public bits being made available. Hopefully, CTP1 or CTP2 will be just in time for the SQL PASS summit.
Bigger, faster databases
It seems that every few months we hear about Intel releasing newer, faster processors that have more cores packed into each chip. These newer processors are going to allow us to have even bigger and more powerful SQL Servers, which means we will have even bigger databases that are going to be full of data that needs analyzing. In order to make the analysis of these databases easier, we will see record-sized SQL Server Analysis Services cubes being talked about in white papers and reference architectures.
As the servers we run SQL Server on get more and more powerful, business units will be running larger and larger systems with more data on them. We will begin to see more terabyte and multiterabyte OLTP databases as businesses remove more archiving and data-deletion procedures.
Hekaton public bits
Microsoft announced project Hekaton during the SQL PASS Keynote in November of 2012. I expect that during 2013 we will see a public alpha or beta build get released which has Hekaton baked in so that the general SQL Server user base can get their hands on this technology and really see what it can do for their systems. While the rollout of this technology will be limited by the amount of RAM you can fit into a server, as RAM prices continue to come down, so will we see larger and larger systems being turned into Hekaton databases.
Lots of AlwaysOn availability group projects
While some companies have been looking at deploying AlwaysOn Availability Groups, the number of projects just hasn't been what I expected to see this year. As the product has been out for several months now, and Service Pack 1 has already been released, I'm expecting a lot more people to be looking at deploying AlwaysOn Availability Groups on their systems for both high availability and disaster recovery. While there are a small number of consultants available to work on these projects, there are already lots of good consultants available to help with your AlwaysOn Availability Group projects -- and with bigger projects, hiring a consultant is a good idea.
I hope to see that Microsoft will announce that in the next version of SQL Server, there will be more AlwaysOn Availability Group replicas beyond the current five available in SQL Server 2012. I hope that Microsoft will also announce a version of AlwaysOn Availability Groups available for the standard edition of the next major release of SQL Server. I think that these two changes would allow for even more people to begin their transition from database mirroring on SQL Server 2008 R2 (and earlier) to SQL Server 2012, or start plans to move to the next release beyond SQL Server 2012.
Watch this space...
In the second part of this article I'll reveal more of my predictions and wishes for SQL Server in 2013. Stay tuned for my next article on SQL Server trends coming out shortly.