Microsoft has officially released SQL Server 2016 on June 1st 2016. We can download an evaluation edition from here. This trial edition expires after 180 days, after which we will need to upgrade it to a licensed edition or download free express edition if the features used are minimal. Microsoft has introduced many new features with SQL Server 2016 in different areas. Some of the popular features include, Stretch database, Always Encrypt, Data Masking, also promises of significant improvement in the performance, much closer integration with SQL Azure, temporal tables, query store, Row level security, changes to upgrade advisor, etc. Initially Microsoft has released release candidate versions RC0, RC1, RC2 and RC3, which was downloaded and tested by many users in the DBA and Developer community and by some organizations and enough feedback was provided to improve the product. There were many bugs identified with the initial RC versions on various features, which were subsequently fixed in later RC versions.
Now SQL Server 2016 official RTM version has been launch on June 1st 2016. Once you install the new SQL Server 2016 RTM version, then you will see the build number as 13.0.1601.5. Some insights from Microsoft release documentation are “SQL Server 2016 is here! It is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft’s data platform history with faster transactions and queries, deeper insights on any device, advanced analytics, new security technology, and new hybrid cloud scenarios. SQL Server 2016 delivers breakthrough mission-critical capabilities with in-memory performance and operational analytics built-in. Comprehensive security features like new Always Encrypted technology helps protect your data at rest and in motion, and a world class high availability and disaster recovery solution adds new enhancements to AlwaysOn technology.You can also gain the benefits of hyper-scale cloud with new hybrid scenarios enabled by new Stretch Database technology that lets you dynamically stretch your warm and cold transactional data to Microsoft Azure in a secured way so your data is always at hand for queries, no matter the size. In addition, SQL Server 2016 delivers a complete database platform for hybrid cloud, enabling you to easily build, deploy and manage solutions that span on-premises and cloud.”
Another exciting news from Microsoft team is the announcement of further details regarding SQL Server support on Linux Operating System. So far SQL Server was supported only on Windows environment, but not there is lot of work in progress to get SQL Server work on linux environment too, just like it works on a Windows environment. SQL Server version which works on linux has not yet been released with SQL Server 2016, instead it may be released as a sub version later or as a new SQL Server version, but looks mostly it will be a sub version of SQL Server 2016 R2 or as part of a service pack. If you want to get hands on with SQL Server 2017 linux version, then at this point all we can do is sign up for Microsoft SQL Server on Linux and wait for further updates. You can register here for Microsoft SQL Server on Linux preview. Also, there has been a video released with small demos on installing and running SQL Server on linux environment. You can watch the video here. Important thing to note is that only database engine is so far been created and tested, but other services like Integration services, Reporting services, Analysis Services are still going to take some time to get on to the linux environment.
Hope this was helpful.
This is applicable for below versions of SQL Server
SQL Server 2016
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