Microsoft Releases SQL Server 2012, Drives Advancements in Big Data

by STB Blogger

Today Microsoft made several announcements regarding the company’s commitment to help customers deal with any data, any size, anywhere.  For more information on the newest version of SQL Server, Microsoft’s work with big data, and updates to Microsoft’s data warehousing solutions, read on.

SQL Server 2012 released – The world’s most widely deployed data platform, Microsoft SQL Server 2012, has released to manufacturing (RTM), with an evaluation version available today. General availability will start on April 1. SQL Server 2012 is already making waves:

  • Demonstrating proven capabilities – Hundreds of global, industry-leading customers such as Volvo Car Corporation, Revlon, the Home Shopping Network, Sanofi Pasteur, Klout, and LG Chemical are deploying SQL Server 2012 to manage and analyze data of all sizes and types.
  • Setting new performance records – Microsoft and partners also announced today that SQL Server 2012 has demonstrated several new performance benchmarks through partner- and Microsoft-led testing that underscore SQL Server’s ability to scale across the enterprise.
  • Highlighting increased ROI – Microsoft has released results from a new Forrester Consulting commissioned Total Economic Impact (TEI) study on the potential benefits of upgrading to SQL Server 2012. The study reports a potential Return on Investment (ROI) of up to 189 percent with a 12-month payback period.

Furthering our big data commitment – Microsoft today also announced plans to release a new, limited preview of the Apache Hadoop-based service for Windows Azure in the first half of 2012. The service is optimized for connectivity with SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft’s industry-leading BI tools such as PowerPivot, Power View and Excel. 

  • Since the first limited preview of the service was released in December, customers such as Webtrends and University of Dundee have been testing the service to glean actionable insights from complex data sets hosted in the cloud. As a result, Microsoft is expanding the preview from 400 to nearly 2000 invitation codes.
  • The most important new features of the preview include:
  1. Mahout - an open source library that aids with building predictive analytics applications, ultimately helping organizations understand and anticipate useful data patterns.
  2. Disaster recovery of the HDFS Name Node – improves resilience of Hadoop distribution by maintaining critical metadata that can be used to recover a cluster in the event of catastrophic hardware failure.
  • Customers are encouraged to visit to register for the latest preview.
  • For additional perspective about Microsoft’s work with big data, check out corporate vice president Ted Kummert’s blog.

Other data platform news – Microsoft also disclosed new details about offerings that expand its data platform, along with information that helps customers realize increased business value. These include:

  • Fast Track for SQL Server 2012 – Fast Track Data Warehouse, a reference architecture designed by Microsoft and its hardware partners, accelerates customer implementation by offering optimal performance out of the box. Fast Track for SQL Server 2012 allows customers to take advantage of the latest generation of servers and storage from industry partners, while also including new features in SQL Server 2012 such as Power View, AlwaysOn and xVelocity. Fast Track will be available for order with SQL Server 2012. 
  • SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse Appliance Update 3 (AU3) – AU3 is a significant milestone for Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW). It includes a software/hardware refresh, feature improvements, and an extension of existing features based on customer feedback. Customers can expect up to 10x performance improvements with AU3.  Half-rack appliances are available from Dell today, and HP will offer half-rack appliances by April.  All PDW appliances from HP and Dell will include AU3 starting in Q2 of 2012. 
  • xVelocity in-memory technologies – xVelocity represents capabilities in SQL Server 2012 that deliver next-generation performance for data warehousing and business intelligence. xVelocity brings together the memory-optimized ColumnStore Index, an in-memory analytics engine, and a new query execution paradigm to increase performance by 10-100x.

For more information about today’s announcements, please visit the SQL Server 2012 virtual press kit. Also, visit the SQL Server 2012 Virtual Launch Event starting at 8:00 AM PT, Wednesday, March 7 to check out keynotes from Ted Kummert, corporate vice president, Business Platform Division and Quentin Clark, corporate vice president, Database Systems Group.