Microsoft’s latest iteration of their versatile and venerable SQL Server has arrived, and the 2019 version touts a number of powerful features. With support across multiple operating systems, development languages, and data types, as well as expanded data virtualization abilities, advanced security features, and improved intelligence over your data, SQL Server 2019 is sure to have an impact on how your business handles data. With this post, we’ll dive into the details of SQL Server 2019’s new capabilities and how it will impact your organization.

 

Big Data Analytics

Possibly the most significant addition is the integration of Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS). With these powerful tools included right out of the box, SQL Server is transformed into a hub for data integration that can deliver amazing insights over both structured and unstructured data. This new ability to create big data clusters provides an incredible expansion of database management capabilities and helps SQL Server extend far beyond a traditional relational database.

The 2019 release also adds powerful analytics features like real-time analytics on operational data using in-memory technologies and HTAP. Further, you can query your data using your preferred programming language in SQL Server or Spark and apply SQL Server Machine Learning Services or Spark ML to train data models.

Despite all these additions, all the data in the world is worthless without effective insights and visualizations. Fear not, though, as Microsoft has added features that allow users to better leverage Power BI Report Server and SQL Server Reporting Services. This integration gives your data users access to rich, interactive reports and visualizations from Power BI and extensive enterprise reporting capabilities.

 

Versatility

With this update, Microsoft aims to increase adoption with the ability to install SQL Server 2019 on Windows, Linux, and containers. You can now take on nearly any data project, from traditional SQL Server workloads like OLTP, Data Warehousing, and Business Intelligence, to the AI and advanced analytics features we mentioned above. The 2019 release will also extend a significant capability of Microsoft’s cloud database, Cosmos DB, to all Azure customers, and allows users of other databases to query data stored in Oracle, Teradata, or MongoDB directly from SQL Server. As you can imagine, these new capabilities and increased flexibility let your business construct modern applications and optimize how your company handles data.

 

Performance

Microsoft did not forget about enhancements to performance, security, and availability with their latest release of SQL Server. They’ve boosted security through improved protection of in-use and at-rest data and protection of computations in Always-Encrypted secure enclaves. According to Microsoft, SQL Server has been the least vulnerable database over the last eight years in the NIST vulnerabilities database. Another aspect of performance that Microsoft sought to improve was compliance tracking. They’ve added Data Discovery & Classification labeling for GDPR compliance, as well as a Vulnerability Assessment tool to help track compliance. Lastly, key improvements were made to reduce database maintenance and increase business uptime. Some examples include more online indexing operations and the introduction of Always-On availability groups on containers using Kubernetes

In closing, Microsoft has done a fantastic job of expanding the capabilities of SQL Server and has rounded some sharp edges with the 2019 release. We think these features will have a significant improvement on what companies can do with their data. Performance is markedly increased across a number of areas – security, analytics, etc. – and those advantages can now be leveraged across even more platforms and operating systems!


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