I recently got my first look at SQL Server 2012. I'm quiteimpressed with Microsoft's newest enterprise database solution. Three newfeatures that really impressed me are Availability Groups, PowerView, and Column-storeindexing. These three features deal with high availability, businessintelligence, and performance, respectively.
The first thing that struck me with Always On Availability Groupsis the ease of implementation. In seconds, with the help of Server 2012'smanagement console, you're able to have a replica up and running. It seems tome with the new Server products Microsoft has done a much better job of removingthe complexity for implementation. This feature has made configuring highavailability of your mission critical DBs that much faster and easier in SQLServer 2012.
PowerView is a game changer as big data is only gettingbigger. Here is a tool that allows you to actually get useful/actionableinformation from your data. Built specifically for providing users with a toolto visualize the data in your SQL Server 2012 databases, PowerView has theeasily navigated ribbon toolbars like Microsoft Office. With easy filtering,sorting, and design functionality, you’re able to create reports on your datain real time. To prevent impacting performance on your database, PowerView onlycollects the data needed for displayed reports.
A small but effective feature I really like is Column-storeIndexes. In today’s world the need to analyze data quicker is no longer anoption, but vital in most implementations. Column-store Indexes help by takinga new approach to sorting data to improve the databases’ performance. Databasesare traditionally indexed at the row level and in most cases each row in adatabase contains different field types. When indexing is done at the columnlevel each column only had one field type making compression greater. Withgreater compression there are fewer bits to be read during a query and there isa greater ability to keep the column index in RAM providing a nice performanceboost. Additionally, instead of having to read every single row when queried, Column-storeindexes only need to be referenced when relevant.
Overall SQL Server 2012 is an all-around improvement frompast versions. There are features throughout making SQL Server more reliable,quicker, and easier to use. You can test out these new features withMicrosoft’s SQL Server Virtual Labs http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/learning-center/virtual-labs.aspx
By Gary Eimerman, Director of Product Development,TrainSignal