About Me

I now work for Microsoft Federal in Chevy Chase, MD.

Dedicated to providing customer-driven, results-focused solutions to the complex business problems of today... and tomorrow.

At SQLTrainer.com, LLC  we understand that the technical challenges faced by businesses today are much greater in both scope and complexity than they have ever been. Businesses today are faced with understanding both local IT infrastructures as well as cloud-based technologies.

What is SQLTrainer.com?

Founded in 1998 by Ted Malone, SQLTrainer.com is a technical consulting, training and content development firm dedicated to the following core principles:

  • Technology Alone is NOT the Answer! - Implementing a particular technology because it is interesting or "cool" will not solve customer problems.
  • Technology Solutions do NOT need to be Overly Complex! - Many times developers and technical practitioners will attempt to build the most clever solution possible. While this serves to stroke the egos of those involved, it doesn't provide a maintainable solution.
  • Consultants Should be Mentors First! - When looking to hire an external consultant, businesses should look to the consultant who's willing to train themselves out of a paycheck.

Why the name, SQLTrainer.com?

SQL (pronounced See-Quell) stands for Structured Query Language, which is at the heart of every modern-day relational database system. Since many technology solutions today rely on some form of database storage or interaction, it was only logical to find a way to incorporate SQL into the name of the organization. Given that one of our core principles is to be a mentor/training above everything, the name SQLTrainer made sense. Since we also wanted to represent our embracing of the cloud, it seemed logical to add the ".com", referring to the biggest "cloud" of them all.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015 11:00:00 AM

We are pleased to announce availability of the Microsoft JDBC 4.2 Driver for SQL Server! The updated driver provides robust data access to Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database for Java-based applications.

The JDBC Driver for SQL Server is a Java Database Connectivity (JDBC) type 4 driver that implements full compliance with the JDBC specifications 4.1 and 4.2 and supports Java Development Kit (JDK) version 1.8. It supports the Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 protocol for additional security over the internet. The JDBC 4.2 Driver for SQL also supports SQL Server’s AlwaysOn feature for High Availability and Disaster Recovery.

There are several additional enhancements available with the driver:

  • The updated XA Transaction feature includes new timeout options for automatic rollback of unprepared transactions.
  • New SQLServerBulkCopy class enables developers to quickly copy large amounts of data into tables or views in SQL Server and Azure SQL Database databases from other databases. For more details about what is currently supported in the bulk copy feature, please refer to What’s New in the JDBC driver.

The JDBC driver is part of SQL Server and the Microsoft Data Platform’s wider interoperability program, with drivers for PHP 5.6, Node.js, JDBC, ODBC and ADO.NET already available.

SQL Server connectivity landscape

You can download the JDBC 4.2 driver here.  We invite you to explore the latest the Microsoft Data Platform has to offer via a trial of Microsoft Azure SQL Database or by trying the new SQL Server 2016 CTP. Have questions?

Join the discussion on Stack Overflow. Running into an issue or have a suggestion? Let us know.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 10:40:00 AM

The SQL Server engineering team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of SQL Server 2016 August monthly public preview release CTP 2.3. This release fully embraced the “Cloud First” tenet, as this release build was deployed to SQL Azure Database service first, running in production prior to the release build.

To learn more about the release, visit the SQL Server 2016 preview page. To experience the new, exciting features in SQL Server 2016 and the new rapid release model, download the preview or try the preview by using a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure and start evaluating the impact these new innovations can have for your business. Have questions? Join the discussion of the new SQL Server 2016 capabilities at Stack Overflow. If you run into an issue or would like to make a suggestion, you can let us know using Microsoft’s Connect tool. We look forward to hearing from you!


This preview release is packed with new features and improvements....

Row Level Security is now supported with In-memory OLTP tables. Users can now apply row-level security policies to memory-optimized tables. In addition to SCHEMABINDING, predicate functions and inline TVFs should include the compilation hint WITH NATIVE_COMPILATION. UDFs created with this hint can be used in both native modules and interop queries, and as security predicates on both memory-optimized and disk-based tables. UDFs created without this hint can only be used in interop queries, and as predicates on disk-based tables. The following built-in security functions are supported by In-memory OLTP, intended for use in RLS predicates:

  • IS_MEMBER({group | role})
  • IS_ROLEMEMBER (role [, ‘database_principal’])
  • IS_SRVROLEMEMBER (role [, ‘login’])
  • ORIGINAL_LOGIN()
  • SESSION_USER
  • CURRENT_USER
  • SUSER_ID([‘login’])
  • SUSER_SID([‘login’] [, Param2])
  • SUSER_SNAME([server_user_sid])
  • SYSTEM_USER
  • SUSER_NAME
  • USER
  • USER_ID([‘user’])
  • USER_NAME([id])
  • CONTEXT_INFO()


An exciting Core Engine Scalability improvement is made available in this release - dynamically partition thread safe memory objects by NUMA node or by CPU. This improvement will enable higher scalability of high concurrency workloads running on NUMA hardware. Thread safe memory objects (of type CmemThread) will be dynamically promoted to be partitioned by NUMA node or by CPU based on workload characteristics and contention factor. In SQL 2012 and SQL 2014, TF8048 is needed to promote memory objects that are partitioned by node to be partitioned by CPU. This improvement not only eliminated the need for the trace flag, and also dynamically determine partition based on contention.

CTP2.3 includes In-memory data warehouse (columnStore) performance optimizations, NCCI can now be created on tables with triggers, enabled with CDC/Change Tracking. For better insight of Column Store, three new fields to the sys.dm_db_column_store_row_group_physical_stats dynamic management view:

transition_to_compressed_state

tinyint

Operation that caused transition to compressed state

0 => UNKNOWN_UPGRADED_FROM_PREVIOUS _VERSION

1 => NOT_APPLICABLE

2 => INDEX_BUILD

3 => TUPLE_MOVER

4 => REORG_NORMAL

5 => REORG_FORCED

6 => BULKLOAD

7 => MERGE

transition_to_compressed_state_desc

nvarchar(60)

NOT_APPLICABLE -> It is not applicable for delta store or this compressed rowgroup existed before database upgrade

INDEX_BUILD -> The rowgroup was compressed as part of index create/rebuild

TUPLE_MOVER => The rowgroup was compressed as part of background Tuple Mover

REORG_NORMAL => The closed delta rowgroup was compressed as part of invocation of closed delta rowgroups. One implication is that TM is falling behind

REORG_FORCED => The open rowgroup was compressed

BULKLOAD -> The rowgroup was compressed as part of bulkload operation

MERGE -> The rowgroup was compressed as part of MERGE operation that compressed one or more compressed rowgroups.

 

has_vertipaq_optimization

Bit

Vertipaq optimization is used when rowgroups are compressed into columnar storage to improve compression achieved by rearranging the order of the rows in the row group. This optimization is automatically applied when building column store index or when directly bulk loading data into columnar format or when data transitions from delta store to columnar storage format. However, this optimization is skipped for delta rowgroups when there are one or more NCIs on the column store index to minimize changes needed to maintain mapping index

1 => Yes

        0    => No


SQL Server Analysis Service (SSAS) ships several exciting performance improvements in this release:

  • DAX query performance improvement, optimizations to the Tabular engine. These optimizations are mostly focused around reducing the “chattiness” between client tools that use DAX and the server (and eventually the storage engine for both VertiPaq and DirectQuery storage modes). In addition to query optimizations, measure executions have been streamlined as well.
  • DirectQuery enhancements. It now generates simpler queries that will provide better performance.
  • Now includes support for variables in DAX. Variables can now store the result of an expression as a named variable, which can then be passed as an argument to other measure expressions. Once resultant values have been calculated for a variable expression, those values do not change, even if the variable is referenced in another expression.

You can read the new SSAS post to learn more about these improvements.

SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) includes a couple of enhancements:

  • An updated version of Report Builder with a modern theme.
  • Report rendering for modern browsers built on HTML5 standards.

You can read the Reporting Services post to learn more about these improvements.

SQL Server Integration Service (SSIS) released oData v4 protocol support, SSIS Error Column support, and advanced logging levels in CTP 2.3. Previous SSIS catalog only provides four kinds of logging level None, Basic, Performance and Verbose. The new advanced logging level remove the inflexibility of previous logging levels:

  • New mechanism to collect the event context when events are fired
  • New ssis_logreader role with permission to access all the view related to SSISDB operation logs
  • New logging level customization to define logs and events collection
  • Allow the collection of event context such as variable value, task properties and connection string
  • New RuntimeLineage logging level to collect data for dynamic lineage. This function is provided through lineage library. There is a known issue that this feature doesn’t work upgrading from earlier preview build of SQL2016, the fix is work-in-progress.


Continue the momentum, Master Data Service added three improvements in this release:

  • Many to many derived hierarchy
  • Excel Addin Business rule management
  • Merge conflicts


Query Execution with improved diagnostics for memory grant usage in this release. The following new XEvents added to facilitate better diagnostics of memory grant usage and issues. Showplan xml is extended to include memory grant usage per thread and iterator (additions in “RunTimeCountersPerThread” element).

  1. query_memory_grant_blocking
  2. query_memory_grant_resource_semaphores
  3. query_memory_grant_usage (details on ideal vs granted vs used memory)


DBCC CHECKDB Improvements in this release include: 1) Persisted computed columns and filtered indexes validation. Persisted computed columns are frequently used. DBCC CHECKDB can take long time to complete with persisted columns. This improvement provides an option to do persisted column validation under EXTENDED_LOGICAL_CHECKS; 2) Performance improvement when validating a table with thousands of partitions.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015 10:40:00 AM

The SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview (CTP) 2.3 is now available for download! This release fully embraced the “Cloud First” tenet, as this release build was deployed to SQL Azure Database service first, running in production prior to the release build.

In SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3, part of our new rapid preview model, we made enhancements to several features. You can try them now in your SQL Server 2016 development and test environments.

As part of our new rapid release model, you don’t have to wait several months for responses to feedback or to test new capabilities. This means you can accelerate testing and time to production. The frequent updates are also engineered to be of the same quality as major CTPs, so you don’t have to be concerned about build quality. You also have the flexibility to choose which CTPs you will deploy for development and test environments and won’t be forced to upgrade to the most recent preview release.

In SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3, available for download today, you will see enhancements in several key areas:

  • Row Level Security support for in-memory OLTP tables
  • A core engine scalability improvement, dynamically partitioning thread safe memory objects by NUMA or CPU, which enables higher scalability
  • In-memory data warehouse (column store) performance optimizations
  • Many-to-many derived hierarchies in Master Data Services
  • Several performance improvements to SQL Server Analysis Services, including DAX query performance
  • Enhancements to Reporting Services, including an updated Report Builder with a modern theme and report rendering for modern browsers


CTP 2.3 also has improvements to the SQL Server Integration Service, Query Execution, and DBCC CHECKDB.

For additional details, please visit the detailed SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3 Engineering post, SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3 SQL Server Analysis Services post, and SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3 Reporting Services post.

Download SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.3 preview today!

As the foundation of our end-to-end data platform, SQL Server 2016 is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft's data platform history with real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on mobile devices, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technology, and both on-premises and in the cloud.

To learn more about the release, visit the SQL Server 2016 preview page. To experience the new, exciting features in SQL Server 2016 and the new rapid release model, download the preview or try the preview by using a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure and start evaluating the impact these new innovations can have for your business.

Have questions? Join the discussion of the new SQL Server 2016 capabilities at Stack Overflow. If you run into an issue or would like to make a suggestion, you can let us know at Connect. We look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, August 31, 2015 10:45:00 AM

We are proud to announce the SQL Server Logo Certification Program, part of the Enterprise Cloud Application Logo Certification Programs announced in April. The program is designed to help application providers and ISV partners drive growth through recognition that their applications work with Microsoft SQL Server 2014 and global exposure in the Microsoft Pinpoint partner listing.


This program builds on the success of the Microsoft Azure Certified for Virtual Machines program and the Windows Server Logo certification program that helped connect thousands of partners with customers worldwide by delivering their certified applications globally. The logo certification programs are designed to deliver value to not just application providers and ISVs, but also IT pros and customers through:

  • A great partner experience - Our new Partner Center portal makes it even easier for partners to register, certify and generate market visibility of their applications.
  • Certified quality and reliability - Partners can now run validation tests and certify their applications ensuring quality, compatibility, reliability and security.
  • Global reach and exposure - With the new and improved Pinpoint, partners can now reach a global market, generating leads to grow their business
  • Credit toward Microsoft Partner Network competencies - The new certification option also qualifies application provider partners toward the application test requirements of the Microsoft Partner Network Competency program.

In addition, application and ISV partners can now take advantage of the features of SQL Server 2014 for Mission Critical performance:

  • Up to 30X faster transactional performance with in-memory OLTP
  • Up to 100X faster queries with the in-memory ColumnStore for analytics processing
  • Better availability with AlwaysOn Availability Groups, now with up to 8 readable secondaries
  • The ability to scale across compute, networking and storage when used with Windows Server 2012 R2
  • Data tools like Master Data Services and Data Quality Services to scale, enrich and secure your BI models
  • New hybrid cloud scenarios including easy migration to Microsoft Azure and Azure DR using an asynchronous AlwaysOn replica in the cloud


Some partners who are already taking advantage of the SQL Server 2014 Logo Certification Program are Seradex, which has certified the Seradex OrderStream application, and Synerion Inc., which has certified one of its Workforce Management applications for use with SQL Server 2014. Not only do Microsoft SQL Server customers know they will have a great experience with these applications, but the partners now have exposure from their partner listings and the ability to use the SQL Server 2014 Certified logo. “Synerion is delighted to advance its long standing partnership with Microsoft bringing cutting edge technologies to the Workforce Management software industry,” said Lee Lipes, VP of Product Management of Synerion.

To get started, a partner just needs to create an application profile in the Partner Center. From there, partners can self-test the application using our App Certification Test Tools. Then, showcase the certified application on the Pinpoint Marketplace. Learn more here.


Friday, August 28, 2015 9:00:00 AM

Matt Usher, Senior Program Manager, DS SQL Engineering

We are pleased to announce the general availability of Appliance Update 4 for the Microsoft Analytics Platform System. The Microsoft Analytics Platform System is a turnkey big data analytics appliance, combining Microsoft’s massively parallel processing (MPP) data warehouse technology with HDInsight, Microsoft’s 100% Apache Hadoop distribution, and delivering it as a turnkey appliance. APS’s big data capability is powered by PolyBase, an integrated technology allowing customers to utilize the skillset they've developed in TSQL for querying and managing data in Hadoop platforms.

This update delivers several new capabilities and features, including:

PolyBase/Hadoop enhancements

  • Support for Cloudera 5.1 and Hortonworks Data Platform 2.1 and 2.2
  • Extended partial aggregate pushdowns into Hadoop
  • Grow HDInsight region on an appliance with an existing region

T-SQL compatibility improvements to reduce migration friction from SQL SMP

  • Scalar User Defined Functions – CREATE/DROP FUNCTION statements
  • PIVOT/UNPIVOT relational operators
  • Round Robin as a third table type for hybrid performance
  • Query plan improvements to favor hash joins over nested loop joins in DW scenarios for better query performance
  • Addition of a new DBCC command - DBCC DROPCLEANBUFFERS
  • SQL Server SMP to APS Migration Utility

Performance

  • 1.5x data return rate improvement for SELECT queries to improve external analysis integration

OEM Hardware on AU4

  • Dell, Quanta, and HP (Gen9) next generation server support
    • Intel Haswell Processors, 256 GB (16x16Gb) 2133MHz memory
  • Updated HP 5900 series switches including High Availability improvements
  • Mixed hardware version support allows extended appliance lifetime and expandability

Together with SQL Data Warehouse, Microsoft offers a choice of MPP data warehouse on-premises, in the cloud or both.

To learn more, please see the Microsoft Analytics Platform portal.

Related Link:
Microsoft Analytics Platform System Appliance Update 4 Documentation and Client Tools

Thursday, August 27, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Tiffany Wissner, Senior Director of Data Platform Marketing

At Microsoft we’re committed to meeting the needs of our customers by offering choices as they build cloud applications for scale and performance. Today we’re continuing to deliver on this commitment with two announcements:

As more customers build more powerful applications in Azure using Azure SQL Database, we've seen strong demand for more options to scale performance. We’re dedicated to offering a portfolio of data services for cloud applications that effectively scales up to support data growth from more users, and scales out to support growth from more customers and fluctuating resource demands.

To meet this scale up demand, we are announcing the release of new Azure SQL Database Premium performance levels, P4 and P11. With the introduction of both P4 and P11, we’ve expanded the range of throughput performance developers can leverage to scale their applications. Developers can quickly start with our basic or standard performance tiers and easily scale database performance up to 350 times greater with our premium tier as their data needs grow – all without code or application changes.  This enables developers to match application needs with the right database performance.



On the scale out front, we have seen an increasing demand for Elastic Database pools since we announced its public preview.  We’ve seen SaaS developers adopt and embrace elastic databases because it makes it easier to manage their growing number of customers.  With Elastic Database pools SaaS developers can manage hundreds of databases for each of their customers, optimize the performance of each database, and manage the cost of these databases to support their explosive growth. This means their customers still get a great experience, even during peak usage periods, and there’s no need to over-provision resources during lulls.

One example is StudioPlus, which offers solutions for professional photographers. CEO Matthew Hunt says, “We are expanding our legacy on-premises solution with a SaaS solution. Azure SQL Database is a fundamental part of this journey because it allows us to leverage an existing code base and gives us a platform for unlimited customer growth. From a DevOps perspective, it’s simple to set up and manage Azure SQL Database Elastic Database pools to support the unlimited scale-out of a one-database-per-customer pattern.”



To support the increasing demand of Elastic Database Pools, we are now introducing a public preview of two additional service tiers for Elastic Databases, Basic and Premium.  These new tiers give organizations and developers with SaaS applications greater options and flexibility for getting started with Elastic Databases and scaling out to meet new customer demands.




We are thrilled that we can support StudioPlus and a growing number of developers on their SaaS journey with Azure SQL Database.

Our announcements today add scale and performance options, and these releases are just part of our end-to-end data platform. We continue to make it easier for customers to maximize their data dividends with our data platform and services. It’s never been easier to capture, transform, mash-up, analyze and visualize any data, of any size, at any scale, in its native format using familiar tools, languages and frameworks in a trusted environment on-premises and in the cloud.

Find out more and try Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Database Elastic Databases today.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015 2:00:00 PM

The SQL Server engineering team is committed to SQL Server 2016 monthly public preview release rhythm. Following CTP 2.1 release last month, we are excited to announce the immediate availability of SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2 release for download. This incremental release includes new capabilities for query store, stretch database, core engine, temporal, MDS, reporting services and engine scalability improvements. Learn about these improvements below.

The Stretch Database enables you dynamically stretch the cold transactional data to Azure SQL so your operational data is always at hand, no matter the size, and you can benefit from the low cost of using Azure. Improvements in this release include:

  • Row Level Security (RLS) enabled
  • Stretch Database Advisor now available to analyze existing database tables, discovering and evaluating candidates for stretch by adjustable table size thresholds
    • Bundled with SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview 1, Stretch Database Advisor is available for download here or through the Web Platform Installer

First released in SQL 2008 R2, the Master Data Services (MDS) is the SQL Server solution for master data management. We are making significant investments in SQL 2016 to advance strategic capabilities in the data management space. Improvements in this release include:

  • Sync entity between models allow you to setup sync relationship to sync entity from another model. Steps:
    1. Go to Admin, Sync Entity page
    2. Click Add
    3. Choose target model, version and entity, source model, version and entity
    4. Choose sync type to be on-demand or auto sync
    5. Click Save
  • SCD Type-2 support enables creation of SCD type-2 subscription view for Member transaction log type entities. Steps:
    1. Go to Admin, Entity page
    2. Choose transaction log type
    3. If transaction log type is Member, go to Integration, Create Views page
    4. Create a view of SCD Type-2 then History View can be chosen from format type
  • Compound Keys index support includes custom attributes to improve the performance or enforce constraints. NOTE: In this release Entity Based Staging batches need to start by calling stored procedures directly instead of using the web UI. Steps:
    1. Go to Admin, Entity page
    2. Click Add on Customer Indexes
    3. Choose the columns and click Save to create the index


The query “flight recorder,” Query Store, captures current and historical query plans and execution metrics, enabling you to easily monitor and troubleshoot query performance issues. Query Store has been made available since the first SQL 2016 community technical preview. Improvements in this release include:

  • Automatically switch to READ_ONLY mode when the reaches the defined max size limit and store collecting new query plans and run time stats. You will be able to detect that by looking at readonly_reason from sys.database_query_store_options. Value 65536 indicates when Query Store has reached the defined size limit.
  • Query Store UI enhancements and bug fixes
  • No force plan recompiles after MAX_PLANS_PER_QUERY is hit. The max_plans_per_query value can be examined from sys.database_query_store_options. NOTE: Force plan recompile could have potential performance overhead.

Temporal enables handling and analyzing database records that changes over time. Improvements in this release include:

  • Full support column with ROWVERSION (TIMESTAMP) to support UPDATE operation on ROWVERSION column in temporal table
  • COLUMNPROPERTY exposes ‘ishidden’ property
    select columnproperty (object_id ('dbo.sample_table'), 'SysStartTime', 'ishidden')
  • Several improvements in SQL Server Management Studio:
    • Syntax highlighting for temporal keywords
    • Transact-SQL client side validations
    • Script table as DROP TO includes DROP script for history table
    • SSMS surfaces IsHidden information in column Properties dialog

Query Execution provides improved diagnostics for memory grant usage. The following new XEvents were added to facilitate better diagnostics. Showplan xml is extended to include memory grant usage per thread and iterator (additions in “RunTimeCountersPerThread” element).

  • query_memory_grant_blocking
  • query_memory_grant_resource_semaphores
  • query_memory_grant_usage (details on ideal vs granted vs used memory)

Core Engine Scalability improvements dynamically partition thread safe memory objects by NUMA node or by CPU. This improvement will enable higher scalability of high concurrency workloads running on NUMA hardware.

  • Thread safe memory objects (of type CmemThread) will be dynamically promoted to be partitioned by NUMA node or by CPU based on workload characteristics and contention factor. In SQL 2012 and SQL 2014, TF8048 is needed to promote memory objects partitioned by node, to be partitioned by CPU. This improvement not only eliminated the need for the trace flag, but also dynamically determined partition based on contention.

DBCC CHECKDB improvements in this release include:

  • Persisted computed columns and filtered indexes validation. Persisted computed columns are frequently used. DBCC CHECKDB can take long time to complete with persisted columns. This improvement provides an option to do persisted column validation under EXTENDED_LOGICAL_CHECKS.
  • Performance improvements when validating a table with thousands of partitions.

Reporting Services added treemap and subburst charts. Report authors can now create two additional chart types:

  • Treemap
  • Subburst charts
Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11:00:00 AM

Revised on July 28

UPDATE: The issue with the initial release of SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2 that caused downtime during rolling upgrades across an AlwaysOn Availability Group has been corrected, and the download has been replaced.  The download link now points to an updated build of 13.0.407.1 or higher.  An upgrade to this build is recommended for all users of SQL Server 2016, including AlwaysOn users. For more information, visit the CTP 2.2 Release Note.

The SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview and SQL Server 2016 Community Technology Preview (CTP) 2.2 are now available for download! This first look at SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor showcases a new platform for the database upgrade tool.  It also introduces the Stretch Database Advisor, enabling customers to identify data for online, transparent cold storage in Azure. In SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2, part of our new rapid preview model, we have made enhancements to several features that customers can try in their SQL Server 2016 development and test environments.

In SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2, available for download today, customers will see enhancements in several key areas

  • Users are able to add security policies including row-level security to a table that has been stretched to Azure using Stretch Database
  • Master Data Services now allows compound keys, slowly changing dimension (SCD) Type 2, and syncing an entity between models
  • SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) will now support two additional chart types, treemap and sunburst

CTP2 will also have improvements to the Query Store, Query Execution, DBCC CHECKCB performance, and Temporal Database.

SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview

SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview is a standalone tool that enables users of prior versions to find certain breaking and behavior changes as well as deprecated features in the database engine.  Upgrade Advisor Preview also helps with the adoption of Stretch Database by analyzing existing database tables for fit with the new functionality based on criteria that the user selects, using the Stretch Database Advisor. Future releases will include enhancements to the upgrade rules and feature adoption advisors.

SQL Server 2016 Upgrade Advisor Preview is available on the Microsoft Download Center and through the Web Platform Installer. We invite you to try it, and to provide feedback via the built-in tool.

Download SQL Server 2016 CTP 2.2 preview today!

As the foundation of our end-to-end data platform, SQL Server 2016 is the biggest leap forward in Microsoft's data platform history with real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on mobile devices, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technology, and both on-premises and in the cloud.

To learn more about the release, visit the SQL Server 2016 preview page.  To experience the new, exciting features in SQL Server 2016 and the new rapid release model download the preview or trial the preview using a virtual machine in Microsoft Azure and start evaluating the impact these new innovations can have for your business.  Also, be sure to share your feedback on the new SQL Server 2016 capabilities using Microsoft’s Connect tool.  We look forward to hearing from you

Friday, July 10, 2015 5:10:00 PM

Lighting up interactive insights on big data

By T. K. “Ranga” Rengarajan, corporate vice president, Data Platform

Today, we’re announcing the public preview of Spark for Azure HDInsight and the upcoming general availability of Power BI on July 24th. These investments support our commitment to help more people maximize their data dividends with interactive visualizations on big data.

Big data is changing the way organizations deliver value to their stakeholders. For example, Real Madrid bring soccer matches closer to their 450 million fans and Ultra Tendency project the health impact of nuclear contamination in Japan.  Here at Microsoft, we’re thrilled to help fuel that innovation with data solutions that give customers simple but powerful capabilities. This is something we’ve done with Azure HDInsight by making Hadoop easier to provision, manage, customize, and scale. Azure HDInsight is a fully managed Hadoop service, that includes 24x7 monitoring and enterprise support across the broadest range of analytic workloads.


Introducing Spark for Azure HDInsight

Today, we go further with this vision by providing our customers the best environment to run Apache Spark. Spark is one of the most popular big data projects known for its ability to handle large-scale data applications in memory, making queries up to 100 times faster. Spark lets users do various tasks like batch and interactive queries, real-time streaming, machine learning, and graph processing - all with the same common execution model. With Spark for Azure HDInsight, we offer customers more value with an enterprise ready Spark solution that’s fully managed and has a choice of compelling and interactive experiences.

  • Choice of compelling interactive experiences: Microsoft empowers users and organizations to achieve more by making data accessible to as many people as possible.
    • We have out-of-the-box integration to Power BI for interactive visualizations over big data. Because both are powered by the cloud, you can deploy Spark cluster and visualize it in Power BI within minutes without investing in hardware or complex integration.
    • Data scientists can use popular notebooks like Zeppelin and Jupyter (iPython) to do interactive analysis and machine learning to create narratives that combine code, statistical equations, and visualizations that tell a story about the data with Spark for Azure HDInsight.
    • Microsoft offers flexibility to use BI tools like Tableau, SAP Lumira, and QlikView so you can leverage existing investments.

  • Enterprise Spark: Integrating Spark with Azure HDInsight ensures that it is ready to meet the demands of your mission critical deployments because Azure is always-on, has hyper-scale, and is enterprise-grade. With a 99.9% service level agreement at general availability, you can ensure continuity and protection against catastrophic events. As demands grow, create larger clusters with your choice of SSD and RAM allocation to process big data on demand. Microsoft also has built-in integration with other parts of Azure, like Event Hubs, for building Streaming and IoT related applications.

  • Fully Managed: With Spark for Azure HDInsight, you can get started quickly with a fully managed cluster. This includes 24x7 monitoring and enterprise support for peace of mind. You also have the elasticity of a cloud solution, so you can scale your solution up or down easily, and only pay for the power that you use.

In addition to Spark, we announced the upcoming general availability of Power BI on July 24. Power BI is a cloud-based business analytics service that enables anyone to visualize and analyze data with greater speed, efficiency, and understanding. It connects users to a broad range of live data through easy-to-use dashboards, provides interactive reports, and delivers compelling visualizations that bring data to life. Power BI has out-of-the-box connectors to Spark enabling users to do interactive visualizations on top of big data.  For more information on this announcement, read James Phillip’s blog post.

Microsoft continues to make it easier for customers to maximize their data dividends with our data platform and services. It’s never been easier to capture, transform, mash-up, analyze and visualize any data, of any size, at any scale, in its native format using familiar tools, languages and frameworks in a trusted environment on-premises and in the cloud.

Experience interactive insight on big data today with Spark for Azure HDInsight and Power BI.

-  Ranga

Thursday, July 9, 2015 11:00:00 AM

We are pleased to announce the availability of Datazen Publisher for Windows 7 Preview.

Datazen Publisher is the single point for creation and publishing of rich, interactive visualizations. You can simply connect to the Datazen Server to access your on-premises SQL Server or other enterprise data sources,
easily create beautiful visualizations for any form factor and then publish them for access by others on all major mobile platforms.

Datazen Publisher for Windows 7 offers feature parity with the Datazen Publisher app and the UI has been optimized for desktop scenarios. You can now create and publish data visualizations based on your personal preference
(mouse & keyboard or touch) or device that you are working on.

The Datazen Publisher for Windows 7 Preview is available for download on the Microsoft Download Center.  Please visit the Windows Store to install the Datazen Publisher for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1+.

For more information about how Datazen can help your organization get insights from your on-premises enterprise data please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server-editions/sql-server-enterprise.aspx#sqlmobilebi

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