Probably the most significant announcement for the Microsoft data platform user is the new preview version of SQL Server 2019 that’s now available. This new version is bringing big data capabilities with this new release. You can ingest, store and analyze vast amounts of data with a built-in Spark and Hadoop distributed file system. And new connectors let you query databases like Oracle, Teradata, and MongoDB directly from SQL Server, breaking down data silos for faster insights.
Azure SQL DB
On the Azure Data Platform side of the world, we have the announcement that Azure SQL DB now supports databases up to 100 TB in size using the Hyperscale feature of Azure SQL DB which you’ll see coming on October 1st, 2018. Hyperscale is an excellent move for customers, as many customers were blocked by the fact that they couldn’t move the database to Azure SQL DB simple because of size; and this limit is going away in just a few short days.
Along with the legacy database platform, we have Managed Instance which was in Public Preview. The fact is that it is in preview is no-more; Managed Instance is being released in General Availability starting on October 1st, 2018. Managed Instance will make migrations to Azure much more accessible for many clients that need support for a SQL Server instance because of features that aren’t available in Azure SQL DB. Managed Instance will bridge this gap for customers giving customers basically full SQL Server functionality within a PaaS service.
In the Azure SQL DB space, we see new features for optimization of query performance getting released to General Availability. These features include three new features called row mode: memory grant feedback, approximate query processing, and table variable deferred compilation. With minimal effort, these features can collectively optimize your memory usage and improve overall query performance.
Azure SQL DW
Azure SQL DW isn’t being left out of the new feature party. Azure SQL DW is getting a new lower pricing tier to allow more companies to get into Azure SQL DW without the high cost of entry that we used to have. The new pricing tier gives customers all the scalability and functionality that they are expecting from Azure SQL DB without having to commit as much money to the process.
On top of these pretty impressive announcements, there’s a significant new feature for Cosmos DB as well; Multi-Master writes. While this feature has been in preview since Build, not everyone has been aware of the new feature. The Cosmos DB landscape changes as multi-master write enters General Availability allowing developers to build applications which even more availability and scalability.
If you have deployed Azure Stack and you were worried about being left out of the Microsoft Ignite announcements, I can put your mind at ease. Azure Stack doesn’t include support to expand your environment; which leaves companies with no ability to grow. This limitation changes as your Azure Stack environment can now be increased to up to 16 nodes. The hardware still needs to be purchased from an approved vendor such as Cisco, Dell, HPE, etc.
Windows 2019 will be entering Global Availability in October 2018. This new release of Windows Server introduces a ton of features in its own right. This version of Windows Server increases security over prior versions as well an creating an easier path to a hybrid environment between on-premises environments and the Microsoft Azure environment.
One of the most significant announcements is in the Azure Space. Microsoft is introducing the new Ultra-SSD performance tier for hosting storage in Azure. This new performance tier will provide VMs and workloads with every more performance than is available today in the premium tier of Azure Storage.
Been stored from moving to Azure because Managed Disks didn’t support big enough disks? That isn’t going to be a problem anymore as Microsoft has released larger Managed Disk capacity tiers allowing you to have 8TB, 16TB and 32TB size drives. Using these new storage sizes, you have to potential to add up to 2PB of space to a single Azure Virtual Machine. If you have a space concern moving to Azure, that concern should be gone. While this feature is currently in Public Preview, I’m sure that’ll it’ll become generally available soon.
Microsoft has improved the Azure Files feature of Azure Storage as well. Up to today, Azure Files was only available on storage accounts which are set up on Standard Storage. Starting today, customers will see Azure Files is available for storage accounts which are built on Premium Storage as this feature is entering Public Preview.
There’s a ton of new features available in Azure, SQL DB, Windows, the Developer Experience, and more. I only touched the surface of what was released today. Check out the Microsoft documentation and the other Ignite sessions for more information on what else was released.
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