Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Latest Announcements: Hekaton, Service Pack 1 and PDW

There are three main announcements for Microsoft SQL Server 2012 announced today at the SQLPass Summit 2012 in Seattle, Washington. These are being announced by Ted Kummert, Corporate Vice President, Business Platform Division, Microsoft. You can also see Doug Leland's announcement from the Business Platform Group here.
The announcements focus on three areas:
Ted Kummert introduces Project codenamed Hekaton - a new in-memory technology for transaction processing that is an integral part of the data platform. Hekaton will ship in the next major version of SQL Server, and is wholly a part of it. It's fast because the

The next version of the Parallel Data Warehouse is announced. 


SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 will be released. This will have Business Intelligence features and features that are not contained within the Business Intelligence sphere. I will cover these items later on in this blog.



What makes these announcements interesting?

The Hekaton announcement is interesting since it shows that Microsoft are real contenders in the in-memory area. SAP have been doing some interesting things, but now it's Microsoft's turn to play.  Hekaton will be part of an end-to-end SQL Server solution with in-memory capabilities from streaming and caching workloads right through to analytics. This offers a complete portfolio for transactional processing - full circle.

Is it fast? You betcha! Based on private customer testing to date, Hekaton will offer performance gains of up to 10 times for existing apps and up to 50 times for new applications optimized for in-memory performance. This is significant, and watch this space for more details. 

Here are the main points:

  • High performance, in memory OLTP engine.
  • Full ACID support.
  • T-SQL compiled to native code.
  • Enables massive improvement in performance. This will allow you to onramp existing apps to give you integrated performance for data loading, updating. And reading throughput is increased comparing best cases, due to the lack of latching and locking contention on the table.


The Parallel Data Warehouse announcement is very interesting. It will be available in the first half of 2013. 

It will be powered by PolyBase, which allows you to process queries across using relational and non-relational Hadoop data - right from SQL Server Management Studio. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty awesome. The analytics that you'll be able to do, right from good old familiar SSMS, will lead to breakthrough insights. You already know SSMS, and the query engine will translate the queries for you so you can focus on generating your data out for the insights. This will empower you to deal with big data and really use it, from an interface that you already know. It's mixing HTFS nodes with SQL Server, which is incredibly powerful. It means that the PDW is a federated data processing engine, and very powerful.

The PWD is Built for big data. We have Next generation performance at scale. It uses the XVelocity column store. For big data, we start small with TBs and scale out to petabytes. This means that we can see a move away from SAN storage to reduce price. Hardware and software combined reduces the price. Since the hardware and the software are already aligned, this will help customers to reduce costs, since the hardware footprint will be reduced. 

Now for my favourite announcement - SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1 will be announced, with a focus on Business Intelligence enhancements. It has new capabilities for Business Intelligence in Office 365. 



3. SQL Server Service Pack 1 Enhancements

This was announced back in June 2012. For Business Intelligence, there will be Power view enhancements. - Geographical mapping. Drill up and drill down. Hierarchies. Backgrounds. Oh, and pie charts :)

The significance is Excel 2013 - powerpivot and Powerview so everyone is now BI capable. This really offers a Data Democracy for every Excel user - we will all be data citizens.

Since powerpivot and powerview are natively into the product, everyone can use their data to make decisions, and even change the world around them. Look at the great work that the San Francisco and London data citizens are doing with their data. Excel can really help everyone - not just business users - to grab their data and use it to empower themselves.


To summarise, these announcements offer a full, rounded big picture - it will accelerate insights for all data. Big data crunching. Rapid, real time insights.This is the power of analytics, and means that the Microsoft Data Platform offers end-to-end from transactions right through to the business users and the insights that they can gain from their data. It's not enough simply to own data; you have to use it. The new announcements from SQL Server are empowering for business users as well as technical DBAs.

New capabilities = in memory, big data, business analytics. It's all there. Take a look at the earlier links, and watch the keynote from the SQLPass website.  

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