Just when we thought that nothing could get any better than SQL Server 2012, Microsoft announced news around SQL Server 2014. There’s even a SQL Server 2014 website
where you can get a free trial.
So, what’s new and cool?
Hekaton In-memory Database Capabilities
Hekaton makes it possible to speed up databases by storing objects in RAM memory. And, with the really cheap memory prices today, this is an interesting feature. The name Hekaton (which means a hundred in Greek) indicates that the goal from Microsoft is to make databases 100 times faster. This is very useful both for OLTP and DW databases (in the ETL-process). The main difference compared to most competitors is that Hekaton makes it very easy to mix in-memory data with legacy data, uses natively compiled stored procedures to increase performance further and provides a new hash index optimized for memory access.
With SQL Server 2014 you will be able to have up to eight secondaries (instead of a maximum of four in SQL Server 2012). Also, your readable secondaries will remain online and readable when your primary node becomes unavailable (as opposed to SQL Server 2012 where the readable secondaries become unavailable).
There’s also a new wizard that allows you to easily add a secondary node that’s being hosted in Azure as a Virtual Machine. It means you can setup an AlwaysOn secondary without having to invest in another server or build a new data center.
Updateable Clustered Columnstore Indexes
SQL Server 2012 introduced columnstore indexes that can give huge performance boosts, especially for large fact tables in data warehouses. However, they still relied on a traditional rowstore of data behind the columnstore index. Now in SQL Server 2014, you can truly store your data in a columnstore by using clustered columnstore indexes. Another limitation that has been lifted is that they can now be updated (INSERT, UPDATE, DELETE) as any other table.
Resource Governor for IO
The Resource Governor is a very important feature for consolidating databases and managing CPU and Memory between them. However, there has been no way to control IO, which is also a very important asset to manage. This new feature will make SQL Server 2014 even better for “SQL Server hotels” or other consolidated environments.