This post was authored by Travis Wright, Principal Program Manager, SQL Server Engineering
Today, October 2nd, we are excited to announce that SQL Server 2017 is generally available for purchase and download! The new release is available right now for evaluation or purchase through the Microsoft Store, and will be available to Volume Licensing customers later today. Customers now have the flexibility for the first time ever to run industry-leading SQL Server on their choice of Linux, Docker Enterprise Edition-certified containers and, of course, Windows Server. It’s a stride forward for our modern and hybrid data platform across on-premises and cloud.
In the 18 months since announcing our intent to bring SQL Server to Linux, we’ve been focused on making SQL Server perform and scale to the industry-leading levels customers expect from SQL Server, making SQL Server feel familiar yet native to Linux, and ensuring compatibility between SQL Server on Windows and Linux. With all the enterprise database features you rely on, from Active Directory authentication, to encryption, to Always On availability groups, to record-breaking performance, SQL Server is at parity on Windows and Linux. We have also brought SQL Server Integration Services to Linux so that you can perform data integration just like on Windows. SQL Server 2017 supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and Ubuntu.
There are a number of new features for SQL Server that we think make this the best release ever. Here are just a few:
- Container support seamlessly facilitates your development and DevOps scenarios by enabling you to quickly spin up SQL Server containers and get rid of them when you are finished. SQL Server supports Docker Enterprise Edition, Kubernetes and OpenShift container platforms.
- AI with R and Python analytics enables you to build intelligent apps using scalable, GPU-accelerated, parallelized R and now Python analytics running in the database.
- Graph data analysis will enable customers to use graph data storage and query language extensions for graph-native query syntax in order to discover new kinds of relationships in highly interconnected data.
- Adaptive Query Processing is a new family of features in SQL Server that bring intelligence to database performance. For example, Adaptive Memory Grants in SQL Server track and learn from how much memory is used by a given query to right-size memory grants.
- Automatic Plan Correction ensures continuous performance by finding and fixing performance regressions.
Above and beyond these top-line features, there are more enhancements that you haven’t heard as much about, but we hope will truly delight you:
- Resumable online index rebuild lets you stop and start index maintenance. This gives you the ability to optimize index performance by re-indexing more frequently – without having to wait for a long maintenance window. It also means you can pick up right where you left off in the event of a disruption to database service.
- LOB compression in columnstore indexes. Previously, it was difficult to include data which contained LOBs in a columnstore index due to size. Now those LOBs can be compressed, making LOBs easier to work with and broadening the applicability of the columnstore feature.
- Clusterless availability groups enable you to scale out reads by building an Always On availability group without having to use an underlying cluster.
- Continued improvement to key performance features such as columnstore, in-memory OLTP, and the query optimizer to drive new record-setting performance. We’ll share some even more exciting perf and scale numbers soon!
- Native scoring in T-SQL lets you score operational data using advanced analytics in near real-time because you don’t have to load the Machine Learning libraries to access your model.
- SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) scale-out enables you to speed package execution performance by distributing execution to multiple machines. These packages are executed in parallel, in a scale-out mode.
- Many enhancements were made to SQL Server Analysis Services including:
- Modern “get data” experience with a number of new connectors like Oracle, MySQL, Sybase, Teradata, and more to come. New transformations enable mashing up of the data being ingested into tabular models.
- Object-level security for tables and columns.
- Detail rows and ragged hierarchies support, enabling additional drill-down capabilities for your tabular models.
Enhancements were made to SQL Server Reporting Services as well, including:
- Lightweight installer with zero impact on your SQL Server databases or other SQL Server features.
- REST API for programmatic access to reports, KPIs, data sources, and more.
- Report comments, enabling users to engage in discussion about reports.
In addition to the ability to upgrade existing SQL Server to 2017, there are a few more benefits to renewing your software assurance:
- Machine Learning Server for Hadoop, formerly R Server, brings R and Python based, scalable analytics to Hadoop and Spark environments, and it is now available to SQL Server Enterprise edition customers as a Software Assurance benefit.
- SQL Server Enterprise Edition Software Assurance benefits also enable you to run Power BI Report Server. Power BI Report Server enables self-service BI and enterprise reporting, all in one solution by allowing you to manage your SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) reports alongside your Power BI reports. Power BI Report Server is also included with the purchase of Power BI Premium.
- Lastly, but importantly, we are also modernizing how we service SQL Server. Please see our release management blog for all the details on what to expect for servicing SQL Server 2017 and beyond.
Thanks for joining us on this journey to SQL Server 2017. We hope you love it! Going forward, we will continue to invest in our cloud-first development model, to ensure that the pace of innovation stays fast, and that we can bring you even more and improved SQL Server features soon.
Here are a few links to get started: