By David Rosenthal
Find out about all the major updates, changes, and additions you’ll want to start leveraging for your database operations.
The latest update to SQL Server has been officially released, and the 2022 edition integrates more closely with Microsoft’s Azure cloud than ever before. SQL Server has been a leading database management solution for over 30 years, and Microsoft is committed to continually innovating to improve its performance, security, and availability.
This update establishes SQL Server is a core element of the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform, a cloud-based analytics framework that combines databases, analytics, and data governance under a single, simple to manage interface. When powered by SQL Server 2022, the Intelligent Data Platform helps organizations add intelligence to their apps, unearth valuable predictive insights, and efficiently govern their data across diverse clouds and infrastructure arrangements.
SQL Server 2022 also has many new connections to Azure, including Azure Synapse Link, which replicates data from Azure SQL Database or SQL Server 2022, and Microsoft Purview, a complete data protection and database auditing tool and compliance manager.
Azure Synapse Link for SQL
Admins no longer need to use extract, transform, and load (ETL) data integration processes to move data from on-premises databases to Synapse, and SQL Server 2022 features automatic change feeds so that Azure Synapse Analytics is always stocked with timely data.
Hybrid transactional and analytical processing and near real-time analysis are delivered with minimal impact on operational systems, and once the data is in Synapse, it can be combined with an extremely wide range of other data sets (regardless of size, scale, or format) and then leveraged in Azure Machine Learning, Spark, or Power BI to extract actionable signals.
Unified data governance and management is now incredibly accessible, thanks to Purview’s new integrations in SQL Server, which breaks down data silos and opens up visibility into a complete data estate. New features include:
- Automatic scanning of on-premises SQL Server for free to capture metadata
- Smarter data classification with built-in and custom classifiers and Microsoft Information Protection sensitivity labels
- More granular control of access rights to SQL Server
Along with Synapse Link, Azure Arc represents a major expansion of Azure-connected features within SQL Server. Arc is a hybrid and multi-cloud management platform that helps organizations deliver consistent employee, customer, and user experiences throughout their digital ecosystem. New Arc features for 2022 include:
- A single view of all SQL Servers deployed on-premises and within clouds
- Automated technical assessments (at no charge)
- Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) delivered via Microsoft Defender for Cloud
- Identity and Access Management (AIM) enhancements with Single Sign-On and Azure Active Directory
- Pay-as-you-go billing options
Managed disaster recovery (DR) to Azure SQL Managed Instance is another new Azure integration; it provides near real-time analytics, giving database administrators the visibility and flexibility they need to effectively manage their data estates while minimizing disruptions for users.
Also new for 2022 are some major changes under the hood. SQL Server now includes automated performance and scalability enhancements that are driven by built-in query intelligence. Microsoft also announced a security update called Ledger for SQL Server that employs blockchain-based technology to create a tamper-evident record of all database changes.
When Uptime Matters, Accept No Substitutes
High performance, insightful analytics, and robust security are all key features for a database solution — but so is reliability! All that power isn’t of much use if the system goes down.
In that vein, Microsoft has invested in a new link feature in Azure SQL Managed Instance. This upgrade means teams can rely on a PaaS (Platform as a Service) environment for their disaster recovery operations, which in turn allows them to devote less time and effort to setup and management than in IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) arrangements. This is accomplished with a built-in Distributed Availability Group (DAG) that can replicate data to a previously deployed Azure SQL Managed Instance.
A number of Microsoft partners are already indicating their interest in quickly taking advantage of SQL Server’s new capabilities. “As a company with 24/7 availability requirements, we are looking forward to embracing all SQL Server 2022 features that can make database failover faster, such as Buffer Pool Parallel Scan, ParallelRedo and Accelerated Database Recovery (ADR) enhancements,” Milos Radivojevic, Head of MSSQL Database Engineering at multinational sports betting and gambling company Entain, told Microsoft.
“On the development side, we expect to further utilize continuous improvements in the Intelligent Query Processing package. In an environment with a lot of servers and huge databases, even when you have people and resources to deal with performance issues, each feature that can improve performance or fix performance issues automatically or without touching the code is very valuable,” Radivojevic explained.
The Reigning Champ Just Got Stronger
There’s a reason so many companies trust their sensitive and critical data to SQL Database. It’s because it’s the differentiated performance leader in OLTP (Online Transaction Processing) and Non-Clustered DW performance on 1TB, 3TB, 10TB, and 30TB, according to the Transaction Processing Performance Council. And it’s because SQL Server is backed by Microsoft’s industry-leading security technologies.
For 2022, the best database solution added a whole suite of new cloud tools, analytics support, and even stronger performance and security upgrades, so SQL Server’s dominance is likely to continue in the year ahead.
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