Microsoft today made its enterprise SQL Server 2016 database generally available following a preview release program last year.
SQL Server 2016 brings several enhancements to the product, such as in-memory column stores for real-time analytical processing. It also keeps joins, aggregations and machine learning within the database itself, without moving the information out first.
Performance improvements have been achieved thanks to reengineering of SQL Server 2016's data processing paradigm, Microsoft said.
Using the industry standard Transaction Processing Council (TPC-H) database benchmark, Microsoft claimed it was able to load a complex schema at 1.6 terabytes per hour on a single server with four Intel Xeon E7 processors.
The enterprise database also provides tools for cross-platform analytics such as Polybase, letting users run queries on external data kept in Hadoop or Azure binary large object (BLOB) storage.
Microsoft has also deeply ingrained the open source R language, used for big data analytics, into SQL Server 2016.
The company is gunning for the database security crown with SQL Server 2016, boasting that earlier versions of the RDBMS have had the least amount of vulnerabilities as recorded by the US NIST's national vulnerability database.
Uniquely, the new database will be available not just for Microsoft's Windows Server platform and Azure Cloud, but also for open source Linux distributions as a result of customer demand.
Microsoft is currently working with Linux partners Red Hat and Canonical, and hopes to have a version of SQL Server for the penguin platform ready by the middle of next year.
SQL Server 2016 can be deployed as a standalone system, in hybrid clouds, and public clouds.
Australian pricing is yet to be released. United States customers pay US$14,256 for a per-core license of the Enterprise version of SQL Server 2016 in two-core packs.
A developer version of the Enterprise edition of SQL Server 2016 for non-production environments is available for free, along with the entry-level Express variant for small databases up to 10GB in disk size.
The standard edition of SQL Server costs US$3717 per processor core, and client access licenses (CALs) go for US$931 each.