SQL Server 2014 has been released and is available from April 2014.

SQL Server 2014 is an important component of Microsoft’s overall cloud-first data platform. The platform delivers breakthrough performance, accelerated insights through tools everyone uses and the ability to scale globally on-premises and in the cloud – which lets Microsoft’s customers get the most from their data.

This release of SQL Server delivers key hybrid scenarios whilst embracing in-memory technology. The in-memory technology at Microsoft spans the core workloads in the data platform: business intelligence as part of Analysis Services, Excel and Power BI for Office 365; complex event processing with StreamInsight; in-memory columnstore in SQL Server and their data warehousing product; and now with SQL Server 2014 – in-memory transaction processing.

The completeness of Microsoft’s data platform and the strength of its mission-critical capabilities are the reasons so many organisations are choosing to build on and deploy SQL Server as it meets the increasingly demanding needs of organisations of all sizes. Therefore, unsurprisingly, SQL Server is the most widely-deployed database in the world and Microsoft’s data platform has surpassed their competitors in key technology areas such as cloud, in-memory and business intelligence.

Built-in in-memory technology for faster application performance

The technology innovations that Microsoft are delivering in SQL Server 2014 help their customers to create new business value and open up new opportunities with data. In-memory transaction processing (In-Memory OLTP), speeds up an already very fast experience by delivering speed improvement of up to 30x.

For a company like bwin, the largest regulated online gaming company, faster processing means not only can they serve more customers by scaling their applications to 250,000 requests a second, but it means the experience their customers have with their application is better, faster and smoother.

An important part to the in-memory work that Microsoft have been doing, is their approach to build SQL Server’s In-Memory OLTP right into the box. This means that organisations who use SQL Server, don’t need expensive additional software to take advantage of the technology. It also means organisations do not have to spend time rewriting their application or deploying new servers. The approach Microsoft has taken with in-memory columnstore is similar- it is built into SQL Server and their data warehouse product, Parallell Data Warehouse.

Hybrid cloud capabilities offer greater flexibility

The other key area of investment for SQL Server 2014 has been hybrid features that span the cloud and on-premises, which gives Microsoft’s customers a choice in how they deploy database solutions. Their customers can easily and securely backup and recover on-premises SQL Server databases using Windows Azure. SQL Server 2014’s AlwaysOn technology was built to enroll Windows Azure virtual machines running SQL Server into a disaster recovery solution. This turnkey solution builds on SQL Server 2014 availability in Windows Azure virtual machines – one can get SQL Server with its in-memory and mission-critical features up and running in an Azure VM in a few minutes.

Windows Azure and SQL Server provide a continuum of capability and flexibility in deployment options for Microsoft customers– on-premises and in the cloud. Windows Azure also supports an important data workload – Windows Azure HDInsight, Microsoft’s Apache Hadoop-based solution in the cloud. Microsoft also announced that the general availability of Hadoop 2.2 support in Windows Azure HDInsight, which has been updated to take full advantage of the latest Hadoop 2.2 platform, including support for YARN and Stinger Phase 2.

In an era where nearly everything will become digitized, Microsoft has delivered a data platform that will help their customers digitize their business. SQL Server 2014 is now available for download for all Microsoft customers.