New Features in SQL Server 2012

Scheduled for release on March 7, 2012 Microsoft SQL Server 2012 introduces some new features. One of the biggest changes to Microsoft’s database management software will be the release of three separate editions. The simplest edition is called, appropriately enough, the Standard Edition. This is useful for the most basic analytical tasks. The next edition with more functions is the Business Intelligence edition, which contains all the functions of the Standard with some additional BI functions. The Enterprise edition, which of course includes all the tools from the first two but also some very impressive features for large-scale applications, will be the most robust of the three. Another large part of the changes include the removal of the SQL Server 2008 data center edition; most of its functionality has been included in the top-level Enterprise edition. Along the same lines, Microsoft will change the licensing structure from a processor-based to a core-based one.

With data visualization increasingly critical to the success of BI solutions, Microsoft has upped its game with a new feature called Power View. Replacing Report Builder, Power View provides an interactive reporting environment that is open to further exploration and visualization of data. It is an enhancement to existing business intelligence tools, strengthening self-service reporting capabilities. Another new in SQL 2012 is a feature that brings Excel’s popular PowerPivot functionality to the BI development studio: Analysis Service Tabular. This feature will have the same options as in PowerPivot, along with additional capabilities such as partitioning, incremental updates, and role-based security.

Before the actual software is released in March, developers have a chance to get their hands on the new features for testing and training purposes right now. In the training kit, available on, Microsoft offers preconfigured presentations for instructors and individuals to explore new features, of which there are many more than the very short list written above. There are hands-on labs to extend the presentations and demos of the new features. Labs include HTML or Word scripts, a dependency checker to make sure your servers and data environment are equipped with the right software to run SQL 2012. If you are missing something, there is an installer to help you obtain the necessary software to get the best of the show. Videos explaining the new features and how to operate them go well with transcripts to help people learn and teach team members. Try demos and how-to documents so that when the real thing finally hits the market, you and your team are at the forefront. You’ll be ready to dig deep and deliver cutting-edge solutions to clients large and small.

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