Replacing Microsoft SQL 2005, SQL Server 2016 was released on June 1, 2016, and this edition brought some exciting features to the world of relational databases. If you’re a developer or chief information officer, then you need a comprehensive database software that complements a hybrid cloud. With SQL Server 2016’s, you can build intelligent applications using a scalable database that boasts a variety of exciting features.


Improved Security

One of the most significant upgrades of SQL Server 2016 is security. Microsoft added a new feature known as “Always Encrypted” technology, which allows the server to perform operations using encrypted data. The encryption key stays in a secure and trusted environment within the application.

It’s only possible to read encrypted data using a special driver and the encryption key. This helps to avoid changes that could possibly affect existing applications in your database. Also, it doesn’t allow DBAs to access the plaintext data.

It also comes with row level security, which allows you to offer users access to rows that are relevant to their function. You can enable this feature by creating inline table functions.

In-Memory Performance Enhancements

Users love it when they’re able to get quick or instant results to their queries. This is something that SQL Server 2016 offers with the upgrades to the In-memory OLTP and analytics.

Memory-optimized tables can now feature massive object type columns, triggers, constraints, and foreign keys. You can also set and change the type of collation you want for your tables. Your tables can also use Nullable index key columns, columns with collation, and unique indexes.

In-memory enhancements have also allowed users to perform real-time analytics on their OLTP database without experiencing resource contention between two different workloads. Plus, you can use filtered column store indexes to reduce the overhead caused by maintenance of clustered column store indexes.

Improved Database Engine

The engine comes with new Stretch Database, which allows you to securely archive data from a local database to an Azure database in the cloud. In this case, this will enable you to reduce dependence on your on-site hardware. You can still access your data through your on-site database.

TempDB of the server is also improved to boost its performance. In SQL Server 2016, you don’t need to determine how many TempDB files you have to add manually. The server gives the default number by basing on the number of logical processors it has.

It also comes with a new Query Store that helps to troubleshoot issues related to the query plan. This store queries execution plans, texts, and performance metrics within the database. Plus, you have access to a database that highlights queries that consumed the most memory, CPU resources, and time.

Polybase Technology

Managing relational and non-relational data is now possible with SQL Server 2016 thanks to Polybase technology. This technology works by incorporating Hadoop into the regular on-site database. In turn, this helps in connecting Big Data and Hadoop.

So, if your company is dealing a large number of text files, you can easily store them in Azure Blob Storage. Polybase also allows you to query data in Azure Blob storage or Hadoop.

Temporal Tables

With temporal tables, you can view all data changes together with time and date they occurred. These tables consist of two tables: current (temporal) table and historical table. The historical table utilizes page compression to save on space.

As such, when changes are made to the current table, a copy of the changes is stored in the historical table in real time. This means you can never lose track of any changes or past versions of your data.

SQL Server Azure

In Microsoft SQL 2005, Azure only offered a subset of the features that are available in the typical SQL Server database engine. With the 2016 edition, several enhancements have been made to boost the performance of Azure.

For example, Azure security has been improved to ensure that only authorized users have access to tada. You can now audit different events in Azure, including logins, stored procedures, schema modifications, parametrized and plain T-SQL, and transactions.

It also offers elastic databases that help to avoid provisioning of resources. In this case, you don’t need to estimate resources on a per database basis. Instead, you can group databases in a pool and delegate resources for that particular database pool.

Deeper Data Analysis

With SQL Server 2016 Analysis Services (SSAS), filtering, authoring, processing and managing your tubular model databases is now made easier.

The server now has R services, which allow scientists, analysts, and statisticians, to execute R code directly on their database. If you have the SQL Server enterprise edition, you can enjoy high-speed computation by employing multithreading, multiprocessors, and multicores.

It also has a new Database Consistency Checker (DBCC) that detects data corruption issues. You can also query live external data without importing it thanks to Direct Query. This feature also supports additional data sources, including Teradata, Oracle, and Azure SQL.


If you haven’t upgraded your database to SQL server 2016, this is the time to do it to leverage the many security, integration, and analysis features it offers. This database platform has a great scope, so it needs a team with in-depth Microsoft knowledge to implement and manage it.

As an organization, take the time to review your data needs and see how you can make the switch to this updated SQL Server edition. If you are looking to setup an SQL Server 2016 server, book a free consultation with us today.

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