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Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Top 5 Enhancements

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is a cloud-friendly information platform that will help organizations and businesses transition to the inevitable future of cloud computing more affordable and sooner than we might have ever thought. The improvements to the database platform are long but here are the top five.   

5. Contained databases -- Contained databases make it easy to deploy new databases and to move databases between different SQL Server instances. Users of a contained database don't need logins for the SQL Server instance. Instead, all authentications are stored in the contained database. Contained databases have no configuration dependencies on the instance of SQL Server that they're hosted on.

4. Columnar index -- SQL Server 2012 adds columnar storage and efficient batch-at-a-time processing to the system. Columnar storage is exposed as a new index type: a column store index. In other words, in SQL Server 2012 an index can be stored either row-wise in a B-tree or column-wise in a column store index. SQL Server column store indexes are “pure” column stores, not a hybrid, because different columns are stored on entirely separate pages. This improves I/O performance and makes more efficient use of memory. Depending on the data, Microsoft states this technology can provide up to 10-100 times improvement in query performance with reduced I/O.

3. SQL Server Data Tools -- SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is a developer’s dreams come true. Using the Visual Studio 2010 shell developers can use model driven database development and debugging straight from Visual Studio.  Developers can use the SQL Server Object Explorer in Visual Studio to create or edit database objects and data,, or execute queries. SSDT can connect to SQL Server 2005 and later as well as to SQL Azure.

2. Power View – Power View is a completely Silverlight-based data visualization tool which allows users to interact with data. Since it’s deployed from SharePoint 2010 SP1 it does not require a client side installation. The extra compatibility allows users of the Apple family of devices to interact with the data like a normal windows user would. Extremely portable.

1. AlwaysOn Availability Groups -- The most important feature in the SQL Server 2012 release is the AlwaysOn Availability Groups functionality. It is essentially the next evolution in database mirroring. This is a huge step forward for businesses looking to use a cloud based DR solution. AlwaysOn Availability Groups make it possible to implement a highly available deployment strategy that can be used to survive sever outages. It supports up to four replicas and lets you mix and match synchronous and asynchronous connection. This means that the data in the replicas can be actively queried. 

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