SQL Server 2019 has inched slowly towards an official launch, with a Release Candidate released back in August with a refreshed build pushed out a bit more than a week later. Today, Microsoft has talked up a number of new capabilities of SQL Server 2019 at its Ignite 2019 conference designed to help users more efficiently gain insights from data that may exist in different formats or sources.
By leveraging Apache Spark and Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS) built into the SQL Server engine, customers can use Big Data Clusters to bring together both structured and unstructured data to discover new insights. Microsoft is also attempting to help address the issue of data silos by broadening the "data virtualization" concept delivered in SQL Server 2016 via access to a range of new data sources, which include:
- Azure Cosmos DB
- Azure SQL Database
- Azure Data Lake
- Azure Data Warehouse
- Hadoop Distributed File System (HDFS)
Furthermore, queries that take advantage of data virtualization will also not require users to move or replicate data.
Microsoft is also expecting users to gain improved performance without any changes to their applications simply by upgrading to SQL Server 2019 thanks to "intelligent query processing". The company also expects further efficiencies for "mission-critical workloads with in-memory database capabilities" given enhancements made to persistent memory support and memory-optimized tempdb.
Turning towards security, "Always Encrypted with Secure Enclaves" enables users to shift the boundary of trust from the applications to the server. Leveraging a protected region of memory inside the SQL Server process, the secure enclave can "safely perform operations on sensitive data in plaintext" while remaining inaccessible to the software, OS, and system administrators.
If you want to check out other inclusions that have appeared in SQL Server 2019 throughout the development cycle you can check out our coverage here.