"We use AS as an analytics query engine since Hive and Hadoop are terrible at serving interactive queries at scale," said David Mariani, Klout vice president of engineering. "AS queries billions of rows in under 10 seconds and allows us to iterate and test a large number of scenarios very quickly."
Not everyone agrees that SQL Server will be an essential element of big data analysis. With this release, Microsoft is playing catch-up to the big data trend, said Curt Monash, of Monash Research. SQL Server will be a good fit for existing Microsoft shops, where the IT staff already understands how to work with the Microsoft technologies. It offers only a few unique features for non-Microsoft shops when compared with other relational offerings, however.
"Microsoft SQL Server is an adequate product if you don't mind being locked into the Microsoft stack," Monash said.
Microsoft will hold an online tutorial on March 8 to help potential users become more acquainted with the new features in SQL Server 2012.