Review: SQL Server 2014 pushes the pedal to the metal
Microsoft's latest SQL Server release boosts OLTP performance with in-memory tables, expands backup and HA options with ties to Windows Azure
But like I said, Delayed Durability is not reducing the workload at all. Everything that used to be done is still being done. The database engine just releases control back to the client sooner than it used to, so the end-user can get back to work faster. This feature is configurable as well -- you can control it at the database level, the transaction level, or even at the atomic block level (for an entire stored procedure). Nevertheless, be careful when considering this feature. If your system should fail before these transactions get hardened to disk, you will lose them. This is what durability means: The transaction is recoverable. If you delay the durability of your transactions to get better client response times, be aware that it's possible to lose some data.
And finally, SQL Server 2014 brings a couple of security enhancements. Of course we now have backup encryption, which is one more nail in the coffin of the third-party backup products. The final nail will be object-level recovery. There are also a couple of new server-level permissions -- CONNECT ANY USER DATABASE and SELECT ALL USER SECURABLES -- that allow you to manage security much more easily than ever before. The reason is that you can assign these permissions once for all current and future databases. You no longer have to keep assigning these permissions as databases come and go.
SQL Server 2014 is a solid release with a good mix of new features and enhancements to existing ones. While I'm personally not drawn to the cloud features, I'm absolutely thrilled with the work Microsoft has done on OLTP, and this story is sure to get better. Hekaton is brand new with this release, so you can expect that some of the restrictions will start melting away in subsequent releases.
I didn't even come close to mentioning all of the new features. For some good practical reading, I suggest looking up buffer pool extension, incremental statistics, and managing lock priority of online operations. All of these can have a significant impact on your system performance. However, it's also worth noting that Integration Services, Reporting Services, and replication didn't receive any enhancements in this release at all, and while there are some minor T-SQL enhancements, nothing that will change the way DBAs or developers do their job.
Still, SQL Server 2014 gives you plenty of ways to improve performance, and a few ways to leverage the Azure cloud for backups and high availability. SQL Server shops wrestling with these issues should take a close look at this release.
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