Microsoft announced the June 1st release date for SQL Server 2016. Read to the end for other big news.
From the breakdown of Features Supported for SQL 2016 by Edition there are a couple new features that will make their way into Standard Edition, such as Dynamic Data Masking and limited nodes for Always On.
And as Steve Jones pointed out in his editorial
I didn’t think that SQL Server 2014 added a lot of features, but SQL Server 2016 is definitely worth a full release. There are many new improvements, and this is definitely a release worth considering as an upgrade. If you just need the core T-SQL, database engine features, you probably could still run on 2005 (or even 2000), but if you want a supported configuration, need some HA capabilities and better performance, look at 2016. Many things just run faster. In fact, the CSS engineers have a whole series of posts on the various improvements made in SQL Server 2016 that make it faster without more work from you.
Other BIG news is that SQL Server Developer edition is now free – at least for SQL 2014 and 2016 (once released).
As an additional benefit for Visual Studio Dev Essential developers you can access a FREE Pluralsight subscription. That is a lot of free training you can take advantage of by visiting the Visual Studio page to sign up. First come first served for free 6-month subscription. When those run out there is a free 3-month subscription that will be offered.
Are there any features you are most interested in? Do you like free stuff?
Let us know in the comments below.