Welcome 2017! Recap of top SQL Server posts of 2016

We start off the new year with a quick recap of our most popular posts on this blog channel from the year just concluded.

Here are the posts that got the most number of views from our readers during 2016, in increasing order of readership:

10. SQL Server 2016 Express Edition in Windows containers

In October, we announced the public availability of SQL Server 2016 Express Edition in Windows Containers, a capability that comes in especially handy when you need to quickly create SQL Server instances for development or testing; or to maximize density in a test or production environment (especially in microservice architectures); or when you need to isolate and control apps in a multi-tenant infrastructure.

9. SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 generally available

A couple of months back, we made several new capabilities available as part of the SP1 release of SQL Server 2016. Developers can now build to a common programming surface across all editions – and do tons more, see the graphic below or read the full article for more.

SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1

8. WideWorldImporters: The new SQL Server sample database

We figured a major release of the magnitude of SQL Server 2016 deserved its own new sample database. Besides, it was time for an upgrade of the erstwhile AdventureWorks database, which had a good run for over a decade. The new Wide World Importers sample illustrates how the rich feature set of SQL Server can be used in a real world setting. While it doesn’t attempt to use every single feature (as that would be unrealistic!) it does showcase a variety of key SQL Server 2016 capabilities and performance enhancements.

7. Preview the newest ODBC SQL Server Driver for Windows and Linux

Early last year, we announced our community technology preview of Microsoft ODBC Driver 13 for SQL Server on Windows and Linux, supporting Ubuntu, RedHat and SUSE distributions, providing robust data access to Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Azure SQL Database via ODBC on Windows and Linux platforms.

6. Microsoft announces major commitment to Apache Spark

Back in June last year, we announced an extensive commitment for Spark to power Microsoft’s big data and analytics offerings, including Cortana Intelligence, Power BI, and Microsoft R Server.


5. JSON in SQL Server 2016: Part 1 of 4

JSON is one of the most widely used data exchange formats, with most modern services returning information as JSON text, and web browsers using information formatted as JSON. JSON is the common format when semi-structured information needs to be stored, such as in files. Because so much data is formatted as JSON, it’s critical for SQL Server to process JSON text retrieved from other systems, and to format information retrieved from SQL Server tables as JSON text. This was the first post in a 4-part series; use the links that follow to read Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of the series.

4. SQL Server on Linux: How? Introduction

Many of you in the community expressed your curiosity about how we made SQL Server run on Linux, so – just before the holidays – we kicked off a blog series last month to share technical details about this very topic, starting with an introduction to the journey of offering SQL Server on Linux.

3. Announcing SQL Server on Linux public preview, first preview of next release of SQL Server

The community shared our excitement when we announced the first public preview of SQL Server on Linux in November, allowing developers to create their SQL Server solutions on Linux, Windows, Docker, or macOS (via Docker), and then deploy to Linux, Windows, or Docker, on-premises or in the cloud. There’s been tremendous interest from large enterprises as well, with a majority of Fortune 500 companies signing up for this preview release.

Microsoft Heart Pengiun

2. SQL Server 2016 is generally available today

Perhaps our biggest announcement of the year was the general availability of SQL Server 2016, back in June. There was also this post a month prior to the release, recapping key capabilities and benchmarks we achieved. As the world’s fastest, most price-performant database for HTAP (Hybrid Transactional and Analytical Processing) with updateable, in-memory columnstores and advanced analytics via deep integration with R Services, SQL Server offers industry-leading TCO and is a truly watershed product.

SQL Server 2016 leading TCO

1. Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition is now free

The best things in life are free, as they say – and so it was certainly so for our announcement that SQL Server Developer Edition was being made a free download for all Visual Studio Dev Essentials members. Note that the SQL Server Developer Edition is only for development and testing, and not for production environments or for use with production data. This announcement was an important step in Microsoft making SQL Server ever more broadly accessible.

Stay tuned to this channel for much more exciting news during the year ahead about databases in general, and the SQL Server family in particular.

We wish all of our readers a very happy new year!
SQL Server Blog Team