Announcing SQL Server 2022 public preview: Azure-enabled with continued performance and security innovation

Part of the SQL Server 2022 blog series.

Today, we are excited to announce the public preview of SQL Server 2022. Anyone can now download SQL Server 2022 preview to try the new features in this release.

Button to download SQL Server 2022, public preview.

SQL Server 2022 is the most Azure-enabled release of SQL Server yet, with continued innovation across performance, security, and availability. It is part of the Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform, which unifies operational databases, analytics, and data governance.  

SQL Server 2022 integrates with Azure Synapse Link and Microsoft Purview to enable customers to drive deeper insights, predictions, and governance from their data at scale. Cloud integration is enhanced with managed disaster recovery (DR) to Azure SQL Managed Instance, along with near real-time analytics, allowing database administrators to manage their data estates with greater flexibility and minimal impact to the end-user. Performance and scalability are automatically enhanced via built-in query intelligence.

Over the past six months since our private preview announcement, we saw tremendous interest in our SQL Server 2022 Early Adoption Program (EAP). Thousands of companies applied for our early adoption program, representing strong momentum relative to prior releases.  

Top-requested features for SQL Server 2022 EAP applicants included:

  • Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance1: To ensure uptime, SQL Server 2022 is fully integrated with the new link feature in Azure SQL Managed Instance. With this capability, you now get all the benefits of running a platform as a service (PaaS) environment applied to DR—allowing you to spend less time on setup and management even when compared to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) environment. The general availability of the bidirectional disaster recovery capability of the Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance will occur after the general availability of SQL Server 2022.
  • Azure Synapse Link for SQL: Azure Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022 provides near real-time analytics and hybrid transactional and analytical processing with minimal impact on operational systems.
  • Microsoft Purview integration: SQL Server 2022 is integrated with Microsoft Purview, a unified data governance and management service, for greater data discovery, allowing you to break down data silos, as well as policy management for access control.
  • Ledger: A new technology that brings the benefits of blockchains to relational databases, by cryptographically linking the data and their changes in a blockchain structure, to make the data tamper-evident and verifiable. By baking trust into the SQL Server Database Engine, Ledger makes it easy to implement multi-party business processes, such as supply chain systems, allowing participants to verify the integrity of the centrally housed data, without the complexity and performance overheads of a blockchain network. Ledger can also help customers streamline compliance audits, providing cryptographic proofs of data integrity to auditors and eliminating manual forensics.
  • Intelligent Query Processing enhancements: We are expanding more scenarios based on common customer problems. For example, the “parameter sensitive plan” problem refers to a scenario where a single cached plan for a parameterized query is not optimal for all possible incoming parameter values. With SQL Server 2022’s Parameter Sensitive Plan optimization feature, we automatically enable the generation of multiple active cached plans for a single parameterized statement. These cached execution plans will accommodate different data sizes based on the provided runtime parameter values.
  • Query Store: We are adding support for read replicas and enabling query hints to improve performance and quickly mitigate issues without having to change the source T-SQL. Also, Query Store hints arrive on SQL Server 2022. Query Store hints provide an easy-to-use method for shaping query plans without changing application code.
  • Security enhancements in SQL Server 2022 include Azure Active Directory authentication, support for richer queries in Always Encrypted with secure enclaves, backing up and restoring certificates using the PFX format, and multiple other improvements to enhance default cryptography in SQL Server to meet the evolving threat landscape.
  • Contained Availability Groups: Supports managing objects (users, logins, permissions, SQL Agent jobs, and more) at the availability group level using specialized contained system databases within the availability group.
  • Multi-write replication: We are automating the last-writer wins rule. Now, when a conflict is detected, the most recent modification time will be chosen to be persisted on all replicas. This helps keep your multi-write scenarios running smoothly.
  • Data lake virtualization and object storage: Query any data lake and backup/restore SQL to S3-compatible object storage.
  • JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) data: New JSON functions to increase the ability to query and manipulate JSON data.
  • Memory and concurrency: In-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) memory enhancements and system page latch concurrency enhancements.
SQL Server 2022: Azure-enabled with continued performance and security innovation from edge to cloud.

Collaboration with our customers and partners

We have collaborated closely with customers and partners over this past half year to test these new features. We have received positive feedback about how the innovation in SQL Server 2022 will empower users to do more.

“Features like Query Store hints and the next generation of Intelligent Query Processing are awesome. The possibility of improving and maintaining great performance over time without code changes is getting better on every new SQL Server version.”—Javier Villegas, IT Director for DBA and BI Services, Mediterranean Shipping Company

“With the arrival of Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022, we can finally achieve near real-time analytics over our most important operational data, all without the need to build and manage complex packages and pipelines.”—Nic Hopper, Data Architect, Atrium Underwriters   


Learn more

1Public preview for the bidirectional disaster recovery capability of the Link feature for Azure SQL Managed Instance will occur at a future date. Sign up to apply for early access to the capability.