It’s that time of year. When I take some time away from work, hide out, and reflect on the past year.
2013 was a big year for Microsoft, particularly SQL Server, Windows Azure, and HDInsight. While I’d love to recap every Microsoft moment that excited me, there are too many to count, so I’ll just list the highlights and leave you with some things to look forward to in 2014.
HDInsight went from a selective beta to a general release. Microsoft’s Hadoop partner, HortonWorks, released version 2.0. Although Windows Azure has not upgraded to HDP 2.0 yet, I’m told it will upgrade soon. I think there is a lot of potential to use Hadoop in conjunction with SQL Server and this is something I’ll be experimenting with soon.
SQL Server 2012
Microsoft released several patches for SQL Server 2012. I’ve seen a lot of organizations begin migrating to the platform, which is excellent. There is a lot of interest in AlwaysOn Availability Groups, which is one of my favorite new(er) technologies in SQL Server.
SQL Server 2014
Microsoft announced SQL Server 2014, and then proceeded to release not one but two community preview versions (CTP1 and CTP2) to the public. A full release (RTM) is expected sometime in 2014. I’m very excited about SQL Server 2014 and its full list of features. My favorites are the expanded replicas for AlwaysOn Availability Groups, the change in how SQL Server responds if a replica is offline, and in memory tables. The SQL Server 2014 CTP releases were placed in the image gallery, making it easy to explore the new product in minutes. There are also some new features slated to be added to the full product that will solve a lot of technical challenges for DBAs.
Windows Azure upgrades
Microsoft continued to enhance Windows Azure, and also announced support for Oracle databases. I’m a regular Windows Azure user and a big fan of the platform. Gartner predicts that cloud adoption will continue to grow and accelerate, so it’s time to accept the shift. If you haven’t checked out Windows Azure, I recommend you spend some time on the platform. It’s a strong player in the market and will only get better in the future.
These are a few of my highlights. What are yours?