The next version of Microsoft’s SQL server, named “Denali”, is not scheduled for release until the latter part of 2011 or the early part of 2012, but that’s no reason to wait to try out some of the new features of the server with Microsoft’s community technology preview of the server, first released at PASS summit in 2010. While the new server isn’t perfect, and there are still questions about licensing and restrictions, there a number of features that seem set to make Denali a stand out.
First is Project Apollo, a part of the Denali server that allows the use of column-store indexes. The idea here is to compress the amount of space that indexes take up, and make real-world retrieval of data much faster. Ad hoc queries will supposedly complete in minutes what used to take hours, and seconds what used to take minutes, allowing businesses to provide real-time information to employees and ensure that they are always dealing with the most up-to-date knowledge available.
Denali is also the first SQL server to come with Microsoft’s AlwaysOn recovery system, which is designed to provide cross-database dependency in a mirroring environment, allowing cross-references to remain functional even in the event of a failure, and allow for the creation of read-only references that can take over if a primate database fails. Project Crescent is also interesting, and is meant to provide a new way to present data in a much more striking format than is currently available using endless reels of PowerPoint presentations.
While Denali is bound to have fixes, upgrades, and alterations before the final release, this CTP version of it shows that it is a viable new player in the cloud server field.