The Expansiveness of Microsoft SQL

Denny Cherry, CEO, Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting
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Denny Cherry, CEO, Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting

The ROI on SQL Server 2016

Microsoft’s SQL Server 2016 is arguably the best SQL Server upgrade Microsoft has ever produced. If you’re deliberating whether this is the release that makes the headache and associated costs worthwhile, the answer is a resounding yes.

The ROI can be measured via savings, security and performance. Within months of our client becoming the second company in the world running SQL Server 2016 in production, they managed to:

• Reduce their data warehouse load by 5x
• Vastly reduce extract times (10.4x) from days to hours
• AlwaysOn AG allows DR function and offloading read workload

Here’s why.

Licensing

The most immediate ROI of SQL Server 2016 is licensing: you can experience immediate savings because you can increase the number of databases which can be placed onto a SQL Server instance. By reducing the number of instances, you can reduce the number of licenses of SQL Server you need to purchase, as well as the number of servers that must have their hardware refreshed. Utilizing features such as the SQL Server Resource Governor for server consolidation projects can be completed while simultaneously guaranteeing resources within the SQL Server instance for databases which need guaranteed resources to meet Service Level Agreements.

Security

Another ROI is the amplified security. Infosec can kill a budget if you invest too much, or kill a business if you don’t invest enough, so embedded features in an upgrade of your primary database really help to walk that tightrope. This release offers an Always Encrypted feature, so data can be encrypted in flight by the application tier with little or no code change to the application. Combine it with the Extensible Key Management (EKM), which is designed for storing the encryption certificates and place the keys in a security key store (such as Azure Key Vault) and even your Database Administration team is cut off from viewing the encrypted data.

 ‚ÄčYou get the latest and greatest that has already been tested, and you get the latest and greatest as new features become available as well 

Other security features include the Dynamic Data Masking, where sensitive data can be masked (without any changes to the application itself) and Row Level Security, which universally protects SQL Server customer data from employees. Obtaining this sort of functionality in prior releases required an application developer, and they still wouldn’t have been able to prevent the user from seeing all data.

Best part of this upgrade? You can implement all of these security upgrades on all your SQL Server databases. 

Performance

Finally, companies save money based on performance: your company can work more efficiently. SQL Server 2016 is the first to employ Microsoft’s “cloud first” strategy, which means every feature goes to beta in the Microsoft Azure SQL Database platform, prior to being released for production use. This commitment removes the need to wait for the first service pack. The same methodology applies to the SQL Server Management Studio 2016 tools updates: again, they’re tested, and released as they’re readied, so there’s a rolling prospectus of new features, rather than a two year patience test.

In short, you get the latest and greatest that has already been tested, and you get the latest and greatest as new features become available as well. The new features enabled our client to implement their entire checklist of needs, including AlwaysOn Availability Groups, Clustered ColumnStore, R, In Memory OLTP, etc. 

The result? Our client experienced a performance improvement of 20 percent, simply by upgrading the database engine to the new version. They are now working with the SQL Server product team to revolutionalize the way their industry delivers data to their clients.

It’s worth contemplating.

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