Microsoft rolls out SQL Server 2022 with new cloud capabilities

Microsoft Corp. today released SQL Server 2022, the latest release of its popular SQL Server relational database.

SQL Server can run in the cloud and on on-premises infrastructure. The latest release of the database that Microsoft rolled out today includes several new features powered by services in the company’s Azure cloud platform. The release also introduces a number of other enhancements, including new on-demand pricing.

Azure SQL Managed Instance is a managed database service available through Azure. Companies can use the service without having to manage the infrastructure on which it runs. According to Microsoft, SQL Server 2022 introduces a new integration that makes it possible to copy the contents of an on-premises database to Azure SQL Managed Instance.

Organizations can use the integration in multiple ways. A company could keep a backup copy of an on-premises database in Azure SQL Managed Instance to ensure that data can be recovered after an outage. Additionally, application requests that are sent to an on-premises database can be rerouted to Azure SQL Managed Instance as a way of improving performance.

“You can also use this link feature in read scale-out scenarios to offload heavy requests that might otherwise affect database performance,” Rohan Kumar, the corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Azure Data division, detailed in a blog post.

SQL Server 2022 also includes an integration with Microsoft’s Azure Synapse service. The service provides features that enable companies to prepare business data for analysis and run queries on the data to find useful insights.

Historically, moving business records from SQL Server to Azure Synapse for analysis required companies to build a software workflow known as an ETL, or extract, transform and load, pipeline. SQL Server 2022 removes the need for custom ETL pipelines. It detects when new records are added to a database and automatically syncs them to Azure Synapse.

Moving information from a database to an external system often requires sending the entire contents of the database over the network. By only sending newly added information to Azure Synapse rather than the entire database, SQL Server 2022 can speed up processing. 

 “Because the automated change feeds only push what is new or different, data transfer occurs much faster and allows for near real-time insights, all with minimal impact on the performance of the source database,” Kumar explained.

SQL Server 2022 also introduces integrations with two other products: Microsoft Purview and Azure Arc. 

Microsoft Purview is a software tool that can map out the information in a database and identify sensitive items such as credit card numbers. It also helps companies regulate user access to business data. Azure Arc, in turn, is a service that enables administrators to manage cloud-based and on-premises databases through a single interface.

Centralized database management is one of several features that the Azure Arc integration provides. According to Microsoft, connecting SQL Server 2022 to Azure Arc also enables customers to access new on-demand pricing. The new pricing model is intended to help companies more easily address sudden increases in database usage. 

“You now have access to a new cloud-enabled billing model for SQL Server, providing you with cost efficiency to pay only for what you use,” Kumar explained. “Pay by the hour for consumption spikes and ad hoc usage without the need for upfront investment.”

The new release of SQL Server also introduces a number of other improvements. According to Microsoft, the release features multiple performance enhancements designed to speed up query completion times. Additionally, SQL Server 2022 introduces Ledger for SQL Server, a new tool that can create a tamper-proof log of database changes for cybersecurity purposes. 

Photo: Microsoft

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