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No joke: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 debuts on April Fools' Day

Hadoop, Azure also look for more partners

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As expected Microsoft has released SQL Server 2012, formerly codenamed Denali, to manufacturers and will be making the final code available on April Fools' Day.

"This is the cusp of a major milestone for Microsoft and SQL Server," Doug Leland, GM of SQL marketing for Redmond told The Register. "It's been battle-tested by over 150,000 customers and is ready to go."

The new build, available in standard, business intelligence and enterprise editions, has been designed specifically with big data uses in mind, and Leland reckons it works with structured and unstructured data sets faster than any previous version. The use of in-memory processing for tables was one area where significant speed increases have been achieved.

Stability has also been addressed, and one beta tester, the Home Shopping Network, saw downtime cut by a factor of 10 in testing. The PowerView data analysis tool has been added to the existing PowerPivot system and this version of SQL will also have greater support for hybrid cloud systems that mix on-premise and external databases.

Microsoft commissioned a report on upgrading to SQL Server by analyst house Forrester and this estimated that updating would pay for itself within 12 to 14 months with an estimated return on investment between 149 and 189 per cent. Redmond will hold a corporate webcast on Wednesday with more details.

Leland also confirmed that the proposed integration with Hadoop on Microsoft's Azure platform would be continuing apace, with a new beta for the system due out in the second half of the year. The company is also widening the range of companies who can try the system early, and users can sign up to take part on the Azure website.

The software will include features suggested by participants, and among the new stuff is support for the Mahout open source library for advanced predictive analytics and improved failover that should see the software become much more resilient to downtime. ®

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