At the PASS Summit keynote today Quentin Clark announced that SQL Server CTP2 (which is public and the last public review) and is available right now to download here. It is also available as a VM on Azure. According to a tweet from Glenn Berry, the version number in the demo is 12.0.1524.

Before what you download and install, here’s what you ought to know;

  • The Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP2 release is NOT supported by Microsoft Customer Services and Support (CSS), so you can’t call them up for support (though last time I did they asked if I was using SQL Server 2013…)
  • The Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP2 release is available for testing purposes only and should NOT be installed and used in production environments.
    • Side-by-Side installation with down-level production SQL Server instances as well as in-place Upgrades of down-level production SQL Server instances, is NOT supported.
  • Upgrading from Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP1 to Microsoft SQL Server 2014 CTP2 is NOT supported.
MSDN page for improvements in the Database Engine

Some highlights of improvements;

  • Data Encryption: you can now choose to encrypt the backup file during a backup operation (how this works with data compression I do not know and would be interested to know). supports several encryption algorithms including AES 128, AES 192, AES 256, and Triple DES. You must use either a certificate or an asymmetric key to perform encryption during backup.
  • Managed Lock Priority: WAIT_AT_LOW_PRIORITY for partition switch allows you to wait for blocking transaction to complete after a set period of time, and you can either abort the blocking transaction or your own transaction. A really good walk-through is up at SQL Performance.
  • Delayed Durability: Essentially asynchronous log writes to disk; this means you can lose some data, but this is something you can tolerate if you have high contention and performance issues on writing to the t-log. This is something that has been added to the CTP 2 release. This feature is only accessible to In-Memory OLTP databases.
Interesting to note that there was no pricing or release dates for SQL Server 2014, nor indeed any info about updates for SQL Server 2012 (they were too busy cross promoting Skype and Surface tablets to focus on this…)

About PASS Summit 2013

PASS Summit is the world’s largest, most-focused, and most-intensive conference for Microsoft SQL Server and BI professionals.

Organized by and for SQL Server and BI users, PASS Summit delivers the most technical sessions, the largest number of attendees, the best networking, and the highest-rated sessions and speakers of any SQL Server event in the world.

PASS Summit is produced by the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS), an independent, not-for-profit association dedicated to supporting, educating, and promoting the Microsoft SQL Server community.

Revenues from PASS Summit are used to support the global community year-round.

PASS is made up of a group of passionate, dedicated, and enthusiastic SQL Server users, committed to furthering and growing the SQL Server community.

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About PASS

PASS is an independent, not-for-profit community organization dedicated to empowering data professionals who leverage Microsoft technologies to connect, share, and learn. With a growing membership of more than 100K, PASS enables networking, knowledge sharing, and peer-based learning through local and virtual chapters, online events, local and regional events, and international conferences such as PASS Summit.