What's new in SQL Server 2008

SQL Server 2008 will be released in 2nd quarter of 2008. SQL Server 2008 will also be part of a joint launch with Windows Server 2008 and Visual Studio 2008 on February 27, 2008 in Los Angeles, CA. If you are interested in SQL Server 2008, you can download the latest CTP today.Here is a list of some of the new features available (excerpts from Microsoft's white paper)

Transparent Data Encryption

SQL Server 2008 enables encryption of entire databases, data files, and log files, without the need for application changes. Encryption enables organizations to meet the demands of regulatory compliance and overall concern for data privacy. Some of the benefits of transparent data encryption include searching encrypted data using either range or fuzzy searches, more secure data from unauthorized users, and data encryption. These can be enabled without changing existing applications.

External Key Management

SQL Server 2008 provides a comprehensive solution for encryption and key management. To meet the growing need for greater security of information within data centers, organizations have invested in vendors to manage security keys within the enterprise. SQL Server 2008 provides excellent support for this need by supporting third-party key management and hardware security module (HSM) products.

Enhanced Auditing

SQL Server 2008 improves compliance and security by allowing you to audit activity on your data. Auditing can include information about when data has been read, in addition to any data modifications. SQL Server 2008 has features such as enhanced configuration and management of audits in the server, which enable organizations to meet varied compliance needs. SQL Server 2008 can also define audit specifications in each database, so audit configuration can be ported with databases. Filtering of audits to specific objects allows better performance in audit generation and flexibility in configuration.

Enhanced Database Mirroring
  • Automatic page repair. SQL Server 2008 enables the principal and mirror computers to transparently recover from 823 and 824 errors on data pages by requesting a fresh copy of the corrupted page from the mirroring partner.
  • Improved performance. SQL Server 2008 compresses the outgoing log stream in order to minimize the network bandwidth required by database mirroring.
  • Enhanced supportability
  • SQL Server 2008 includes additional performance counters to enable more granular accounting of the time spent across the different stages of Database Management System (DBMS) log processing.
  • SQL Server 2008 includes new Dynamic Management Views and extensions of existing views to expose additional information about mirroring sessions.
Hot Add CPU

Extending existing support in SQL Server for adding memory resources online, Hot Add CPU allows a database to be scaled on demand. In fact, CPU resources can be added to SQL Server 2008 on supported hardware platforms without requiring application downtime.

Performance data collection

Performance tuning and troubleshooting are time-consuming tasks for the administrator. To provide actionable performance insights to administrators, SQL Server 2008 delivers more extensive performance data collection, a new centralized data repository for storing performance data, and new reporting and monitoring tools.

Extended Events

SQL Server Extended Events is a general event-handling system for server systems. The Extended Events infrastructure is a lightweight mechanism that supports capturing, filtering, and acting upon events generated by the server process. This ability to act upon events allows users to quickly diagnose run time problems by adding contextual data, such as Transact SQL call stacks or query plan handles, to any event.  Events can be captured into several different output types, including Event Tracing for Windows (ETW).  When Extended Events are output to ETW, correlation with operating system and database applications is possible, allowing for more holistic system tracing.

Backup compression

Keeping disk-based backups online is expensive and time consuming. With SQL Server 2008 backup compression, less disk I/O is required, less storage is required to keep backups online, and backups run significantly faster.

Data compression

Improved data compression enables data to be stored more effectively and reduces the storage requirements for your data. Data compression also provides significant performance improvements for large input/output-bound workloads such as data warehousing.

Resource Governor

SQL Server 2008 enables organizations to provide a consistent and predictable response to end users with the introduction of Resource Governor. Resource Governor enables database administrators to define resource limits and priorities for different workloads, which enables concurrent workloads to provide consistent performance to end users.

Plan Freezing

SQL Server 2008 enables greater query performance stability and predictability by providing new functionality to lock down query plans, enabling organizations to promote stable query plans across hardware server replacements, server upgrades, and production deployments.

These are just some of the new features. I plan to provide you with some tutorials of what SQL Server 2008 has to offer in the near future.