I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack! Thanks for all the messages asking “Where is the news update?” “Anna, what is new?” and more. Message received (and sorry!). I’m back and giving you a summary of all the updates you might have missed this year, 2023. By the way, if you want to see a summary of all the updates in 2022, check out the blog https://aka.ms/NewsUpdate2022 and our YouTube channel https://aka.ms/azuresqlyt.
I’m going to get right into it, but I want to throw out there – if I missed something, please let me know and I will update it here!
Let’s start with Azure SQL Managed Instance. Private Link, a service that helps you have a secure, isolated connection to an Azure service, is now available in public preview for Azure SQL Managed Instance. By the way, this service has been available for Azure SQL Database for some time, and by popular demand we have expanded to SQL MI. There are also two general availability updates – you can now configure your TempDB maximum size and you can do data virtualization with Azure Data Lake and Azure Blob Storage.
Moving to Azure SQL Database, the biggest public preview announcement (my opinion!) has been Serverless Hyperscale. Serverless alone and Hyperscale alone have been wildly popular and useful for customers with requirements like really large databases or size of data operations, autoscaling, and auto-pausing and resuming. Now, you don’t have to choose one or the other, but you can get all the benefits from a single service. Other public preview announcements include VBS enclaves for Always Encrypted as well as expanded zone redundancy regions for general purpose including East US2, East US, and Southeast Asia.
On the GA side for Azure SQL Database, DBCC SHRINKDATABASE is now supported in Azure SQL Database, enabling customers to shrink database files without impacting query performance. Plus, optimized locking, is a new SQL Server Database Engine capability that offers an improved transaction locking mechanism that reduces lock memory consumption and blocking for concurrent transactions. I am still learning about it, you can find all the docs on it here.
Across Azure SQL Database and Azure SQL Managed Instance, we have also done several interesting things. In public preview, Data API builder creates modern REST and GraphQL endpoints for databases like Azure SQL but also Cosmos DB for NoSQL and Azure Database for PostgreSQL/MySQL. A great blog from Davide Mauri is here and you can find the open source GitHub repo also.
On the general availability front, the approximate percentile functions made it for Managed Instance and SQL Database. This involves a native implementation of APPROX_PERCENTILE that needs less memory and CPU than the precise analytic counterparts. Balmukund Lakhani wrote a great blog explaining and comparing. Security-wise, we also released automated key rotation for customer-managed keys (CMK) if you’re interested in Bring Your Own Key (BYOK) scenarios. This release makes it much easier to manage your keys. Check out Shoham Dasgupta’s blog to learn more.
I want to mention that Azure SQL Gen 4 hardware is approaching end of life (March 31, 2023). This has probably been on your radar if you’re using Gen 4 today, but the summary is that we are always working to enable better hardware and that sometimes means phasing out other hardware, in this case Gen 4. Scott Kim gives some advice on what to move to if you need tips.
Wherever you’re migrating from, when it comes to getting into Azure SQL, we’re always working on ways to make it easier. In public preview, we recently enabled login and TDE-enabled database migrations with Azure Database Migration Service. Azure Data Studio has a migration extension which has been super popular for migrating, and doing offline migrations to Azure SQL Database is now generally available.
If you’re using SQL Server on Linux, you’ll be excited to learn that there’s a new extension HPE Serviceguard for Linux (SGLX) that can help you if you’re configuring and managing... for SQL Server instances running on Azure Linux VMs.
Moving to SQL Server (on-prem, Azure, or anywhere else!), the biggest announcement in the SQL Server space was, of course, the general availability announcement of SQL Server 2022 late last year. We’ve chatted about it a ton on the show and in blogs, but the link above will get you to all the resources you might be interested in – including the Data Exposed SQL Server 2022 series (shameless plug)!
There’s also been various updates in the SQL Server space among versions for security or CU. Your best bet is to refer to the SQL Server Tech Community blog and see what’s relevant to you.
On the tooling and developer front, there have been quite a few releases and enhancements you’ll want to check out. Azure Data Studio continues to release enhancements and new capabilities, recently including Group by schema, user management, connectivity, and arm64. I always look for the release blogs to learn more, but you can always refer to the release notes for a list over time. Not just Azure Data Studio tooling updates – but also SSMS 19.0 went GA, and includes updates and support for things like AAD authentication, contained AGs, Ledger, Link feature for SQL Managed Instance, and more.
In addition to Azure Data Studio and SSMS, updates to SCOM Management Packs (22.214.171.124), updates to Visual Studio Extensions for SSAS and SSRS, updates to DacFx and Microsoft.BuildSql, and Microsoft.Data.SqlClient 5.1 became generally available.
Finally, one exciting community ‘release’ is the Azure Data Tech Groups 2.0. A couple of years ago, we launched the Azure Data Community webpage, which provides support for user groups using Meetup. With the 2.0 release, we are not limiting to users of Meetup. If your user group was previously excluded, please check Rie Irish’s guidance on how to proceed (and welcome!!).
Until next time…
That’s it for now! Be sure to check back next month for the latest updates. We also release new videos on Thursdays at 9AM PT and new #MVPTuesday episodes on the last Tuesday of every month at 9AM PT at aka.ms/DataExposedyt. You can also find me on TikTok.
Having trouble keeping up? Be sure to follow us on twitter to get the latest updates on everything, @AzureSQL.
We hope to see you next time, on Data Exposed :)
--Anna and Marisa