SQL Server 2012 will be released soon. I have no idea of the exact date, though I suspect a peek at the SQL Server developers' vacation schedule in Redmond might provide some clue. The announcement last year was a first half of 2012, so I do expect to see the product RTM sometime between now and July 1.
One of the highly anticipated features in SQL Server 2012 is the Always On feature, which will dramatically increase the ease with which we can build databases that can not only tolerate hardware failures, but be deployed (physically) further apart, and with more flexibility in how backups can be taken. If you haven't read about Always On, I'd urge you to start looking at this feature and see if it's something that can help your company.
Unlike Database Mirroring in SQL Server 2008 R2, which is limited to one secondary database, Always On will allow us to have multiple secondaries. The current mirror databases are unreadable, unless you count the kludgy database snapshot feature. In SQL Server 2012, however, we can actually use the secondary databases to query, providing some limited scale out capabilities. I think that's fantastic, and it's a large step forward for the SQL Server platform. I'm wondering if your company feels the same way.
Will the read only secondaries available in SQL Server 2012 convince your company to upgrade?
There are lots of other features in SQL Server 2012, some great advances in other parts of the platform that might be worth upgrading for, but I regularly see people struggling with scale issues. With the changes in licensing as well, these new scalability features are worth examining, and I'm wondering how important they are for your business. Important enough to justify the price of an upgrade? Let us know today.
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