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2012 in Review

By Steve Jones,

It's the end of 2012, but not the end of the world. As I look back at this past year, I think it's been a great year for SQL Server and data professionals. The big news of the year was the release SQL Server 2012. This is a great step forward for the platform with a number of enhancements that both make our jobs easier, as well as challenge our skills. The addition of AlwaysOn provides a number of great new ways to scale out SQL Server as well as ensure high availability. Power View, columnstore indexes, and the BI Semantic Model allow for better BI applications, and who could applaud the undo/redo features in Integration Services. There are lots of great things in this new release for the technical staff, though the licensing changes might cause some companies to reconsider or delay their upgrade plans.

We had more opportunities to use SQL Server in new ways, many of them with the expansion of cloud services. Amazon added SQL Server to its RDS platform, allowing quick and easy deployment of SQL Server in the AWS cloud. SQL Azure lost its name, as it was folded into Windows Azure, but it was enhanced throughout the year with a number of releases.

SQL Server is still one of the most secure database platforms available, though it did require patching for a critical flaw in an ActiveX control. There have been fewer advisories and issues with SQL Server 2008 and later than any of the other RDBMS platforms. That's good news as security continues to be an ongoing challenge for many organizations. However the security of the platform doesn't mean that DBAs can relax. There has been no shortage of data loss in 2012, mainly though laptop loss or insider actions. Everyone should continue to be vigilant about security, auditing, and especially SQL Injection.

The positive side of 2012 were lots of events for SQL Server professionals. There were 79 SQL Saturday events in 2012. That's amazing to me and it's something Andy Warren and I never would have imagined when SQL Saturday #1 took place in Orlando in 2007. A lot of the success is due to Karla Landrum's work in helping organize the events. Many thanks and congrats to Karla for an amazing job.

I only attended 4 of these because I participated in the SQL in the City tour that Red Gate Software put on. We held 8 fantastic events in the US and UK this past year, and we will put on a few events next year as well. Grant Fritchey and I will also be visiting some SQL Saturdays in 2013, and I hope to see some of you there. Along with Connections, SQL Server Live, the PASS Summit, and a number of other free events, there's a lot of great training and knowledge being shared in the SQL Server community. If you've got pictures or blogs of your time at an event, please share them in the discussion.

Here at SQLServerCentral I had a few milestones as well. Our Stairway Series took off and we published over 120 articles on various topics. We crossed over 1.5 million registrations, and receive over a million unique visitors every month, which are fantastic milestones for us. ASKSSC continues to grow as well for those people that prefer a Q&A format rather than a discussion. Based on comments and emails, the site continues to help educate and inform many data professionals on a daily basis. I hope that you have found us to be a valuable resource in your job and I hope we can continue to do so in 2013. If you have suggestions, comments, or critiques, please feel free to share them with us.

Happy New Year and my best wishes to each of you.

Steve Jones


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