Due to a scheduling error by Steve (apologies), this piece if being re-scheduled for Mar 31, 2016.
SQL Sever 2016 is getting close to release. The updates are coming fast and furious, causing issues in some cases as many people look to test the new features in different environments. Personally, I'm struggling a bit to determine which of my environments to update and test, and which to skip. It's also hard to keep track of those items that work in newer environments, and those I need to keep working on old systems with older code.
We saw CTP 3.3 this year in January, with both RC0 and RC1 coming in March. I expect we will see an RTM soon, though it's possible we have more Release Candidates before then. I know there are still some bugs in RC1, so I'm hoping we get at least one more release to show that both the core platform, as well as SSMS, are stable and working well.
I know many of you won't be upgrading any production systems, and maybe not even development systems, anytime soon. However are you looking to work with the platform and understand how it's changed? I think SQL Server 2016 deserves a look, even if it's curiosity. There are quite a few changes and it's possible you'll find some things in there that may make an upgrade worthwhile.
Even if you don't find anything valuable for your organization, it's a neat release, with quite a few enhancements and additions. There are features you are just interesting and exciting to experiment with. Certainly there is plenty to learn as well, with the chance to see how new features, like temporal tables, work, or test the new T-SQL functions against your current code and see if you can beat them.
Looking at a new bit of software can be invigorating to your career, as you try to grow your knowledge and build new skills. Given that most of us perform work that requires thought, just exercising your brain with the SQL Server 2016 eval might enhance your thought processs and let you enjoy your job just a bit more.