I'm flying home this morning from the PASS Summit. I won't actually see the keynote until later, and I've been busy with various other work and personal tasks, so I'm not sure what they'll talk about, but I have a few thoughts that I think will be covered. We'll see if I'm right in a few hours.
First, I think SQL Server 2019 will RTM today, both at the PASS Summit and at the Ignite conference taking place in Orlando. That's if it hasn't happened already. Ignite has Keynotes Monday and Tuesday, and it's entirely possible those announcements will come there first, with details at PASS. I'm writing this the week before, in advance of the event, but I'm fairly confident we'll see SQL Server launched, though I'm not necessarily confident all the SQL Server 2019 features will release.
There will be a continued push for Managed Instances, and other IaaS, lift and shift movement of more instances to either the Azure cloud, or some sort of hybrid cloud. I'm waiting for Azure Stack to start including the ability to provision, manage, and migrate instances from on-premises data center to the cloud, and I am guessing that's a bit of tech we may see this year.
In line with that, the modernization of your platform, with a push to try and get companies to leave 2008/R2 and move to 2017 (at least) or 2019 will be a theme. Lots of instances are on this old tech, and while the more modern versions are more powerful and stable, this is also a place where MS can make a lot of revenue, both from SQL and Windows. Most of those older versions likely need an OS upgrade as well. Perhaps there will be some discounts and bundling to convince organizations to move.
The last theme that I expect to see highlighted is one that's both a consolidation and an expansion one. Containers and Polybase, the latter underpinning Big Data Clusters are going to be big. I also think containers are the future, and SQL Server 2019 is where Microsoft starts to really push them, not just for big data, but also for regular OLTP stuff. Containers give me a contained instance I can provision pre-configured, which is something that dramatically lowers the effort of infrastructure work. Polybase lets me query data outside of my own instance, which makes a lot of sense if each instance is smaller inside a container.
Hopefully the keynote is interesting and the demos exciting. I'll be watching later tonight to try and see if anything I guessed came true.