Microsoft announced CTP 3.2 for SQL Server 2019 just a few days ago, but many people working with SQL Server don’t care about this. I run into people at user group meetings and SQL Saturdays who are stuck supporting versions as old as SQL Server 2000, and SQL Server 2008 R2 is still prevalent. I’m happy that most people report that they are running SQL Server 2012 and later when I ask during my presentations.
In my job as editor of Simple-Talk, I must keep up with the news in the data platform space, but most people are already focused on their current systems, and they don’t have time to pay attention to a version that they won’t be using in the near future. I get that. I remember those days as a DBA when keeping my servers stable, patched, secure, and performing well was enough to fill my time.
I do think it’s important to stay aware of the latest and greatest developments, though, for a couple of reasons, even if it’s just reading articles or attending sessions. First, you may think that you know what versions of SQL Server you’ll be supporting next year or even next month, but things change. You could unexpectedly be looking for a new position in a year, or maybe you’ll be supporting some new software that requires a newer version at your current job. Another reason is to make sure that you are aware of features that could help your current environment. You might be missing out on innovations such as Query Store, Columnstore Indexes, Machine Learning Services, and new DMVs and functions that could help you today. Most of the publicity about the new features happens when they’re released, not necessarily when you need to know about them. Luckily, the content is always available if you know what to search for.
While keeping up with the latest version of on-premises SQL Server can be daunting, it’s even more difficult if you try to learn about so many other options such as running SQL Server in containers or on Linux, Azure SQL Database, and Managed Instances. If you haven’t noticed, SQL Server isn’t the only database game in town for Microsoft, anymore. For specific workloads, maybe Cosmos DB or PostgreSQL would be a better fit.
I suspect that SQL Server 2019 will be available soon (no inside info here) just because the release notes for 3.2 don’t mention any database engine changes. In the meantime, I’ll be checking out some of the cool new performance features like Table Variable Deferred Compilation and Batch Mode on Rowstore. I encourage you to find something about SQL Server 2019 that also sparks your interest so you'll be ready "just in case!"