Future of SQL Server

  • I am becoming a little disconcerted by the lack of news about the next version of SQL Server as well as the continual bombardment of all things Azure from Microsoft. Microsoft is pushing Azure hard. The subscription model via the Cloud is the future. For Adobe customers it is already the present.

    Now, logically, I know that SQL Server will be supported until the latter end of the decade but having seen what happened to Office and so many other Microsoft products, I am wondering whether Azure is the writing on the wall for SQL Server. How soon will it be before Microsoft gives us the ultimatum of migrating to Azure or else?

    Am I being unduly paranoid?

  • This one is all about opinion, so, take with a grain of salt the size of a house.

    You're being a little bit paranoid. SQL Server is one of the most widely used data management platforms on the planet. Depending on the exact measurement, it's 1,2, or 3 in most measures. In short, it's not going anywhere any time soon. And by soon, I'd say, at least a decade, probably more like two. Noises are starting to come out from Microsoft about an update. If we look at the history, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, the progression is pretty clear. It's 2021. I'm guessing they're going to be ramping up a release very shortly.

    Also, the fact is, tons of stuff that are possible using the on-premises/VM version of SQL Server just simply are not possible within Azure SQL Database (as much as I love it) or Managed Instances (as much as I don't love it). Organizations who spend money and make Microsoft a profit, want to do those things with the data. So, Microsoft is going to cater to them.

    Will the emphasis remain on Azure first? Absolutely. No doubt. It's just too profitable to ignore.

    Will things become Azure only? Nope. Not for a very long time. Azure adoption is going to grow. If you don't work with, or have a good knowledge of, Azure now, I'd sure as heck get on that(unless you're only 3-5 years from retirement). However, I'm positive that SQL Server itself is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

    But, all opinion. I could most certainly be wrong and will not attempt to die on this hill should anyone disagree.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • Thanks for this, Grant. Given the push that Microsoft has made with Office 365, it seemed suddenly obvious that SQL Server was next.

     

  • Oh, I won't be surprised if they change the licensing model. But I'm positive that development on the product is going to continue. Each release puts another 10 years, minimum, on the life of the product. So even if development stops in ten years time, you've got 20 to exploit your knowledge & skill set.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood...
    Theodore Roosevelt

    The Scary DBA
    Author of: SQL Server 2017 Query Performance Tuning, 5th Edition and SQL Server Execution Plans, 3rd Edition
    Product Evangelist for Red Gate Software

  • To add to what Grant said, it could also be that there isn't much "new" to add.  I forget the version, but I think it was 2014 where a lot of people were saying that if you were on 2012, 2014 wasn't that big of a difference and to just wait for the next major release. Don't quote me on those version numbers though.

    Being on the "latest and greatest" version is all good and fun until you find a bug.  I'm not saying stick with 2008 R2 or something old like that; I do recommend staying on supported versions, I am just saying that you don't need to be on the "latest" version as soon as MS puts it out.

    On top of the above, I think there are a lot of companies that are not willing to go to the cloud.  As a DBA and a Developer, I know I wouldn't want to pay Azure prices for running a dev environment when I can run it locally on my own machine to do development on at no additional cost.

    My expectation (ie guess) is that some of the features currently working flawlessly in Azure will be migrated down to SQL Server 2021/2022.  And some of the slightly buggy features will appear in SQL Server 2021/2022 in a CU or SP once they get ironed out.

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