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Zein Marwan
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SQL Server 2016 Features and Benefits - Why You Should Upgrade Now

Download 2016 SQL Server

SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) developed by Microsoft. It is used to store, manage, and analyze data for various applications. SQL Server 2016 is the latest version of SQL Server that was released in June 2016. In this article, we will show you what SQL Server 2016 is, how to download it, and how to use it.

What is SQL Server 2016?

SQL Server 2016 is the most advanced and secure version of SQL Server ever. It offers many new and improved features that enhance performance, security, analytics, and cloud integration. Some of the key features of SQL Server 2016 are:

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SQL Server 2016 features

  • Query Store: This feature stores query texts, execution plans, and performance metrics within the database, allowing easy monitoring and troubleshooting of performance issues.

  • Polybase: This feature integrates SQL Server with external data in Hadoop or Azure Blob storage. You can import and export data as well as executing queries.

  • Stretch Database: This feature lets you dynamically, securely archive data from a local SQL Server database to an Azure SQL database in the cloud. SQL Server automatically queries both local and remote data in the linked databases.

  • JSON Support: This feature supports JSON imports, exports, parsing and storing. JSON is a popular data format for web and mobile applications.

  • Temporal Tables: These are history tables that record all data changes, complete with the date and time they occurred. They enable easy data auditing and analysis.

  • Always Encrypted: This feature protects data at rest and in motion, on-premises and in the cloud, with master keys sitting with the application, without application changes.

  • Dynamic Data Masking: This feature masks sensitive data from unauthorized users, while allowing authorized users to see the complete data.

  • Row Level Security: This feature restricts data access at the database engine level, so users see only what is relevant to them.

  • In-Memory OLTP: This feature improves transaction processing performance by storing tables in memory instead of disk. It also supports more data types and operations than before.

  • In-Database Advanced Analytics: This feature enables data analysis directly within the SQL Server database using R, the popular statistics language.

SQL Server 2016 benefits

By using SQL Server 2016, you can enjoy many benefits such as:

  • Faster performance: SQL Server 2016 delivers up to 30x faster transactions and more than 100x faster queries than disk-based relational databases.

  • Better security: SQL Server 2016 is the least vulnerable database for six years running in the NIST vulnerabilities database. It also provides new encryption and masking technologies to protect your data.

  • Richer insights: SQL Server 2016 enables you to perform advanced analytics on any type of data, from structured to unstructured, using built-in R Services and Polybase.

  • Lower cost: SQL Server 2016 offers a consistent platform and tooling for easier workload mobility between your datacenter, private cloud, or Microsoft Azure. You can also save up to five times compared to other self-service solutions with Power BI Report Server.

  • Simpler management: SQL Server 2016 provides a unified management experience across on-prem ises and the cloud, as well as new tools like Query Store and Temporal Tables to simplify performance tuning and data management.

How to download SQL Server 2016?

If you want to download SQL Server 2016, you need to choose the edition that suits your needs, obtain the installation media, and follow the installation steps.

SQL Server 2016 editions

SQL Server 2016 comes in different editions that vary in features, scalability, and pricing. The main editions are:

  • Enterprise: This is the most comprehensive and expensive edition, designed for mission-critical applications and large-scale data warehousing. It supports unlimited cores, memory, and database size, as well as advanced features like Always On Availability Groups, In-Memory OLTP, and In-Database Advanced Analytics.

  • Standard: This is a more affordable edition, suitable for most business applications and data marts. It supports up to 24 cores, 128 GB of memory, and 524 PB of database size, as well as basic features like Backup Compression, Basic Availability Groups, and Row Level Security.

  • Express: This is a free edition, ideal for learning and developing small-scale applications. It supports up to 4 cores, 1 GB of memory, and 10 GB of database size, as well as essential features like Database Engine, SQL Server Management Studio, and LocalDB.

  • Developer: This is also a free edition, but for non-production use only. It has the same features as the Enterprise edition, but it is licensed for development and testing purposes only.

SQL Server 2016 installation media

You can obtain the installation media for SQL Server 2016 in different ways:

  • Download from Microsoft: You can download the ISO or CAB files from the Microsoft website. You will need a valid product key or a free trial registration to proceed with the download.

  • Order from Microsoft: You can order a DVD or USB drive from the Microsoft store. You will need to pay a shipping fee and wait for the delivery.

  • Use an existing media: You can use an existing DVD or USB drive that contains the SQL Server 2016 installation files. You will need to make sure that the media matches the edition and language that you want to install.

SQL Server 2016 installation steps

Once you have the installation media, you can follow these steps to install SQL Server 2016:

  • Run the setup program: Insert the DVD or USB drive into your computer and run the setup.exe file. Alternatively, you can mount the ISO file or extract the CAB file and run the setup.exe file from there.

  • Select the installation type: Choose between a new SQL Server stand-alone installation or an upgrade from an earlier version. You can also add features to an existing instance or perform other maintenance tasks.

  • Enter the product key or specify a free edition: Enter the product key that came with your purchase or select a free edition (Express or Developer) if you are eligible.

  • Accept the license terms and privacy statement: Read and accept the license terms and privacy statement to continue with the installation.

  • Select the features to install: Choose which features you want to install, such as Database Engine, Analysis Services, Reporting Services, Integration Services, etc. You can also specify the installation location and disk space requirements.

  • Configure the instance name and ID: Specify a name and ID for your SQL Server instance. You can use the default name (MSSQLSERVER) or create a custom one. You can also install multiple instances on the same computer.

  • Configure the server roles and accounts: Assign server roles (such as sysadmin) and service accounts (such as NT Service\MSSQLSERVER) for your SQL Server instance. You can use the default values or change them according to your preferences.

  • Configure the database engine settings: Configure settings such as authentication mode (Windows or mixed), data directories (where to store your databases), tempdb configuration (how to optimize your tempdb), etc.

  • Configure other features settings: Configure settings for other features that you have selected to install, such as Analysis Services (multidimensional or tabular mode), Reporting Services (native or integrated mode), Integration Services (catalog database), etc.

  • Ready to install: Review the summary of your installation choices and click Install to start the installation process. You can monitor the progress and status of the installation on the screen.

  • Complete the installation: Once the installation is finished, you can view the installation report and close the setup program. You can also launch SQL Server Management Studio to connect to your SQL Server instance and start using it.

How to use SQL Server 2016?

After you have installed SQL Server 2016, you can use various tools and resources to learn how to use it and get the most out of it.

SQL Server 2016 tools

SQL Server 2016 provides several tools that help you manage, develop, and analyze your data. Some of the main tools are:

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