SQL Server 2016 SP1 removes the editions’ programming feature limits!

Everything from Always Encrypted to XTP/In-memory for everybody!

These are just sublime news, there is no other way to put it:

With the Service Pack 1 for SQL Server 2016 released today, Microsoft puts an end to the programming-technical differences between the editions (LocalDB, Express, Standard, Web, Enterprise)!

As of today, EVERYONE who is already working on SQL Server 2016 can create In-Memory optimized tables, partition tables, use Columnstore Indexes and so forth.

And as if that weren’t enough, the SP1 itself also includes many more valuable features such as “Database Clones,” “CREATE OR ALTER” syntax, many new diagnosis improvements (Showplan, XEvents, DMVs, Errorlog) and more (read more).

Wow, just wow… the possibilities thus offered to customers are unbelievable. Gone are the days when you had to make sure not to deploy any Enterprise features such as Compression or Database level auditing on standard editions. Finally, there is the option to accelerate even small systems, which are still extremely latency-critical, with memory objects (assembly-line scenarios).

The In-Memory Revolution is now available to everybody!

Before you ask how, then, the editions will differ:

What will remain in place is that the larger editions simply support more hardware. The limits of 16 Cores and 128 GB RAM for the standard edition and even less for Express will remain the same. That is and remains key.

But I definitely need to think of a new line: In the past, I always used to say: “In order to decide whether a feature is Enterprise it suffices to know if it’s ‘cool’ (e.g. Database Snapshot) or ‘quick’ (e.g. Columnstore).”

As of today, the following applies: it is the size that makes the difference.

But before someone gets me wrong: There are definitely still features that remain exclusive to the Enterprise edition. The emphasis was on the programming features. Mere HA features such as multiple secondaries, and certain security features such as TDE, remain exclusive to the Enterprise edition. Some of it also remains limited in technical terms. For Change Data Capture, for example, you do not have an SQL agent in the Express edition. And of course, a Columnstore Index hardly makes sense if a table does not even contain 1 million rows.

But that shouldn’t cut down on the joy.

Here, you can download the Microsoft® SQL Server® 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1):


And here some more links about the changes with Service Pack 1:

What’s new in SQL Server 2016 SP1 for Reporting Services

SQL Server 2016 SP1 editions

Microsoft Changes Feature Support Between Editions in SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (Article by my good fellow Victor Isakov, MCM and MCA from Australia with nice background details)

Have fun with the SP1 and trying the newly available Features.

And if you now feel like reading isn’t enough but you would like to acquire in-depth knowledge or finally upgrade to the current SQL Server Version, you are in good hands with Sarpedon Quality Lab®.

Andreas Wolter

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