The RDBMS product offering of Microsoft for the enterprise and desktop is the MSSQL Server. Since its first appearance as a product for the PS/2+OS/2 environment in the late eighties, it has evolved through several different versions. These versions have been released roughly at a 2 year interval. The very first product was a joint effort of Aston Tate and Sybase along with Microsoft. The MSSQL Server is the latest version until the general release of the version 2016 happens. The community technology preview product version of the 2016 upgrade has already been released. The SQL Server is a product completely owned by Microsoft.
By 2005 version, all the code owned by the other two companies has been replaced with Microsoft’s own efforts. The Microsoft SQL Server (MSSQL) grew from this codebase via the 2008, 2008 R2 (appeared in 2010) and the 2012 versions. With each of these releases Microsoft kept adding features. A few were dropped that were found to be not useful anymore. MSSQL Server adds features in keeping with the same tradition. The SQL Server 2014 builds on the feature set of the 2012 version. By this time the product was supporting 64 bit environment, support for XML and multimedia data types and many unstructured data through the file stream data type. The latest SQL Server is equipped for business intelligence and analytics support needed by businesses. Deriving business intelligence (BI) predictive and prescriptive analysis, often, up to 80% of the data could be unstructured. In memory operations, that has been built-in by now, is useful in carrying out BI analyses quickly enough.
While you could load small tables into memory in many earlier versions, with sql server 2014 lets you handle complete tables in memory. One can utilize a SSD buffer pool extension feature that can speed up the disk based SQL Server applications. The Microsoft SQL Server also offers AlwaysOn feature. With this feature, high availability of data bases and easy disaster recovery are possible quite easily. This feature of the SQL server 2014 database mirroring is possible, making it very simple for database fail-over Availability groups offered by this feature increases the availability of databases for a set of users. Through the availability groups a failover environment for a group of users could be created. Availability groups help handle failovers together. Failover actions could be automatic, manual or a forced manual failover in the SQL Server. These AlwaysOn features help meet the needs of the AlwaysOn business and the need for quick turnaround of Bi data.
Like all the other server products, MSSQL Server too comes in several versions. The free Express version of the SQL Server provides the opportunity to users to get familiar with the tool. The Express version has two other versions that offer features in addition to the standard limited set of features available for the Express edition. One of these SQL server 2014 Express versions is SQL Server Express with Tools, whereas the other is with advanced services. The tools offered include the basic management studio. The advanced services include full-text search and reporting services.