Sometimes I get asked this question, “What is SQL Server CTP edition?”

Many people outside Microsoft think of a CTP as a “beta” release, we think of a CTP as a “Release Candidate” quality release with the ability to change the design and improve the test suite. The CTP version of the product has been released though. CTP versions are Community Technology Preview versions and are released to early adopters to obtain beta level feedback on the product. The CTP version of the SQL Server 2014 has some limitations compared to announced set of features. Noteworthy product features as announced include the following:

  • The SQL Server 2014 enhances mission-critical support for the enterprise applications. These cover extended in-memory processing capabilities, including in-memory OLTP, higher performance, increased availability and manageability of the mission-critical  applications. Enhancements in query processing helps.
  • SQL Server 2014 backup solutions in the cloud are through Microsoft’s Azure service; business continuity solutions in case of disasters are offered.
  • Enhancements in scalability and security are available on the SQL Server 2014 version.
  • Higher availability is ensured in the product.
  • A performance increase of 10 to 50 times of your existing applications can be expected.
  • Big data support is built-in and helps get insight into big and small data, including un-structured ones.
  • Self service BI tools introduced in 2012 version are enhanced in The SQL Server 2014 for quicker business intelligence gathering.
  • A complete BI solution is offered that lets you scale the model and secure it at the same time. You could easily obtain quality and accuracy of your BI truths. Power Query and Power Map features in Excel processing help enhance the BI capabilities in SQL Server 2014.
  • The SQL Server 2014 also offers means of implementing a hybrid on-premises and cloud solutions for the most optimal IT solutions.

Limitations of SQL Server CTP version

Some of the limitations indicated for the CTP version of the SQL Server 2014 are listed below.

  • The SQL Server 2014 CTP will not be supported by Microsoft’s customer service. Support from the community is all that is available.
  • This version is 64 bit only for the time being.
  • This SQL Server 2014 CTP is only for evaluation and should not be used in production environment. In fact, it is suggested that the software should be installed in a clean machine.
  • SQL Server 2014 CTP will not support upgrade from earlier releases or work side by side with earlier versions, including the latest 2012 version. Visual studio, SQL Server data tools and application framework too will not work with this CTP release.
  • SQL Server Management Studio that is shipped with the product should only be used to manage the database system.
  • The Azure virtual machine software can be used for development and testing. Performance testing cannot be supported.

Downloading of the product and installation is easy. There is only one downloadable package at the site so simply download and install it. The installation is straightforward too. If you are from the early adopter community, this will give you an opportunity to get a good feel of the SQL Server 2014 early on. By the time the production version comes along, you could be completely ready for moving your production applications to the new platform that is faster, more secure and has higher availability.

SQL 2014 Relevant Links:

What is Community Technology Preview (CTP)

Ms SQL 2014 CTP2

Download SQL Server 2014

SQL Server 2012 Tutorial