Microsoft unveils SQL Server 2022, but private preview only for now

Microsoft has announced a preview of SQL Server 2022, the next release of its database server platform. Key features look set to be closer integration with Azure for disaster recovery and analytics, while there are also improvements to the core performance features of the database engine.

The preview of SQL Server 2022 was announced at Microsoft’s Ignite 2021 conference as a private preview only. However, the SQL Server engineering team is seeking select customers and partners to apply to join the SQL Server 2022 Early Adoption Program (EAP) and help provide it with feedback about the usability and stability of new features before general availability.

Core performance in SQL Server 2022 is being enhanced through improvements to its built-in query intelligence to optimise queries automatically. Intelligent Query Processing has been expanded to address issues such as when a cached plan for a parameterised query is not optimal for subsequent parameter values. A new Parameter Sensitive Plan optimisation feature will automatically generate multiple active cached plans to cover different data sizes based on the provided runtime parameter values.

Another boost comes though Query Store, which adds support for read replicas and enables query hints to improve performance.

For security, a new capability called SQL Server Ledger is available that uses blockchain technology to provide an immutable ledger of transactions — effectively an audit trail that cannot be altered.

One of the Azure features Microsoft is pushing is new support for failover from SQL Server 2022 to an Azure SQL Managed Instance running in the cloud. According to Microsoft, this works by using a built-in Distributed Availability Group (DAG) to replicate data to an already deployed Azure SQL Managed Instance operating as a DR replica site. This apparently requires minimal configuration, thanks to a new Azure SQL Managed Instance link capability.

Another Azure tie-in is with the Azure Synapse Analytics service. Azure Synapse Link for SQL Server 2022 provides automatic change feeds that capture changes within SQL Server and feed those into Azure Synapse Analytics. This avoids the need for users to set up and operate an ETL pipeline, which is otherwise required to get data from a data store into Synapse.

Microsoft also plans to link SQL Server 2022 with its recently launched Azure Purview data governance service. This will allow Purview to scan a customer’s on-premises SQL Server to capture metadata, as well as set up and control specific access rights to SQL Server.

More details on what to expect in SQL Server 2022 are available on the Microsoft SQL Server Blog or in a Microsoft video on the new capabilities.