Microsoft just unveiled new public previews for SQL Server 2016 and Azure Media Services

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Microsoft just unveiled new public previews for SQL 2016 and Azure Media Services. Earlier this month, Microsoft announced plans for SQL Server 2016 at their Ignite Conference in Chicago. During the announcement, Microsoft talked about some new features that would make their way into SQL Server 2016 including, Always Encrypted, Stretch Database, Enhancements to Hekaton memory technologies, and new database analytics integration. With a few more weeks under their belt, Microsoft is now able to add to their earlier SQL 2016 announcement with a bundle of additional features to today’s preview release.

Today’s public preview will give testers access to an engine that has been part of the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse, called Polybase. Polybase should make it easier for testers to administer relational data. Another addition tester will see in today’s release is access to Row-level security. Now testers can govern access to information without modifying applications. For testers looking forward to speed increases, this version also has Enhanced Hybrid Backup to Azure included. Now testers can quickly restore to SQL Server using Azure virtual machines. Other SQL Server 2016 enhancements include Temporal database support, Dynamic Masking, Enhanced server management and Query Data store. Microsoft is said to be planning to offer frequent updates to their CTP previews. A move like this matches well with Microsoft’s quickened developer pace across their products and service lines. Microsoft hasn’t committed to an official date yet, but a general 2016 time frame has been discussed for the SQL Server 2016 full release.

Alongside the SQL Server 2016 release, Microsoft is also announcing access to StorSimple 8000 series. StorSimple was initially released last summer to help IT environments reduce cost and simplify their storage solutions. Since then, StorSimple has been updated to include StorSimple deployments in Azure Government clouds as wells as support for AWS and OpenStack. The hybrid cloud storage solution now offers data migration tools for customers upgrading from 5000/7000 series, up to the 8000 series.

Microsoft also announced the availability of Azure Media Services Live Encoding for public preview. Last month at NAB, Media Services was revealed to be in a private preview. Today, Microsoft is ready to open it up to the public. Now testers can leverage the same live encoding technologies that were used to bring the world this year Super Bowl XLIX and the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. Lastly, Microsoft released SQL Server 2014 Service Pack 1, Microsoft Power BI Content Packs, System Center 2012 & R2, Configuration Manager Service Packs, and the Microsoft Intune May Service Update.