Microsoft announced today that the major development work behind SQL Server 2017 is now complete as they have ended the technical preview stage and have shifted to release candidates. The company has previously said that they expected this software to be available later this summer and it appears that they are still on-track to meet that public timeline.
As part of the development process, the company has released the first release candidate (RC) of the software that you can test out in your environment ahead of general availability to identify any potential conflicts or roadblocks to deployment. During the development of the platform, Microsoft released seven technology previews but now the focus is getting the software ready for the masses and removing as many bugs as possible before pushing the software out the door.
As a reminder, this release works for Windows and Linux and listed below are the key enhancements with RC1:
- SQL Server on Linux Active Directory integration – With RC1, SQL Server on Linux supports Active Directory Authentication, which enables domain-joined clients on either Windows or Linux to authenticate to SQL Server using their domain credentials and the Kerberos protocol.
- Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt data – SQL Server on Linux can use TLS to encrypt data that is transmitted across a network between a client application and an instance of SQL Server. SQL Server on Linux supports the following TLS protocols: TLS 1.2, 1.1, and 1.0.
- Machine Learning Services enhancements – In RC1, we add more model management capabilities for R Services on Windows Server, including External Library Management. The new release also supports Native Scoring.
- SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) – In addition to the enhancements to SSAS from previous CTPs of SQL Server 2017, RC1 adds additional Dynamic Management Views, enabling dependency analysis and reporting. See the Analysis Services blog for more information.
- SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) on Linux – The preview of SQL Server Integration Services on Linux now adds support for any Unicode ODBC driver, if it follows ODBC specifications. (ANSI ODBC driver is not supported.)
- SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) on Windows Server – RC1 adds support for SSIS scale out in highly available environments. Customers can now enable Always On for SSIS, setting up Windows Server failover clustering for the scale out master.
In addition to the release of the RC1 of SQL Server 2017, Microsoft has launched a new microsite to assist with the integration of SQL Server with their DevOps tasks.
As with any pre-release software, this type of application should only be deployed in test or dev environments as its stability and performance are not guaranteed.