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The next edition of Microsoft’s popular SQL Server database software will become available as a public preview this summer, Microsoft announced today at its enterprise-oriented Ignite conference.

“The next major release of Microsoft’s flagship database and analytics platform provides breakthrough performance for mission-critical applications and deeper insights on your data across on-premises and cloud,” Microsoft corporate vice president T.K. “Ranga” Rengarajan wrote in a blog post on the news.

The release will come with several new features, including encryption of data in motion and at rest and an integration with the R programming language, following Microsoft’s acquisition last year of R distribution provider Revolution Analytics.

SQL Server 2016 will also come with Stretch Database, a feature that allows companies to “stretch” certain data that isn’t frequently accessed into Microsoft’s growing Azure public cloud, Rengarajan wrote. And he said it will be possible to restore on-premises databases to Azure, too.


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Microsoft has been focusing on its hybrid cloud strategy lately as a way to distinguish itself from other major cloud providers, including Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Other Microsoft products announced at Ignite today, like Azure Stack and Operations Management Suite, demonstrate that.

But SQL Server has long been a mainstay in enterprise data centers — last year Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella said SQL Server is a $5 billion business, in terms of annual revenue — and the newest version is on the way.

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