SQL Server 2014 has been out for almost two years now but there is always a big lag between the time that a core database release becomes available and the time it is actually adopted. In spite of the fact that SQL Server 2014 has a been available for almost two years there are still a wide number of active SQL Server 2008 / R2 and SQL Server 2012 installations. The DBAs and database professionals running those older editions often have a number of important questions that they need to know about before considering a move to SQL Server 2014. Here are the most frequently asked questions that I’ve received about SQL Server 2014.
Q: Is the In-Memory OLTP Support available in the SQL Server 2014 Standard edition?
A: No. The new In-Memory OLTP feature is only found in the SQL Server 2014 Enterprise edition. It is not available in either the SQL Server 2014 Standard or Business Intelligence editions.
Q: Does the SQL Server 2014 Standard edition offer more memory than the previous versions?
A: Yes. In previous editions of SQL Server the Standard edition was limited to 64 GB. With the release of SQL Server 2014 the maximum memory that the SQL Server 2014 Standard edition can address has been bumped up to 128 GB – a substantial increase.
Q: Are backup compression and encryption supported in the SQL Server 2014 Standard edition?
A: Yes. Both backup compression and encryption are supported on all of the editions of SQL Server 2014 – including the SQL Server 2014 Standard edition.
Q: Are AlwaysOn Availability Groups supported in the SQL Server 2014 Standard edition?
A: No. AlwaysOn Availability Groups (AGs) are a great high availability and disaster recovery feature. However, they are only available in the SQL Server 2014 Enterprise edition. AlwaysOn AGs are not available in the SQL Server 2014 Standard or Business Intelligence editions. That said, The SQL Server 2014 Standard and Business Intelligence editions do support 2-node AlwaysOn Failover Cluster Instances (FCI) – essentially SQL Server clustering. In spite of the similar names AlwaysOn AGs and FCIs are different technologies. It is expected that SQL Server 2016 will support 2-node AlwaysOn AGs in the Standard edition.
Q: Do you have to license AlwaysOn Availability Group secondary replicas?
A: Not always. If the AlwaysOn AG replica is passive – meaning it is not used unless there is a failover then it does not need to have a SQL Server license. It does need to be covered by Software Assurance (SA). However, if you use the secondary replica for any active work including reporting or even backups then you need to have a SQL Server license for the replica.
Q: Can SQL Server 2014 run under Server Core?
A: Yes. All of the different SQL Server 2014 editions are supported under Windows Server Core for Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 or Windows Server 2012 / R2.
Q: Where is the Business Intelligence Development Studio (BIDS)? How do I develop Reporting Services, Integration Services or Analysis Services projects?
A: BIDS is no longer included with SQL Server 2014. Instead, you need to use SQL Server Data Tools – Business Intelligence (SSDT-BI) which is strangely absent from the SQL Server 2014 installation media. SSDT-BI can be found at the Microsoft Download Center.