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By | Gavin Clarke 24th January 2012 12:19

Microsoft names SQL Server 2012 launch date

Price increases likely

Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 will be officially launched on 7 March and likely come with a higher list price than older versions of the relational database.

Redmond released the date and announced a concurrent online event, featuring a day of speakers and over 30 technical sessions taking customers through the new database's features.

Until now, Microsoft has said only that SQL Server 2012 would be available in the first half of 2012.

SQL Sever 2012 will be available in three SKUs, but sees one old package phased out for a new set-up.

Gone is SQL Server Workgroup edition – which will be replaced by Business Intelligence edition. The BI edition will include all the capabilities of the Standard Edition, while Enterprise Edition will include all the features found in the BI version. You can read about the differences between the difference editions here.

When it comes to paying, Microsoft will only make BI edition available on a per-server and CAL basis. If you want BI by the core, you'll need to splash out on the Enterprise edition of the database, which – based on past experience – will be the most expensive version.

Microsoft has said here (PDF) that you'll likely pay more for SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition and BI Edition but tried to cushion that by explaining you'll benefit from new capabilities to deploy mission-critical databases. The company has not said how much more you'll pay.

What do you get for your money? For the BI fan, SQL Server 2012 includes tabular modelling, which means in-memory databases that support business intelligence analysis, while there's also a new interactive visualisation and reporting client. SQL Server 2012 is also being tuned to handle larger and more unstructured workloads, otherwise known as big data. Among the changes is the integration of the data-munching Hadoop framework with SQL Server 2012 at the expense of Microsoft's own Dryad. ®

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