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Microsoft offers free SQL Server 2016 licenses to Oracle users

Microsoft has launched the SQL Server 2016 in the Philippines, offering free licenses to Oracle users, as long as they subscribe to Microsoft’s Software Assurance program before June 30. The offering also includes free migration assistance, but will only cover a limited number of applications.  

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The new database also allows SQL Server administrators to “stretch” a database table onto the Azure cloud, so their companies won’t have to worry about buying extra storage space. Microsoft says the Stretch Database feature is transparent to your application, and the trickle of data to Azure can be paused and restarted without downtime.

For those worried about the security of extending their data into the cloud, the server, by default, encrypts all data and all queries whether it’s stored on-premise or “stretched” to the cloud. The encrypted data will appear as gibberish without the encryption key, thus preventing cybercriminals from breaking into the database, according to Microsoft.

SQL Server 2016 is also capable of in-depth data analysis. Users will now be able to mix transaction processing and analysis jobs. In the past, a company’s database system was only used to record transactions. Mission critical transactional applications needed to be built next to them in order to utilize the necessary information stored in them.

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“In SQL 2016, we have brought the ability to analyze data at incredible speed into the transactional database so you can do mission-critical transactional processing as well as mission-critical intelligent analytical processing,” explains Herns Hermida, Business Group Lead for Group and Enterprise at Microsoft Philippines.

To support the growing number of enterprises embracing a mobile environment, Microsoft’s SQL Server Reporting Services 2016 lets users to assess reports and data insights through practically any device. This end-to-end mobile business intelligence feature offers a modernized experience for paginated reports and updated tools as well as new capabilities to more “easily design stunning documents.” Microsoft says that in the coming months, new mobile BI capabilities will be added to Reporting Services, allowing users to create responsive, interactive BI reports optimized for mobile devices.

Open Source

In a sign that it’s committed to open source, Microsoft has incorporated the popular R programming language into SQL Server. An open source project, R is a popular programming language for statistical computing and predictive analytics. Last year, Microsoft Revolution Analytics, a commercial provider of software and services for the R programming language, in its desire to help use the power of R and data science to unlock insights with advanced analytics.

Furthering its commitment to become a cross-platform solution provider, Microsoft plans to have SQL Server available for Linux by the middle of next year.

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Total Cost of Ownership

Comparing the total cost of ownership between SQL Server 2016, with “everything built-in,” with a comparative deployment of Oracle’s offerings, Hermida says the SQL Server 2016’s total cost of ownership is US$320,000 versus Oracle’s TCO of $3,745,000.

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New Data Culture

SQL Server 2016 comes at a time when most businesses recognize the importance of having an organization that is data-driven.

The first ever Asia Data Culture Study 2016 released by Microsoft shows that Philippine companies are embracing the “data culture” to boost operational efficiency, improve business continuity, improve processes, give management visibility of performance, and improve customer satisfaction and retention.

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The top 5 data capabilities businesses are looking for are real-time analytics, Big Data analytics, data visualization, predictive analytics, and Internet of Things.

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