Close on the heels of the release of the Windows 8 consumer preview comes Microsoft’s announcement of the release of Microsoft SQL Server 2012 on Mar. 6, 2012.

Those who want to test SQL Server 2012 can download a “fully functional” trial version of the software that will expire automatically after six months. Those who are already sold on it can get a fully licensed version whenever they want.

So, what does SQL Server 2012 have to offer? According to Microsoft, it can

  • “Deliver required uptime and data protection with AlwaysOn
    • Gain breakthrough and predictable performance and enable rapid data discovery for deeper insights across an organisation with ColumnStore Index
    • Help enable security and compliance with new user-defined roles and default schema for groups
    • Ensure more credible, consistent data with SSIS improvements, a master data services add-in for Excel and new data quality services
    • Optimize IT and developer productivity across server and cloud with Data-tier Application Component (DAC) parity with SQL Azure and SQL Server Data Tools for a unified development experience across database, business intelligence and cloud functions”

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 won’t work with every operating system, of course. It supports Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008 Service Pack 2 and Windows Vista Service Pack 2. Computers with 32-bit systems must have Intel or a compatible 1GHz or faster processor. Those with 64-bit systems must have a 1.4 GHz or faster processor. A minimum of 1GB of RAM and 2.2 GB of available hard disk space are also required.

Small-business owners or IT professionals who are interested in learning more can do so here.

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