Satya Slips a SQL Server Standard Secret?

SQL Server

Everybody wants to know the next SQL Server release date, pricing, and feature lists, but anybody who knows those facts is bound by non-disclosure agreement and can’t say it publicly. Every now and then, though, we get lucky and someone from Microsoft slips up. That’s why I pay particular attention to Microsoft interviews as we approach release dates.

Microsoft’s perhaps-next-CEO new CEO Satya Nadella sat down for an interview with Gigaom. It included this interesting line:

…everybody who buys a SQL server, in fact in this release, gets an always-on secondary in Azure.

Satya Nadella
Satya Nadella

Well isn’t that special? Satya would be the guy to know, too – he used to run the Server and Tools group (which includes SQL Server), and he’s since been promoted to Cloud and Enterprise (which includes both SQL Server and Azure).

Will SQL Server 2014 Standard Include AlwaysOn AGs?

Right now, SQL 2012 only offers AlwaysOn Availability Groups in the expensive Enterprise Edition. 2012 Standard Edition’s closest HA/DR feature in Standard Edition is database mirroring, but that’s listed on the Walking Dead Deprecated Features List.

But what if Standard Edition includes a crippled AlwaysOn AG? Currently, SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition includes a crippled version of database mirroring that only offers synchronous replication, not asynchronous. It’s less desirable for many customers due to the transaction slowdowns if you have to commit at both servers before a transaction is considered committed. Microsoft could treat Standard AGs the same way – only offering the less-desirable version in Standard.

Standard’s AlwaysOn AGs could also be limited in numbers. While 2014 Enterprise will offer up to 8 readable replicas, perhaps Satya’s “an always-on secondary” means Standard gets exactly one secondary.

Satya could even mean that only an Azure-based replica is included – not an on-premise one. This would be an interesting turn of events because it would require vendor lock-in to just Microsoft’s cloud rather than Amazon’s or a colo vendor.

What Did Satya Mean by “Gets an AlwaysOn Secondary”?

Could he mean that Microsoft is really willing to include the AlwaysOn virtual machine? Like you get some kind of licensing key that unlocks one free Azure VM running SQL Server 2014, and an easy way to set up HA/DR between your on-premise SQL Server and your new free virtual machine?

This would be revolutionary because Microsoft would be seen as a real vendor partner to SQL Server users. Instead of buying expensive hardware and data center space to protect your SQL Servers, you could just rely on Microsoft’s cloud.

At first glance, this would look like Microsoft going into competition with server vendors like Dell, HP, and IBM Lenovo, plus competing with cloud vendors and data centers like Amazon and Rackspace. But hey, that’s exactly what Microsoft has been doing lately – going directly into competition with vendors that used to be partners. The Surface competes with laptop partners, and the Nokia deal competes with Windows Phone partners. This could just be the next step, especially given another Satya quote in the interview:

So one of the things is, I have an always-on database, where is it running? The always on database is kind of on your private cloud and kind of on Azure and so the distinction even goes away.

If Microsoft can move your database into their cloud, they stand to sell more virtual machines and services. Maybe your database’s disaster recovery is becoming Microsoft’s loss leader. I’d love this, because we all need to do a better job of protecting our databases from disaster.

Or DID Gigaom Misquote Satya?

Maybe Satya said “Everybody who buys SQL Server Enterprise Edition gets an AlwaysOn Secondary in Azure.” After all, in this one quote, Gigaom managed to mis-capitalize both SQL Server and AlwaysOn. It’s not inconceivable that the quote was butchered.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Stephen O'Leary
    February 10, 2014 3:16 pm

    Looks like we don’t have too long to wait ’till release day as apparently CTP2 expires in March and I noticed this appear at the bottom of the SQL Server certifications page on “In March 2014, the MCSE: Data Platform (464/465) and MCSE: Business Intelligence (466/467) exams will be appropriately updated with SQL Server 2014 topics. “

  • What is meant by SQL Server 2014 CTP2 expires on March 31, 2014? Will we still be able to test SQL Server 2014 CTP2 after that date or does the SQL Server engine stop working?


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