Microsoft SQL Server 2016 is a relational database management system (DBMS) for Windows platforms that can be used for building, deploying and managing applications located on premises or in the cloud.

The latest version, SQL Server 2016, was released in June 2016. It provides a bevy of new and improved capabilities, including:

  • A new stretch database feature, which can be used to store some data on premises and send infrequently used data to Microsoft's Azure cloud. Applications can access all data, regardless of where it's stored.
  • The Always Encrypted feature makes it possible to encrypt data at rest and in memory at the column level.
  • Polybase, which integrates SQL Server with Hadoop's Distributed File System and enables Hadoop data to be queried with SQL and joined with native relational data.
  • In-database advanced analytics provides the capability to incorporate the R programming language into SQL Server applications by wrapping it in stored procedures.
  • Dynamic data masking can be used to obfuscate data, protecting actual data values from unauthorized personnel for regulatory and compliance purposes.
  • Support for temporal data enables automatic tracking of historical changes to data over time.

Other features include built-in JavaScript Object Notation support, as well as improvements to Microsoft's Hekaton in-memory capabilities. This latest version also provides a new storage format, row-level security and Transact-SQL improvements for memory-optimized tables.