The Five Main SQL Server database trends to be prepared for in 2018

While DBAs usually aren’t first in line to embrace the cloud, the benefits of doing so continue to grow, and the barriers to adoption continue to shrink. Keeping up with Azure SQL Database and the related cloud data management services is becoming more important than ever.


AI-infused databases. There’s no doubt that AI is now the hottest buzzword in IT. It seems like almost every IT product is now suddenly AI-enabled, and SQL Server is no exception. In an April 2017 blog post, Joseph Sirosh, now corporate vice president in charge of Microsoft’s cloud AI platform group, touted SQL Server as “the first RDBMS [relational database management system] with built-in AI.”


What does built-in AI for an RDBMS really mean? In essence, Microsoft is referring to the fact that AI functionality provided by the Machine Learning Services component of SQL Server 2017 enables users to incorporate machine learning and AI libraries written in R or Python into routines that can run on SQL Server systems; this enables analytics applications to be executed where the data is hosted rather than needing to first surface it to another application layer. SQL Server DBAs and developers need to understand how these AI design patterns can work with the database platform.


SQL Server on Linux and in containers. Clearly, two of the biggest changes with SQL Server 2017 are its support for Linux and Docker containers, both of which could have a big impact on future database trends. The SQL Server 2017 release on Linux has proven to be a high-performing platform, already having set some TPC benchmark records.


While the addition of Linux support opens up SQL Server for open source implementations, it also means that SQL Server DBAs who once only needed to deal with Windows may now need to get some basic Linux skills under their belts.