Microsoft have today pushed two new versions of SQL Server.
First of all, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 is now available. This update to the 2008 R2 release addresses a wide range of bugs reported in SQL Server 2008 R2. It includes a cumulative update of all the updates released so far, as well as a few small improvements on top of that.
But the potentially more interesting release is the announcement of CTP 3 of the upcoming SQL Server Code Name “Denali” version of the product. Denali promises to be a serious overhaul of SQL server, and this release marks the third major version released to developers to test out the features and contribute back before the final availability.
This release includes a vast number of noteworthy features that anyone integrating with SQL Server will want to check out. This release includes the first outing of Project Apollo, a column store index which vastly improves join performance; AlwaysOn availability is now included, providing high availability combined with data protection policies; and new insight tools codenamed Project Crescent, giving end users rapid data exploration technology. A few other notable features include CDYNE integration to allow lookups of carriers, locations, area codes and time zones for phone numbers, and the Loqate module, providing address lookup and verification for 240 countries.
More information on both releases on the SQL server blog.