Microsoft launches SQL 2014 and announces Big Data strategy

At a customer event in San Francisco, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella showcased innovations available today with the launch of SQL Server 2014, the newest version of the company’’ database, and outlined the company’s path to deliver a platform for ambient intelligence.

Nadella stressed the importance of a data culture — one that encourages curiosity, action and experimentation — for everyone and every organization. Microsoft also shared the results of new IDC research that shows companies that take a comprehensive approach to data stand to realize an additional 60 percent return on their data assets — a worldwide opportunity of $1.6 trillion.

“The era of ambient intelligence has begun, and we are delivering a platform that allows companies of any size to create a data culture and ensure insights reach every individual in every organization,” Nadella said.

SQL Server 2014 delivers real-time performance with built-in in-memory technology and public cloud scale and disaster recovery with Microsoft Azure.

The company also gave a limited public preview of the Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service. This new Azure service helps customers embrace the Internet of Things and securely connect to, manage and capture machine-generated data from sensors and devices, regardless of operating system.

Microsoft also announced the general availability of the Analytics Platform System (APS). APS combines the best of Microsoft’s SQL Server database and Hadoop technology in one low-cost offering that delivers “big data in a box.”

These new solutions build on 12 months of innovation — including Power BI for Office 365, a cloud-based, self-service business intelligence solution with groundbreaking natural language capability; Azure HDInsight for elastic Hadoop in the cloud; PolyBase to bring structured and unstructured data together in a data warehouse appliance; and Power Query for Excel, which makes it easier for people to discover data — to deliver the most comprehensive data platform with real-time performance built into everything.

Data is currency for business. New research commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by IDC estimates that organizations could realize a “data dividend” of roughly $1.6 trillion in additional revenue, lower costs and improved productivity over the next four years by putting in place a holistic approach to data that spans datasets, analytics and more. The research was conducted among more than 2,000 mid-sized and large organizations in 20 countries worldwide.

“Customers who take a comprehensive approach to their data projects realize a higher data dividend than customers who take a point-by-point approach,” said Dan Vesset, program vice president, Business Analytics and Big Data, at IDC. “This new research shows that by combining diverse data sets, new analytics and insights to more people — at the right time — businesses worldwide can tap into a more than trillion-dollar opportunity over the next four years.”

Customers such as Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Condé Nast, Edgenet Inc., KUKA systems GmbH, NASDAQ, telent, Tesla Motors Inc., Virginia Tech and Xerox Corp. are putting Microsoft’s platform to work, driving real business results and increasing their data dividend.