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SQL Server 2008 R2: What's New

With the May 2010 release of SQL Server 2008 R2, many database professionals wondered why Microsoft didn’t increment the product’s name to SQL Server 2010. Indeed, there is a quite a bit of new functionality in this latest release of SQL Server which, among other things, allows advanced interaction with Office 2010. 

Here’s the rundown on some of the new features available in SQL Server 2008 R2:

  • PowerPivot for Office 2010 allows you to work with large amounts of data in Excel by interacting directly with a SQL Server 2008 R2-backed SharePoint 2010 installation.
  • SQL Server Express has been upgraded to allow databases of up to 10GB in size (from a prior 4GB limit).
  • SQL Server Enterprise Edition now supports only 8 CPUs.
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 sysprep utility allows you to image a stand-alone instance of SQL Server for replicating installations.
  • Database mirroring has been enhanced to improve performance and allow automatic recovery from corrupted pages.
  • On-disk compression is now available for tables, indexes and indexed views, conserving disk space for infrequently used data.
  • Backup compression reduces the size of backups by up to 60%
  • The sparse column format is now available and optimizes storage for columns that contain at least 20% NULL values.
  • The new wide table format supports up to 30,000 columns.
  • Multiserver administration technology allows you to collect information and manage multiple servers in a central location.

Additionally, there are changes to the editions and pricing for SQL Server 2008 R2. You’ll want to be sure to review that information before deciding whether an upgrade is appropriate for your environment. 

Is an upgrade to SQL Server 2008 R2 appropriate for your enterprise? The answer will depend upon whether you need these features or are interested in those offered by the new Parallel Data Warehouse edition. If that’s the case, or you’re upgrading from SQL Server 2005, this may be the right time to pull the trigger on an upgrade. Otherwise, you may wish to sit this one out.

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