What's new in SQL Server 2012 - Part 1: Relational Databases

Training code

Upcoming sessions

Learning Goals

The new SQL Server 2012 contains many improvements as well as complete new features in administration, development as well as the business intelligence functionality. This course presents you with the new features and improved functionality in the relational engine. The many hands-on labs allow you to familiarize yourself with all the new functionality.

Target audience

This course is intended for developers and administrators who consider an upgrade to SQL Server 2012.


The course requires participants to have significant hands-on experience with SQL Server 2008 or SQL Server 2008 R2, as well as a good knowledge of T-SQL.

Course Outline

What’s new for Developers

  • FileTables extend the Filestream technology and make it possible to store a hierarchy of files and documents in special SQL Server tables, yet programmatically access them as if they are on the file system, transactional or non-transactional.
  • SQL Server Developer Tools (Project Juneau) is a Visual Studio plugin which offers rich database development tools, including intellisence, integration with entity framework, both online and offline development, …
  • Full Text improvements: Statistical Semantic Search allows finding similar documents and detecting key phrases, as well as common key phrases between two documents, Property search allows searching the meta-data of e.g. office documents, as well as additional other improvements.
  • Enhanced debugging in SSMS: supports SQL Server 2005 and later, breakpoint conditions, hit counts, breakpoint filters, watch and quick watch windows, tooltip inspection,…
  • ColumnStore indexes store data column-by-column instead of row-by-row, which can greatly improve query performance and memory use, especially for data-warehouse type of queries
  • Snippets: both code snippets and Surround-with snippets are supported.
  • UTF-16 Collations
  • Order BY clause supports paging
  • Sequence object generates subsequent numbers, unrelated to a particular table
  • Geometry and Geography improvement: SQL Server now supports circular arc, extending the list of methods supported on these data types. Also, full globe geography objects are supported
  • THROW allows throwing and rethrowing exceptions for the try-catch blocks.
  • New T-SQL functions for type conversion, date and time, string manipulation, IIF and CHOOSE, as well as new analytical functions (LEAD, LAG, …)
  • SQL Express LocalDB support.
  • Miscellaneous: improved OVER function, more partitioning, online index rebuilds on blobs

What’s new for Administrators

  • Contained databases simplify migrating databases from one server to another by keeping their users decoupled from server logins.
  • Improved GUI for Point-In-Time restore and page restore.
  • Improved Data-tier Applications: supports schema and data, for more database objects.
  • PowerShell 2.0 support and extra cmdlets for backup and restore
  • Database engine tuning advisor supports query plan cache as workload
  • Additional and Improved Dynamic Management Views
  • AlwaysOn Failover clusters: clustering without shared storage, but using data replication: disaster recovery + high availability. Also improved failure detection, results in more flexible failover policies.
  • AlwaysOn Availability groups: Allows a set of databases to act as a single failover entity with at least one replica.
  • Indirect Checkpoints: checkpoints at database (i.s.o. server) level
  • User-defined server roles
  • Database access for contained databases
  • Audit improvements and enhancements
Upcoming sessions at U2U in Brussels, Belgium:

To organize this course on-site, please contact info@u2u.be.

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