Microsoft announced some SQL Server improvements at the PASS Summit event for database administrators and developers

Highlights include migration support to Azure SQL Database, Apache Kafka Support on Azure Event Hubs, Azure SQL Data Warehouse improvements and yet another preview of the coming SQL Server 2019 product.

SQL Server 2019 CTP 2.1 — SQL Server 2019 is still at the preview stage, although it’s now reached Community Technology Preview (CTP) 2.1, according to Rohan Kumar, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Azure Data, in the announcement. Microsoft is touting built-in support for Apache Spark and the Hadoop Distributed File System in the coming SQL Server 2019 product.

The latest preview of SQL Server 2019, namely CTP 2.1, adds support for deploying Python- and R-based applications on clusters. It brings the ability to place a “buffer pool in persistent memory,” which is thought to speed up I/O operations. There’s also improved diagnostics for troubleshooting long-running queries that have gotten blocked, among other perks. Another feature that will be coming to SQL Server 2019 in a future preview release will be a new “Accelerated Data Recovery” feature, Kumar noted.