The VAR Guy is here to let you know Microsoft SQL Server 2012 has been released to manufacturing, and with it, a plethora of new features designed to handle the growing needs of the database world. If you're looking for a quick dip into what SQL Sever 2012 can do for you, read on. No fluff, just facts ...

Microsoft's focus with SQL Server 2012 is data. Big Data, that is, and data that can become "actionable business insights." If you're thinking IBM data analytics all over again, you'd be on track. According to Microsoft, the main goal for SQL 2012, which will debut in April, is:
“Whatever the type or size of data, SQL Server 2012 delivers the platform and familiar tools to manage data, generate actionable insights and help drive business impact.”
Microsoft's romance with the evolving data world comes as Gartner notes the volume of global data is "growing at a rate of 59 percent per year, with 70 [percent] to 85 percent in unstructured form." Wow.

The VAR Guy isn't surprised, but he's starting to get dizzy thinking of what comes after a terabyte. At any rate, Microsoft's ambitions to turn SQL Server into much more than a database with the aforementioned businesses intelligence integration is a smart move, making it easier for VARs and MSPs to provide advanced services to their customers, while leveraging Microsoft's backbone to do the heavy lifting.

As a bonus, SQL Server 2012 also will include "... rich business intelligence tools, such as Microsoft Excel, PowerPivot for Excel 2010 and Power View, with unstructured data," in addition to Apache Hadoop-support under Windows Azure.

Want an even deeper dive into the world of SQL? Be sure to check out The VAR Guy's sister sites, including Paul Thurrott's thoughts on WindowsIT Pro, along with a timely overview of Microsoft's motivations at SQLServerPro. In the meantime, our resident blogger will continue to keep his fedora tipped up and out in Microsoft's direction, especially with Windows 8 looming.