Microsoft SQL Server 2020: The Latest and Greatest Features

If you’re managing big databases, there are few better tools for the job than Microsoft’s SQL Server. The program has been on the scene for more than thirty years, but each version improves on its abilities to help you manage big data and get powerful results for your business. The Microsoft SQL Server 2020 updates will be no different, and you can expect to see a lot of powerful functionality coming out of this program in the coming year!

The SQL Server 2020 updates will revolve around better incorporation of smart technologies, increased flexibility, and greater security.

You’ll see greater automation capabilities and increasing artificial intelligence. Read on to learn more about what to expect from SQL Server 2020 updates in the coming year.


What Can I Expect From SQL Server 2020 Updates?

As it has for the last several years, Microsoft SQL Server will continue to improve through regular updates. Here are some of the new features for SQL Server in 2020.



More IoT Sensor Data

One of the big trends we’re seeing in Microsoft SQL Server and in database management in general in 2020 is an increase in IoT sensor data. The Internet of Things has been growing for the last several years, and it shows no signs of slowing down. Devices like smart light bulbs, smart refrigerators, smart shoes, and smart locks are only the beginning. The good news for SQL Server users is that Microsoft has begun incorporating even more ways to access data from these sensors. You can gather all new information about how your customers utilize their products, enabling you to target your marketing and product development more precisely than ever. In 2020, SQL will be even better equipped to handle that data and provide you with useful, on-the-ground insights.


Greater Migration to the Cloud

Things have been moving more towards cloud-based computing for several years. The convenience, greater ability for long-distance collaboration, and increased backup security make it hard to beat.

And the recent pandemic that has confined everyone to their homes has only underlined our need for greater cloud migration.

SQL Server is pushing more and more towards cloud migration. In 2020, you can expect to see cloud computing support across providers, rather than just on Microsoft Azure. Their Managed Instance version of the cloud service can also run existing SQL Server applications without any changes.


More Database Automation

With every day that passes, our world moves faster. Fiber optic technology transmits our information at light speed, and too often it can feel like businesses have to find more than twenty-four hours in a day if they want to keep up.

Automation is one of the best ways to free up employee time so you can focus on what matters – growing your business.

SQL Server can help you automate tasks that shouldn’t be taking up your architects’ time. You can automate everything from database backups to database indexing. You can set up these automatic jobs to run as often as you like, whether that be every hour, every day, or every month, and your architects can turn their attention to more demanding tasks.


Increased Utilization of Machine Learning

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are two of the most important driving forces in the future of computing.

Machine learning can also be an important way to optimize your database operations. The more your database systems can learn which queries work and which don’t, the faster they can hone in on the relevant operations.

Microsoft SQL Server now features Machine Learning Services. This allows you to run Python and R scripts with relational data and to run open-source packages and frameworks.

These scripts are executed in-database without ever moving data outside SQL Server or over your network.


More Open Technologies

On the subject of open technologies, in 2020, we can expect to see greater flexibility from SQL Server regarding open-source technology. Sometimes the best solutions are non-proprietary, and in the past, Microsoft has barred users from blending those technologies with their programs due to security concerns. But now, you can build the apps you need with the technology you prefer.

SQL Server allows you to integrate data into your apps, no matter what source it’s coming from. You can build almost human-like intelligence into rich cognitive services across any scale of data. Microsoft’s new innovations have opened the door to technological development across platforms.


New Language Capabilities

In the past, Microsoft SQL Server users have run into some roadblocks with what languages the program could work in. Microsoft listened, and the latest version of SQL Server has incorporated new languages. In particular, the program can now natively run programs written in Java and Scala, as well as Python, T-SQL, and Node.js.

The biggest advantage this upgrade brings is the ability to easily access most modern programs in SQL Server 2020. But this also makes it easier than ever to incorporate SQL Server into your operations. If you don’t already have someone on your team who codes in Java, any new hire will be familiar with this language.


Intelligent Query Processing

That increased machine learning we discussed will show its colors with SQL Server’s new intelligent query processing. In the past, the program included adaptive query processing, an older attempt at improving query performance. But the SQL Server 2020 update brings those attempts light-years forward.

In addition to the old adaptive query processing tools, intelligent query processing now incorporates several other features. It uses table variable deferred compilation, batch mode on rowstore, T-SQL scalar UDF inlining, and approximate query processing. With the adaptive joins, interleaved execution, and memory grand feedback of adaptive query processing, you can now rely on smarter assistance than ever before.

In addition to being a database storage tool, SQL Server is fundamentally a data management tool. So it makes sense that SQL Server 2020 updates would include better management tools. For business owners looking to optimize their efforts, this is a major upgrade.

One of these improvements gives data scientists the ability to better format their data and make corrections during analysis. There is also a new graph that allows you to track and manage your spark queries. These new tools will make your data processing more efficient and accurate than ever.



Increased Encryption

The downside of our world being more digital than ever before is that we are often less secure than ever before. Cloud computing, when not handled properly, can leave companies vulnerable to data breaches. Microsoft anticipated this worry, however, and they responded by enhancing their Always Encrypted feature.

Microsoft SQL Server has been ranked as the least vulnerable database for the last nine years running. But Always Encrypted ups the ante in 2020 with the addition of secure enclaves. These enclaves create “black boxes” in the SQL server that allow you to perform computations on secure data.


More APIs

Having the ability to build application programming interfaces (or APIs) into your programs is a powerful tool for anyone looking to increase their efficiency. These allow you to create custom-tailored solutions for your business needs. Microsoft SQL Server comes with more API functionality than ever before.

With an API, you can automate functions between different programs. Microsoft has opened up SQL Server for API-fication with more programs than ever before. This means that no matter what programs your business is running, you can make sure you’re always working as efficiently as possible.


What is Microsoft SQL Server?

Microsoft SQL Server is a relational database management system, a system that presents data to the user as a collection of tables that can be manipulated as needed.

SQL stands for Structured Query Language, the programming language that manages your database system. SQL can give you the ability to both store and manage your business’s data.

SQL provides a number of benefits outside of its advanced capabilities to make data management simple. It also comes with advanced security that can protect personal data you might be storing, such as customer contact information.

You can also share data files between computers on the same network, increasing your operation speed and making it easy to nip data silos in the bud.


Is SQL Server 2019 Released?

Microsoft SQL Server 2019, the latest version of SQL Server was released to the general public on November 4th, 2019. Since then monthly updates have been released to address bugs, add functionality and improve security.


How Do I Download and Install SQL Server 2019?

Microsoft has made several editions available for download on, including:

  • SQL Server 2019 on-premises (free trial)
  • SQL Server 2019 on Azure
  • SQL Server 2019 Developer Edition
  • SQL Server 2019 Express

You will also find information on how to install SQL Server on There are several options for each installation preference including:

  • Windows
  • Linux
  • Docker

To help make managing and maintaining your SQL Server environments easier, Microsoft has developed a number of tools for consideration. These help with everything from managing databases to migrating data. Tools include:

  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT)
  • Data Migration Assistant
  • SQL Server Migration Assistant for Oracle
  • Azure Data Studio


What is the Next Version of SQL Server?

Microsoft has not announced an official SQL Server 2020 version and likely won’t – at least not for installation in a production environment. Major version releases typically occur every several years, though we did see releases in 2016 and 2017. Stay tuned to find out if a SQL Server 2020 will be released.


Is Microsoft SQL Server Free?

There are many editions of SQL Server available. Many of these require a purchase, but several are available for free use in specific scenarios.

  • SQL Server 2019 – the core version available with a 180-day free trial
  • SQL Server 2019 Developer – a version for developers working in non-production environments
  • SQL Server Express – a free version, with limitations, for non-production or small production environments


Learn More About SQL Server 2020 Updates

Microsoft SQL Server is arguably the best tool on the market for managing big data and generating efficient, intelligent reports. This year’s upgrades to flexible options and better use of machine learning make SQL Server more powerful than ever. So dive in and check out the updates for yourself and start working smarter, not harder.

If you’d like to get started with Microsoft SQL Server, reach out to us at IncWorx. We provide consulting and support from a team of responsive, United States-based Microsoft experts. Schedule a free consultation and start gaining the benefits of a team of top experts today.

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