The Code First approach means that the object model is created in code, and then the database structure is generated from that model. Code First Migrations allows developers to make changes to the database via code, many of which can be done automatically.
With SQL Server abandoning OleDB in favor of ODBC, it is no surprise that SQL Server Integration Services is finally picking up ODBC support. Another important feature slated for SSIS 2012 is the much needed support for CSV files.
Microsoft has released SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0. There are many new features, including: AlwaysOn, better performance management, more reporting and visualization tools, Columnstore index, and FileTables. The product will come in 3 main editions: Standard, Business Intelligence and Enterprise.
Amazon has announced two licensing deals with Microsoft. The first eliminates the licensing fees for running Microsoft software on EC2 for BizSpark members. The second allows all developers to run the preview of SQL Server 2012 on EC2. It should be noted that normal EC2 service rates still apply for both.
SafePeak is a plug-and-play Dynamic Database Caching Solution, designed to improve data access performance for Applications built on SQL Server. It offloads the read queries and stored procedures which perform “Select” by dynamically caching in-memory result sets, thereby reducing read response time and overall database load.
Microsoft has added LocalDB support in .NET Framework 4. LocalDB is a free developer edition of SQL Server “Denali” meant to provide most of the server’s API but without management overhead.
Microsoft announced that the next version of SQL Server, known by the codename "Denali", will be called SQL Server 2012. It will feature the big data capabilities of Apache Hadoop and Power View, a touch-based business intelligence tool.
Solutions Design has released ORM Profiler, a tool meant to help improve data access layer performance. It tracks and logs ADO.NET calls so that developers can analyze their data access and discover potential problems.
One of the new additions in the Entity Framework June CTP is official support for Spatial data types, which allow developers to represent data using a system of coordinates, such as shapes, lines, or points on a map.
Sync Framework Toolkit builds on the Sync Framework 2.1 and uses OData to sync with any platform or client, including Windows Phone 7, Silverlight, Windows Mobile, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Android devices, and any browser using HTML5.
Denali will be the final edition of SQL Server to support OLE DB, because Microsoft considers ODBC to be the industry standard for relational data access.
Pinal Dave has posted a 31-part series titled SQL Server – Interview Questions and Answers. It starts with general topics such as “What is Normalization?” and works its way to obscure topics such as “What is Difference between ROLLBACK IMMEDIATE and WITH NO_WAIT during ALTER DATABASE?”. Data warehousing is covered and there are even guest posts on SQL Azure.
SQL Server Development Tools (SSDT) - ‘Juneau’ - brings testing, debugging, version control, refactoring, dependency checking, and deployment to database development in Visual Studio. It was previewed recently along with SQL Server ‘Denali’ CTP.
SQL Server Denali includes a new type of table called FileTable, which builds on FileStream functionality. FileTable is meant for storing and managing unstructured data in SQL Server, while also making it accessible via the file system.
SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 brings several features such as DAC Framework for easier schema upgrades, new DMVs and XEvents for better supportability, Improved Query Performance with ForceSeek and ForceScan and Disk space control for PowerPivot.