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Posted by Ami Levin on Tuesday, 10 April 2012

SQL Server 2012 brings with it so many new features and enhancements that it is futile to try and sum it up. Many articles and blog posts have been and will be written on the shiny new HA/DR, T-SQL, Columnstore and batch processing and numerous others. In this short post, I want to draw your attention to some less ‘shiny’ work that will affect your first interaction with SQL Server 2012 – the installation process.

The first thing you will notice when you download the product, is the change in available editions. SQL Server 2008 offered the following editions: PDW, Data center, Enterprise, Standard, Web, Workgroup, Developer, Express, Compact, Core and Azure. With SQL 2012, the main editions will be Standard, BI and Enterprise. Licensing has significantly changed for these editions. Developer express and compact editions will be distributed without any change. For more information, see the editions datasheet.

If you are installing SQL 2012 on windows 7 or windows server 2008R2, make sure you install SP1 or higher first. The installer also includes a new ‘on-the-fly’ update feature for integration of updates into the main installation. A great time saver! SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and Data Quality services can be installed as part of the main installation. If you haven’t checked out SSDT yet – I highly recommend you give it a try. For more information, see the data developer center.

SQL Server 2012 also removed some major limitations of previous releases and now allows you to install and configure a cluster node across subnets (geo-cluster), use a local, non-shared disk for TempDB in a cluster and use SMB network file shares as a valid, fully supported NAS storage option.

Security wise, default accounts are offered for all SQL Services and keeping in tune with the minimal exposure, highly secure by default installation, the BUILTIN\administrators and the LocalSystem accounts are not provisioned by default to the server sysadmin role.

SQL Server 2012 Books On line now uses the help viewer released with Microsoft® Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and is no longer included in the installation media. You can view the documentation online or download as a local help collection.

Last, remember to read the backward compatibility section for a list of deprecated features, discontinued functionality, Behavior changes and most importantly the breaking changes to the database engine. Some of these breaking changes are quite interesting and surprising.