What is most valuable?
The database engine within SQL Server 2014 is one of the most valuable components of the platform to me.
The engine provides a solid and efficient database backend for any relational database requirement, performance is strong and there are options such as table, index partitioning and columnstore indexes that enhance the scalability of the platform.
In addition to the database engine, I would also highlight the built-in integration services platform (SSIS) for ETL purposes as well as the Reporting and Analysis Services functionality (SSRS and SSAS respectively).
One of the key features that I would use regularly to support the delivery of a Data Warehouse solution would be the Master Data Services (MDS). This is an extendable Master Data Management platform that works very well out-of-the- box.
How has it helped my organization?
As an IT Services organization, our companies have used this product in dozens of customer deliveries for solutions such as ERP applications, Data and Analytics solutions, and more. We also use the product internally as the backend for some of our most important operational systems.
What needs improvement?
The user interface to the web frontend of MDS could be more intuitive and the Analysis Services platform has not evolved much in recent times, these are the two things that come to mind.
For how long have I used the solution?
This specific version (2014), I have used for approximately three years. However, I use other versions of the software on a regular basis, such as 2012 and 2016.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
There were no issues with stability.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
There were no issues with scalability.
How is customer service and technical support?
Microsoft has a solid support structure for the SQL Server platform and I’ve always been provided with a good service.
Which solutions did we use previously?
We used a combination of RDBMS platforms and we still do in addition to this solution.
How was the initial setup?
The installation and configuration was very straightforward. The full setup typically takes less than one day.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The Enterprise license includes features that enrich the product experience as well as performance and scalability options. Choose this over the standard license where possible.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We reviewed many RDBMS platforms for suitability depending on the requirements of the customers. We would also use the likes of Oracle 12c and Amazon RDS.
What other advice do I have?
Install a trial version as soon as you can and give it a try.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: My company (Version 1) is a Microsoft Gold Partner. We are also an Oracle Platinum Partner as well as Amazon, etc.
Jul 09 2017