SQL Server 2016 RC3 Out Now
Microsoft announced late last week that the final SQL Server 2016 release candidate is now available.
The company said that, along with being the fourth publicly released version, it will be the last time for shops to evaluate and test the latest SQL Server version before it hits general availability in the coming months.
"Our SQL Server Release Candidates represent important milestones in the release of SQL Server 2016, as the product is now essentially feature complete, and means that a very rich set of capabilities is now available," wrote Microsoft in the announcement on the SQL Server Blog home page. "These include real-time operational analytics, rich visualizations on mobile devices, built-in advanced analytics, new advanced security technologies and new hybrid scenarios that allow you to securely stretch data to the cloud."
The current version, released late last week, included no new features. Instead, Microsoft is treating RC3 as a tune-up to SQL Server 2016 on its way to final release. "The improvements in SQL Server 2016 Release Candidate 3 (RC3) primarily consist of bug fixes and other work to increase the stability and reliability of SQL Server 2016," wrote Microsoft in the release documentation. "We continue to refine the product for general availability."
SQL Server 2016 RC3 comes just weeks after the company announced and released RC2 at the beginning of the month during its Build 2016 conference in San Francisco. That version included row-level security, Stretch Database capabilities and support for the open source R statistical computing programming language, which is included due to last year's acquisition of Revolution Analytics.
Microsoft has not indicated what features, if any, will be included in the general availability version compared to this final release candidate. SQL Server 2016 RC3 can be downloaded here for an evaluation period of 180 days.