Building on our announcement at the PASS Summit 2011 in early October, today we are excited to announce the SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate (RC). SQL Server 2012 RC is the first release which is feature complete and represents an exciting milestone for customers and partners looking to experience the full value of SQL Server 2012.

Over 100K customers have downloaded the SQL Server 2012 Community Technology Previews to date which, through customer feedback, has helped Microsoft deliver a high-quality Release Candidate.

As the foundation of the cloud-ready information platform, SQL Server 2012 will help organizations unlock breakthrough insights across the organization as well quickly build solutions and extend data across on-premises and public cloud backed by mission critical confidence.

The SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate delivers great value to customers:

  • Greater availability. Deliver the required 9s and data protection with AlwaysOn, delivering added functionality over CTP3 that allows customers to experience multiple, readable secondaries for distributed scale of reporting and backup workloads and support for FileTable and FILESTREAM which brings first-class HA to complex data types.
  • Blazing-fast performance. More effectively govern performance in multi-tenancy environments like private cloud. Resource Governor enhancements include support for 64 resource pools, greater CPU usage control, and resource pool affinity for partitioning of physical resources and predictable resource allocation.
  • Rapid data exploration. Empower end users with new insights through rapid data exploration and visualization. Discover new insights at the speed of thought with more feature/functionality in Power View, the highly interactive, familiar browser-based data exploration, visualization, and presentation experience for end users. 
  • Credible, consistent data. In addition to CTP3 functionality delivered for Data Quality Services and Master Data Services, customers can better support heterogeneous data within Data Warehouses through new Change Data Capture (CDC) support for Oracle.
  • Optimized productivity.  Optimize IT and developer productivity across server and cloud with the new SQL Server Data Tools, a unified development experience for database and business intelligence projects, and cloud-ready capabilities within SQL Server Management Studio for snapshot backups to the Windows Azure Platform.  Additionally, SQL Server 2012 offers a new version of Express – LocalDB. SQL Express LocalDB is a lightweight version of Express with all its programmability features, yet runs in user mode with a fast, zero-configuration installation and short list of pre-requisites.  For more information and to try it out, go here.


Today, you have the chance to download, preview and deploy the full marquee capabilities being delivered in SQL Server 2012. RC is a production quality release that includes access to upgrade and migration tools like Upgrade Advisor, Distributed Replay and SQL Server Migration Assistant (SSMA). Upgrade Advisor and Distributed Replay allow you to perform thorough analysis and testing of your current SQL Server applications before upgrading so you know what to expect. You can also use SSMA to automate migrate non-SQL Server databases to SQL Server 2012.

Download SQL Server 2012 RC today here.  Learn more about SQL Server 2012 at www.microsoft.com/sqlserver