Analytics Platform System Appliance Update 3 Released
The Analytics Platform System team continues to provide rapid updates to the APS environment. The rate of release from the product team has been consistent for the last several years with 2-3 releases per year. Each of these releases not only stabilizes the platform while bringing performance improvements but continues down the path of providing TSQL parity with the SQL Server product line. Appliance Update 3 provides updates to the Parallel Data Warehouse workload along with updates to Polybase.
The updates to the PDW workload include moving the Windows Server version up to Windows Server 2012 R2 and the SQL Server version up to SQL Server 2014. Additionally, there are many T-SQL error handling statements now available such as Try..Catch and @@Error.
In a significant improvement to Polybase, it now supports ORC files in Hadoop. ORC files are Optimized Row Columnar files that offer superior compression and thus improved performance over previously supported file formats. The work on ORC files as been a collaboration between Microsoft and Hortonworks and now we can reap the benefits when using Polybase.
Other interesting improvements include being able to use a Data Management Gateway so that PowerBI can now access your APS appliance. Also, Microsoft simplified some of the infrastructure under the hood which should improve reliability for the appliance.
Finally, maybe the most exciting news is that now the documentation and tools for APS are publically available for download. For those of us that consult, being able to provide a public link to customers will definitely make our life easier than passing USB drives around. You can find the documentation and tools here: