What's new in SQL Server 2017? For SSAS Tabular, lots, it transpires.
Part one of a six-part series of blogs

This blog summarises the main new features of SQL Server for non-administrators (that is, most of us). Most parts of SQL Server get minor changes at best, but SSAS Tabular 2017 gets a host of major improvements.

  1. What's new in SQL Server 2017 (differences versus 2016) (this blog)
  2. Changes to SQL Server 2017 installation
  3. What's new in the T-SQL language in SQL Server 2017
  4. What's new in Integration Services 2017 (SSIS 2017)
  5. What's new in Reporting Services 2017 (SSRS 2017)
  6. What's new in Analysis Services 2017 (SSAS 2017)

Posted by Andy Brown on 23 January 2018

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What's new in SQL Server 2017 (differences versus 2016)

This blog explores the differences between SQL Server 2016 and 2017 (listed at this Microsoft page).

Short of time?  Our summary advice would be that if you're using SSAS Tabular Model you should upgrade today; otherwise, stick with the version you're currently using.

Here's a quick management summary:

Area Summary of changes
Installation Some brief notes on changes to SQL Server installation.
SQL A handful of not particularly useful new functions.
SSIS None, unless you want to use Scale Out to distribute packages across multiple computers, and manage them from a single central one.
SSRS/Report Builder You can add comments to reports, and support for DAX is much better.
SSAS There is a a new DAX editor, you can use Power Query to transform data and the user interface for getting data has been rewritten, you can control what you see when you drill-down in a model, you can hide blank members of parent-child hierarchies, and much more!

Our standpoint is that of the business user of SQL Server.  Database administrators will doubtless find much to get excited about in the internal mechanics of SQL Server, such as resumable online index builds and improvements to the Database Tuning Advisor ...

Let's begin at the beginning, with changes to the process of installing SQL Server 2017.

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