SQL Server 2017 ConsultantsMicrosoft SQL Server 2017 significantly expands support for Microsoft's core data platform beyond Windows while delivering best-in-class performance, security, availability, and scale. You can run SQL Server 2017 natively on major Linux distributions including Red Hat, Ubuntu, and SUSE. SQL Server 2017 also supports Linux-based Docker containers. With SQL Server 2017, you can even use Always On availability groups to migrate or fail over your SQL Server 2017 data between Windows and Linux environments with minimal downtime. Another new feature, SQL Graph, makes it easier to model and analyze complex many-to-many relationships and patterns within existing databases by using a graph structure instead of querying data from a traditional relational schema.

The improvements available in SQL Server 2017 are especially timely in view of the end-of-support (EOS) status of SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2. EOS means there will be no more access to critical security updates for these legacy products, compliance could become difficult if not impossible, and maintenance may become prohibitively expensive. Migrating from SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2 to SQL Server 2017 brings a decade's worth of innovations including in-memory performance, enterprise-class high availability, mobile business intelligence (BI), in-database advanced analytics, and modern cybersecurity that facilitates GDPR compliance.

SQL Server 2017 Mobile BI Consulting

SQL Server 2017 Reporting Services can host data for advanced BI reporting on almost any device

Progent has almost two decades of experience deploying, tuning, managing, and troubleshooting SQL Server solutions for businesses of all sizes and has provided software development and project management services for a broad range of SQL Server applications. Progent's Microsoft-certified SQL Server experts can help you assess the business benefit of upgrading to SQL Server 2017 and can help you plan and carry out an efficient migration of your databases and applications to any network model including on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid. (See SQL Server 2017 Deployment Options.) If you currently run SQL Server 2017 and are considering an upgrade to SQL Server 2019, Progent can provide end-to-end SQL Server 2019 migration consulting services.

Progent's consultants can provide online or onsite expertise and offer services ranging from as-needed design review or troubleshooting to comprehensive project management and co-management to make sure your SQL Server 2017 initiative is successfully completed on time and within budget. Progent also offers the expertise of certified cybersecurity consultants, disaster recovery planners, and DBA professionals to make sure your SQL Server 2017 ecosystem is secure, compliant, protected, and efficient.

Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants can also help you integrate SQL Server 2017 with other core platforms from Microsoft by providing services that include Windows Server consulting, Hyper-V virtualization expertise, Exchange Server support services, SharePoint consulting, Skype for Business integration, Microsoft Dynamics GP customization and training, and System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) expertise.

Progent's experienced application developers can help you design, build, test, deploy, and debug applications powered by SQL Server 2017 and offer expertise in data modeling, OLTP, Data Warehousing, Data Mining, ETL, performance tuning, backup and disaster recovery, business analytics and reporting, and integration with Amazon Marketplace Web Service (Amazon MWS). To learn more about Progent's SQL Server application development and troubleshooting services, refer to SQL Server software development and DBA services.

Progent also offers Wi-Fi network consulting and smartphone integration services and can assist you to design and deploy a protected BYOD environment for SQL Server 2017 by providing services that include Apple iPhone and iPad integration and Android mobile device management.

SQL Server 2017 Editions
SQL Server 2017 is available in five primary editions that differ in feature sets, scalability, pricing, and/or licensing rules. Progent can help you determine which editions are right for your requirements and can help you track and manage licensing.

SQL Server 2017 Express is free and is designed for creating data-driven applications for desktops and light servers. This is the best edition for ISVs and developers creating client applications. The SQL Server 2017 Express with Advanced Services includes Basic R and SQL Graph integration and can be used to host a SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) database. SQL Server Express LocalDB is the only version of SQL Server 2017 that runs in user mode, requiring no configuration and few prerequisites to install. SQL Server Express LocalDB is bare bones even for Express. For example, it is the only edition of SQL Server 2017 that does not support in-memory OLTP. All versions of Express are limited to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores, and all support 352 MB of memory per database in SQL Server Database Engine. Upgrading to more advanced editions of SQL Server 2017 is seamless.

SQL Server 2017 Developer edition is functionally identical to the Enterprise edition but is licensed exclusively for use as a development and test system for applications that run on top of SQL Server. SQL Server 2017 Developer edition may not be deployed as a production server.

SQL Server 2017 Web edition is a low-cost option intended for web hosting companies. This pared-down edition has fewer features and is less scalable than the Standard and Enterprise editions of SQL Server 2017 but can be a cost-effective database management solution for web properties. You can profile SQL Server Web edition using the SQL Profiler management tool from the Standard or Enterprise editions of SQL Server. SQL Server 2017 Web does not include some of the high-availability features included with more advanced editions such as backup compression, encrypted backup, and Always On failover cluster instances. SQL Server 2017 Web supports the lesser of 4 socket or 16 cores and up to 16 GB of memory per database in SQL Server Database Engine.

SQL Server 2017 Standard edition provides mid-range data management, high-availability, and BI database functionality to allow small organizations or departments to run typical data-driven applications. SQL Server 2017 Standard edition supports basic development tools for onsite and cloud-hosted environments while minimizing requirements for IT resources and management expertise. SQL Server 2017 Standard edition supports the lesser of 4 sockets or 24 cores for compute power and up to 32 GB of memory per database in SQL Server Database Engine.

SQL Server 2017 Enterprise is the top-of-the-line version of SQL Server 2017 and is designed for mission-critical applications where scale, performance, availability, security, and functionality are crucial. Compute power and memory available per database are limited only by the host operating system. Virtualization is unlimited. Performance features include automatic tuning, IO resource governance, and partitioned table parallelism. Unique high-availability features include online indexing and schema change, online page and file restore, mirrored backups, hot-add CPU and memory, plus Always On availability groups supporting up to eight secondary replicas with two synchronous secondary replicas. Advanced security features include transparent database encryption and extensible key management. SQL Server 2017 Enterprise edition also includes Power Pivot for SharePoint, offers extensive support for data mining, and supports mobile reports and analytics.

New and Enhanced Features of SQL Server 2017
SQL Server 2017 offers improvements over previous versions of SQL Server in key technology areas including SQL Server Database Engine, SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS), Master Data Services (MDS), SQL Server Analysis Services (SSIS), SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), and Machine Learning Services (formerly called SQL Server R Services).

SQL Server 2017 Database Engine
The SQL Server 2017 Database Engine is the primary service for data storage, processing, and security. The Database Engine controls access, provides fast processing for OLTP applications, and supports high availability. Enhancements to the SQL Server 2017 Database Engine include:

  • An Online Index Rebuild operation can resume from where it stopped after a failure, and you can pause and later resume an Online Index Rebuild
  • Adaptive Query Processing can modify the query execution plan selected by the Query Optimizer based on the actual conditions for a workload at runtime
  • Automatic Database Tuning uses a built-in intelligence mechanism for continuous performance monitoring. This feature identifies potential query performance issues, recommends corrective actions, and can automatically implements fixes.
  • The Database Tuning Advisor (DTA) released with SQL Server Management Studio includes more options, like columnstore index recommendations, and improves performance by leveraging rowstore and columnstore indexes
  • Clusterless support for Availability Groups and the ability to migrate and test Availability Groups between Windows and Linux environments
  • Support for computed columns in memory-optimized tables
  • Query surface area in native modules fully supports JSON functions
  • SQL Graph for graph-based modeling of multiple, complex many-to-many relationships. Graph databases can make it easier to express queries for applications like fraud detection and risk management
SQL Server 2017 Graph Consulting

New graph processing capabilities make it easy to model complex many-to-many relationships

SQL Server 2017 Integration Services (SSIS)
SQL Server 2017 Integration Services (SSIS) is a platform for creating enterprise-class data integration and workflow applications like ETL for data warehousing. SSIS 2017 incorporate a variety of enhancements that include:

  • Scale Out for running multiple SSIS package executions in parallel from SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS)
  • The ability to run SSIS packages on Linux computers
  • High availability for Scale Out Master
  • OData Source and OData Connection Manager support for connecting to the OData feeds of Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM Online
SQL Server 2017 Master Data Services (MDS)
SQL Server 2017 Master Data Services (MDS) centralizes the storage of master data and simplifies creating, managing, deploying, securing, and auditing models, entities, attributes, attribute groups, hierarchies, business rules, and metadata. Reports and analyses depend on MDS for consistent and accurate data. SQL Server 2017 performance enhancements to MDS include:
  • Fast migration from SQL Server 2012 and later to SQL Server 2017
  • Ability to view the sorted lists of entities, collections, and hierarchies in the Explorer page of the Web application.
  • Faster staging for high volumes of records via the staging stored procedure
  • Faster expansion of the Entities folder on the Manage Groups page when setting model permissions
SQL Server 2017 Analysis Services (SSAS)
SQL Server 2017 Analysis Services (SSAS) provides a suite of online analytical processing (OLAP) and data mining tools that can be used to create and distribute business intelligence visualizations. SSAS 2017 supports traditional OLAP as well as modern tabular modeling approaches and integrates with Power Pivot, Excel, and SharePoint for self-service analytics and collaboration. Current versions of SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS) are required in order to access the latest capabilities of SQL Server 2017 Analysis Services. Enhancements to SSAS 2017 for tabular models include:
  • Object-level security restricts access to table and column data and can secure sensitive table and column names
  • Date relationships to easily create relationships to date dimensions based on date fields
  • You can hide blank members in a hierarchy for easier reading on reporting clients like Excel
  • With the Detail Rows Expression, model authors can customize the columns and rows returned to the end-user
  • Data Analysis Expressions (DAX) Editor for SSDT
  • Encoding hints for optimizing processing of large in-memory tabular models
  • You can specify the new 1400 compatibility level for tabular models when creating new projects
  • Improved data transformation and data mashup capabilities for models at the 1400 compatibility level
SQL Server 2017 Reporting Services (SSRS)
SQL Server 2017 Reporting Services (SSRS) is a set of tools and services that allow you to create, distribute, administer, and access reports. SSRS reports can ingest content from a broad range of data sources including on-premises SQL Server and Analysis Services data. Collaboration can take place on virtually any desktop or mobile device through a variety of ways such as the Reporting Services Web service, WMI provider, email, or scripts. Enhancements to SSRS 2017 include:
  • Comments as well as attachments are available for reports
  • Report Builder and SQL Server Data Tools have drag-and-drop query designer support for Data Analysis Expressions (DAX)
  • Support for a fully OpenAPI compliant RESTful API

SQL Server 2017 Machine Learning Services (formerly called SQL Server R Services)
SQL Server 2017 Machine Learning Services are in-database services that allow R and Python code to be executed on SQL Servers. Machine Learning Services allows data scientists to call stored procedures to create models, retrain them, and score them.

SQL Server 2017 Machine Learning for R and Pyhton Consulting

SQL Server is the first commercial database with built-in predictive analytics

With SQL Server 2017 you can set up data in a columnstore, generate predictions with R or Python, use in-memory OLTP tables to store the data, and create visualizations with Power BI or SSRS. (Leasrn about Progent's Power BI business analytics consulting services.) This capability makes SQL Server the first commercial database with built-in predictive analytics and machine learning. Enhancements to SQL Server 2017 Machine Learning Services include:

  • Integration of the revoscalepy primary library for scalable Python with functions for data manipulation, transformation, visualization, and analysis
  • Integration of the microsoftml stack of machine learning algorithms and transforms with Python bindings
  • Pretrained models based on ResNet models for image extraction or sentiment analysis
  • Python code deployment with T-SQL using stored procedures
  • You can create Python applications within the database, eliminating the need to move data to your Python application. This simplifies security and compliance, preserves data integrity, and saves the cost, time, management hassle, and risk of transporting huge volumes of data.
  • Ability to stream data from SQL to Python processes using MPI ring parallelization for ultra-high performance
  • Python integration is available in all editions of SQL Server 2017, even the free Express edition
  • Updated versions of base R and RevScaler
  • Advanced role-based management of R packages to control access permissions
  • Standalone SQL Server Machine Learning Server, an independent data science server for R and Python, allows you to distribute and scale R or Python applications without dependencies on SQL Server
How Progent Can Help You Install, Configure, and Use SQL Server 2017
Progent's Microsoft-certified consultants offer remote and on-premises expertise to help you design, install, manage, and troubleshoot your SQL Server 2017 environment. Progent can assist you to evaluate the business advantages of migrating to SQL Server 2017 and can help you plan an optimal deployment model for a local, cloud-based, or hybrid network architecture.

Progent can help you migrate your data and applications efficiently, configure test environments to validate SQL Server 2017's support for your critical workloads, simplify and centralize management, create an enterprise-wide security strategy that complies with government regulations and industry standards, integrate mobile devices, and design a disaster recovery or business continuity plan that incorporates appropriate high-availability options built into SQL Server 2017. Progent can also help you design, develop, and test line-of-business applications powered by SQL Server 2017.

Consulting services offered by Progent for SQL Server 2017 include:

Contact Progent for SQL Server 2017 Consulting and Development Services
To learn more about how Progent can help you with SQL Server 2017 design, integration, troubleshooting, or application development, call 1-800-993-9400 or visit Contact Progent.

If you need immediate online help from a Microsoft-certified consultant, see Progent's Online Network Support.

Learn more about Progent's Consulting Services for Microsoft .NET Server Platforms.

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