Software giant Microsoft has packed up its latest version of its SQL Server database, SQL Server 2014 and sent it to manufacturers.

This version's most important new feature is its built-in in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP) capability, which Microsoft has said can improve database performance up to 30 times. According to ZDNet the new software should be in the shops on April 1.

It is based around in-memory OLTP engine codenamed "Hekaton" is supposed to complement the in-memory data-warehousing and business-intelligence capabilities that are already under the bonnet of SQL.

In a normal database the assumption is that data lives on disk and is stored on disk pages but this creates a lot of overhead in accessing records. However when data lives totally in memory, it is possible to use much simpler data structures.

Hekatron

Hekaton's index data structures and storage structures are optimized on the basis that when a table is declared memory-optimized, all of its records live in memory, Microsoft said.

Hekaton has new concurrency-control mechanisms that mean it can be scaled, and it moves away from a partitioned approach via a multicore processor that's treated as a distributed system. What replaces it is a latch-free/lock-free design which avoids data corruption caused when multiple users try to modify a data structure concurrently.

SQL Server 2014 also was designed to back up to Windows Azure, enabling users to back up their on-premises data to the cloud at an instance-level for disaster-recovery purposes. Backups can be automatic or manual, and a backup can be restored to a Windows Azure Virtual Machine, if need be.