SQL Server 2012 SP1 CTP has been released Smile

Brief overview (referenced from http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34700&WT.mc_id=rss_alldownloads_all)

SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1(SP1) Customer Technology Preview (CTP) is now available for download. SQL Server 2012 service packs are cumulative updates and upgrade all releases of SQL Server 2012. This service pack contains the cumulative updates up to SQL Server 2012 cumulative update 2.

What’s new for SQL Server 2012 SP1:

  • AlwaysOn Availability Group OS Upgrade:
    With the release of SQL Server 2012 RTM the operating system upgrade story for AlwaysOn customers without taking significant downtime to perform a data migration does not exist. The reason behind the problem is that Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 R2 do not support an upgrade of clustered servers from previous versions, because of incompatibilities between the cluster versions.
    SQL Server 2012 SP1 provides customers a solution to do Availability Group migration from a lower version of Windows Cluster to a higher version of Windows Cluster. It can help customers to keep their SLA when upgrade their Windows Cluster operating systems.
  • Selective XML Index
    Selective XML Index allows users to promote certain paths from their XML documents that will be indexed. The improvement introduces a new type of XML index to SQL Server in addition to Primary XML Index (PXI). The new indexing will improve querying performance over data stored as XML in SQL Server, thus allow for much faster indexing of large XML data workloads and improve on scalability by reducing storage costs of the index itself.
  • FIX: DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS works with SELECT permission
    In prior releases of SQL Server, customers must have administrative or ownership permissions to run DBCC SHOW_STATISTICS successfully. PCU1 for SQL Server 2012 modifies the permission restrictions and allows users with SELECT permission to use this command.
    Note that that the following requirements exist for SELECT permissions to be sufficient to run the command:
    o Users must have permissions on all columns in the statistics object
    o Users must have permission on all columns in a filter condition (if one exists)
  • New dynamic function returns statistics properties
    The dynamic management function sys.dm_db_stats_properties returns properties of statistics for the specified database object (table or indexed view) in the current SQL Server database. User can use this function to return information such as the last time the statistics object was updated for the table or indexed view, or the number of rows that were sampled for statistical calculations.
  • SSMS Complete in Express
    SQL Server 2012 SP1 Express Editions (SQL Server Express With Tools, SQL Server Express COMP, SQL Server Express with Advanced Services and SQL Server Management Studio Express) will now ship the SSMS feature with functionalities that existed with the SSMS from Full Editions of SQL Server.
  • SlipStream Full installation
    SlipStream provides customers a pre-built “Slipstream image” consists of a compressed self-extracting .exe and a ‘.box’ payload file that contains a SQL Server 2012 RTM image (Setup.exe, MSI’s, etc.) along with the most recent Service Pack.
      o A pre-built “Slipstream image” consists of a compressed self-extracting .exe and a ‘.box’ payload file that contains an RTM image (Setup.exe, MSI’s, etc.) along with a given PCU image (MSP)
      o Customers will be able to perform new instance installations (or 2008/2008 R2 Upgrades) at the Service Pack functional level using a ‘single click’ install workflow.
  • Business Intelligence
    Business Intelligence enable self-service BI as a natural part of users day-to-day activities in Excel 2013:

    Discover, assess and audit user created spreadsheets via SharePoint Server 2013 Preview.
    Share and collaborate on self-service BI assets via SharePoint Server 2013 Preview and SQL Server 2012 SP1.

You can upgrade any of the following SQL Server 2012 editions:

  • SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition and Developer Edition
  • SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition
  • SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Edition
  • SQL Server 2012 Express Edition

    You can download the Beta from the following link http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34700&WT.mc_id=rss_alldownloads_all