Comparison of release dates and features.
2013 Oracle 12c - Multitenant, Automatic Data Optimization, New Redaction capabilities, Global Data Services, Data Guard Far Sync
2007 Oracle 11g - Cube Organized Materialized Views, Database Replay (performance analyzer), row-level compression, Referential Partitioning, Real Application Testing (Option)
2004 Oracle10g - Flashback Query, Data Pump, Automatic Storage Management, Backup Compression.
2002 Oracle9i Release 2 - Native XML database.
2001 Oracle9i Release 1 - RAC and Advanced Analytic Service (business intelligence), Fine-grained auditing.
2000 Oracle8i Release 2 - Oracle tools integrated in middle tier: 9i Application Server available.
1999 First RDBMS on Linux.
1998 Oracle8i - Java support, SQLJ, XML and Oracle interMedia.
1997 Version 8 - First web database, object-oriented development and multimedia, Binary datatypes, Table Partitioning. Very Large Database (VLDB) features.
1995 Version 7 for 64-bit RDBMS
1994 Version 7 for PC.
1992 Version 7 - for UNIX, distributed transactions, stored procedures, triggers, declarative referential integrity, User-Defined Functions, Cost based optimizer, Varchar2 datatype, ANSI SQL92, Parallel operations including query, load, and index creation.
1989 Version 6.2 - Symmetric cluster access using Oracle Parallel Server.
1988 Version 6 - Oracle Financial Applications built on relational database.
1986 Version 5 - First distributed database, first true client/server database, VAX-cluster support, and distributed queries. Row Level Locking.
1984 Version 4 - First portable toolset; first RDBMS for IBM PC, introduced read consistency, was ported to multiple platforms, first interoperability between PC and server.
1982 Version 3 - First portable database (mainframes, minicomputers, and PC); first RDBMS to support SMP
1980 Version 2 - First commercial SQL database (PDP11/VAX)
1979 Version 1 - Not comercially released.
2014: SQL Server 2014 Backup to Microsoft Azure, Multiple TempDB Database Files, Live Query Statistics, Columnstore indexes now include updateable nonclustered columnstore indexes.
2012: SQL Server 2012 AlwaysOn Availability Groups (fail over databases in groups), Big Data Support (Connector for Apache Hadoop NoSQL), Columnstore Indexes (compressed index for DW queries), Sequences, User-Defined Server Roles (server wide), Enhanced Auditing in standard edition, Enhanced PowerShell Support, Distributed Replay (equivalent to Oracle's Real Application Testing), PowerView (BI reporting toolkit), BI Semantic Model (replacing UDM cubes)
2008: SQL Server 2008 R2 - PowerPivot for SharePoint, Multi-Server Administration, Master Data Services (audit data as it changes over time)
2008: SQL Server 2008 - Backup Compression, Data compression, Resource Governor, Transparent Data Encryption, Fine-grained auditing.
2005: SQL Server 2005 - Mirroring, Failover clustering, Database Snapshots, dedicated admin connection (Startup restrict) , Online index rebuild, Online database restore, Support for 64-bit, granular permissions, encryption, native XML data type
2003: SQL Server 2000 Enterprise edition 64 bit - Itanium 2 support.
2000: SQL Server 2000 - XML and Data Mining, also improved DTS and data analysis tools.
User-Defined Functions, Indexed Views, INSTEAD OF and AFTER Triggers, Cascading Referential Integrity Constraints, Multiple Instances.
1998: SQL Server 7.0 - Data Transformation Services, OLAP Services and Microsoft Repository. Row Level Locking.
1996: SQL Server 6.5 - distributed data and transactions, OLE-based management framework, ANSI SQL 92
1993: Renamed as SQL Server 4.2 (Windows NT)
1992: SQL Server beta released. Sybase codebase, Database triggers and stored procedures, roll-forward and roll-back transaction recovery, Client support for Macintosh (Microsoft Windows)
Microsoft Support Lifecycle - key dates
SQL Server Version numbers