Leland points out this is not Microsoft's first foray into in-memory technology. Both PowerPivot and Power View use in-memory technologies to allow users to quickly manipulate large swaths of data within Excel.
Microsoft announced the new technology at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) Summit, being held this week in Seattle. Microsoft unveiled a few other new products at the conference as well
The company also announced that it would soon release the next version of its data warehouse appliance, SQL Server 2012 Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW). Using a new data processing engine called PolyBase, this version of PDW will be able to run queries against both relational data and non-relational data managed by Apache Hadoop. Hadoop queries will be channeled through the Apache Hive data warehouse software.
The company has also released SQL Server 2012 SP1 (Service Pack 1), which, among other features, includes the ability for Excel 2013 users to work directly with SQL Server data.
Microsoft did not divulge any details about when the next version of SQL Server would be released.