SQL Server Data Tools 16.3 Release

The SQL Server Data Tools team is pleased to announce an update for SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) is now available. The SSDT 16.3 release introduces new Tabular Model Explorer, enhancements for Always Encrypted experience with new key management dialogs and various bug fixes.

Get it here: Download SSDT GA 16.3 for Visual Studio 2015 and Visual Studio 2013

This release will be available through Visual Studio Extensions and Updates notification soon.

Download Data-Tier Application Framework (August 2016)

  • The version number is 13.0.3411.1
  • Note: from next month this will use the same version number as SSDT, in this release it is still tagged as August 2016.

What’s new in SSDT?

Release Versioning & Numbering

Releases are now tagged numerically rather than by month. This aligns with the new SSMS policy and simplifies cases where we have multiple releases or hotfixes in a month. This release is 16.3 which means the third update after RTM release. Any hotfix will be 16.3.1 and so on, with our next update (planned for next month) being 16.4.

Analysis Services - Tabular Model Explorer

Tabular Model Explorer lets you conveniently navigate through the various metadata objects in a model, such as data sources, tables, measures, and relationships. It is implemented as a separate tools window that you can display by opening the View menu in Visual Studio, pointing to Other Windows, and then clicking Tabular Model Explorer. The Tabular Model Explorer appears by default in the Solution Explorer area on a separate tab. Tabular Model Explorer organizes the metadata objects in a tree structure that closely resembles the schema of a tabular 1200 model and many more new features. Try the new Tabular Model Explorer in SSDT August update today!

Database Tools - Always Encrypted easy provisioning for Column Master Key and Column Encryption Key Always Encrypted is a highly anticipated security feature in Azure SQL Database and SQL Server 2016. Always Encrypted allows clients to encrypt sensitive data inside client applications and never reveal the encryption keys to the Database Engine (SQL Database or SQL Server), significantly enhancing security.

What's in this release

This release provides new Always Encrypted Key management dialogs to easily add Column Master Key or Column Encryption Key to your database project or a live database in SQL Server Object Explorer. This release supports certificates in Windows Certificate Store. In the upcoming releases, Azure Key Vault and CNG Providers will be supported.


  • While creating Column Master Key or Column Encryption Key, you may experience that the changes are not reflected on SQL Server Object Explorer immediately after clicking Update Database. To workaround, refresh the database node in SQL Server Object Explorer.

  • If you try to encrypt a column in a table with data from SQL Server Object Explorer, you may experience a failure. This feature is currently supported only in SSDT database project and SSMS. The support for SQL Server Object Explorer will be enabled in a later release.

Fixed / Improved this month

Database Tools

SSDT: Connect bug 1898001 Fixed a column description issue with 128 character limitation
SSDT: Fixed an issue where publishing a database from VS did not apply DatabaseServiceObjective property in the publish profile xml
SSDT: Connect bug 2900167 Fixed a unit test issue for incorrectly leaving temp files
SSDT: Fixed an issue where Retention Period combo box on Database Settings is truncated
SSDT: Fixed an issue for the missing verification of empty old password on SQL CLR project properties while changing the password
DACFx: Fixed an issue about DACFx compatibility level is not updated for SqlAzureV12 error
DACFx: Fixed an issue where IsAutoGeneratedHistoryTable property is incorrectly excluded from model comparison

Analysis Services & Reporting Services

SSDT: Fixed an issue that Tabular model cannot be saved when the server connection is lost
SSDT: Fixed an issue that SSDT becomes unresponsive due to a possible infinite loop issue in AS
SSDT: Fixed a DAX expression issue that caused inconsistent behaviors based on how you commit the expression
SSDT: Fixed a VS crash issue when creating KPIs
SSDT: Fixed an issue that generated invalid reports for SQL Server 2008 R2, 2012 and 2014
SSDT: Fixed a Hierarchy order issue that caused an infinite loop error for .dwpro project
SSDT: Fixed a RS RDL issue where downgrading RDL required a full rebuild which caused user's confusion
SSDT: Fixed a KPI issue where Hide From Client Tools had no effect


To prevent an accidental data loss, deployment that requires data motion on a table with Row Level Security is blocked by default. To override the default behavior, use  SqlPackage.exe with option /p:AllowUnsafeRowLevelSecurityDataMovement=true.

Contact us:

If you have any question or feedback, please ping @sqldatatools on twitter, visit our forum and for bugs please create bug reports on our Microsoft Connect page. We are fully committed to improve the SSDT experience and look forward to hearing from you!