At SQLPASS a couple of months ago, Microsoft announced SQL Server Denali and, at during the conference, handed out CTP1. Nice. But, the conference keynotes and sessions on it alluded to many more of the upcoming Denali features than appear on the CTP1. That's all well and good, but I've heard tell of one person who installed the CTP1 to show a client a feature he'd heard about, then spent time in front of the client looking for the feature (and no, it wasn't me).
To clarify things, you can reference the What's New for CTP1 in BOL. There's even a blogger (I forget the reference) who cut-and-pasted all the "what's new"s into a blog entry (for reference without using all the BOL links, I guess). But BOL What's New is somewhat incomplete in some areas. So, here's a list I made up after listening to the SQLPASS keynotes yesterday. For your experimenting pleasure.
Available in CTP1
Always On HADR – subset of features (see team blog post)
Full-text – Property-based searches, better NEAR predicate
Spatial Enhancements (see whitepaper)
Impact Analysis and Lineage
User-defined Server Roles
Tools enhancements and SSMS uses VS2010 shell
XEvent enhancements – subset of enhancements
XEvents and SSIS Server in PowerShell provider, and Always On cmdlets.
Announced at SQLPASS, but not available in CTP1
Always on (additional features coming)
Full-text – FileTable
Columnar Storage/Indexes (Vertipak in Engine and SSAS)
BIDS integration with Visual Studio 2010
Data Quality Services – SSIS and Standalone
Default schemas for groups
Single Model for Analysis and Reporting
Master Data Services tab in Excel
Announced at TechEd 2011, but not in CTP1
T-SQL Analytical Function and OVER clause enhancements
Additional T-SQL functions
XEvent Session create/display GUI and parity with SQLProfiler
XEvents in SMO
Expansion of XEvents to more subsystems (SSAS, Replication, PDW)
Audit Enhancements (including Server Audit Specification for all SKUs)
More Spatial enhancements
StreamInsight 1.2 (technically not part of Denali)
As always, corrections or additions are always welcome. You'll have to send them to me in email or on Twitter, though, I had to turn blog comments off.