Doctrine DBAL integration
In contrast to other systems TYPO3 always provided a database abstraction layer before anybody else in the industry even thought about it. Every TYPO3 developer knows $GLOBALS['TYPO3_DB'] by heart and keeps a steady love/hate relationship with it. This programming interface allows the CMS to run on database engines besides the native MySQL server, but it always came with a price tag: It was complex to run TYPO3 on anything beside MySQL under certain conditions and lots of time and money had to be put into it, especially for non-standard scenarios.
This now changes with TYPO3 CMS version 8.1: The de-facto industry standard Doctrine DBAL has been integrated into the system together with a slim access API that adds necessary TYPO3 specific flavors into the mix. This solution is much more powerful and reliable than good-old TYPO3_DB, and the barrier for new developers is lower since many know Doctrine DBAL from other PHP applications already. The database abstraction is now built-in and always loaded - not "one more thing to think about" anymore. This makes it much easier to run on different DBMS like Oracle, PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQLServer.
A concept to carefully phase out the old API has been established and currently both programming interfaces run in parallel. More than a thousand calls need to be replaced to make full use of the new layer in TYPO3’s core in upcoming releases. Therefore help is welcome and a great opportunity for agencies giving developers some free time to step in and educate themselves towards cloud hosting challenges in the near future: Helping now will reduce the time to upgrade own projects later since devs already know the bells and whistles and were trained by the quality-loving core developers.