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Microsoft SQL Server to Land on Linux

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Microsoft’s executive vice president of the cloud and enterprise group Scott Guthrie announced SQL Server is coming to Linux, thus once more confirming Microsoft’s new course on open source software.

SQL Server will provide the core relational database capabilities on Linux, says Guthrie, aiming to make it possible to use SQL Server as a data platform across Windows Server and Linux. Therefore, Microsoft’s announcement does not seem to include the porting to Linux of non-core related features such as UI management tools, etc.

According to Ars Technica’s Peter Bright, Microsoft’s move could be driven either by the existence of a large number of corporations that are using Linux and want to use MS SQL Server, or by a large number of organizations that are currently using MS SQL Server and would like to reduce their licensing costs by switching to Linux. In fact, several people on Hacker News have made the comment that Windows licensing costs are tiny in comparison to SQL Server’s, and what this announcement opens is the possibility for organization to consolidate their handling of cloud infrastructure, which is often centered around Linux.

In the same announcement, Guthrie also highlighted a few new capabilities that MSSQL 2016 brings to the table, such as:

  • always-on data encryption while at rest, in motion and in memory;
  • in-memory database support, increasing performance up to 30–100x;
  • support for using R to do real-time predictive analytics.

It is not clear, though, whether this features will be part of the initial Linux release.

Microsoft’s announcement of SQL Server for Linux follows other recent announcements by Microsoft reaffirming their support for open source software, including Xamarin’s acquisition and joining the Eclipse Foundation.

SQL Server will be generally available on Linux sometime mid 2017, with a private preview being available now.

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