Microsoft plans to open up access to a number of features around SQL Server 2016 on Linux. It includes better in-memory database, R, and data warehousing support.
The popular Microsoft SQL Server will now be available on Linux, revealed the executive vice president of Cloud and Enterprise Group at Microsoft, Scott Guthrie in a blog post today. This can be considered a significant shift from Microsoft’s earlier stand on the open-source Linux platform that has even been likened to cancer by ex-CEO Steve Ballmer.
“SQL Server on Linux will provide customers with even more flexibility in their data solution,” Guthrie writes. “One with mission-critical performance, industry-leading TCO, best-in-class security, and hybrid cloud innovations — like Stretch Database which lets customers access their data on-premises and in the cloud whenever they want at low cost — all built in.”
Under new CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft is now increasingly reliant on cloud-based services and software subscriptions such as its Office 365 suite. Under the circumstances, to open up SQL Server to Linux makes sense in that about a quarter of all servers running on the Microsoft Azure cloud service are Linux based.
However, Microsoft has also clarified that it is the core features comprising of a relational database of the SQL Server that would be available in the beginning. Further availability of other components will be based on how the current set-up is received and what other components user demand in future. Microsoft further clarified they are not making the SQL Server open source. Instead, the popular server-based database is being adapted to run on the Linux platform.
Microsoft has been pushing for making the Azure cloud compatible with open source software or those from companies other than Microsoft. The move to make SQL Server available on Linux can be considered to be a significant step towards that goal.
However, while the SQL Server has a huge user base among the small and medium companies, it is Oracle that the who’s who of world’s biggest companies relies on. Further, other open-source databases such as MySQL or PostgreSQL are already extremely popular on Linux, which makes one wonder if there would be a significant shift in loyalty towards SQL Server, that too when it is available with only the core capabilities.
Experts though opine that making SQL Server available on Linux could still be profitable for several businesses as this would lure them in to pay for only the SQL Server license without requiring paying for Windows Server as well.