Thursday, March 17, 2016

SQL Server on Linux

I wrote a much longer piece about SQL Server on Linux on my IT leadership blog ("Coaching Buttons") but wanted to share a brief summary here for those who didn't see the news.

Last week, Microsoft made an amazing announcement: they are bringing SQL Server to Linux. Quoting Scott Guthrie - Executive Vice President, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Microsoft:
Today I’m excited to announce our plans to bring SQL Server to Linux as well. This will enable SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud. We are bringing the core relational database capabilities to preview today, and are targeting availability in mid-2017.
I find this interesting because of Microsoft's history. There was a time not so very long ago that Microsoft feared open source software. Former CEO Steve Ballmer once referred to open source as a "cancer" that would taint everything it touched.

Over time, Microsoft advanced their strategy to instill "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt" when talking about open source software. The goal here was to raise unanswered questions that cause C-level executives to fear open source software. For example, "Look at the copyleft. If you use open source software in your enterprise, you'll need to give away your proprietary source code to anyone who asks." (No, you don't.) This led to Ballmer's famous "cancer" statement.

But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft seems to have genuinely changed its tune. And now, we find Microsoft plans to release a version of SQL Server for Linux. I'm excited by this news. I don't have any Linux systems at my new organization (I work in local government, and the culture of government seems to be very pro-Windows) but I want to shift our IT organizational culture to eventually embrace other options, including Linux. SQL Server for Linux opens up new possibilities for us. And for that, I welcome this news.
image: Wikimedia (public domain)


  1. I also see this as good news.

    I am a bit allergic to the notion that Microsoft is open-source friendly now, though, because that's simply not true -- for example, it is still using its patents to blackmail Android vendors.

    1. All things are relative, though. And blackmailing Android vendors isn't really anti-OSS... it's just plain anti.

      Personally, I think this is great - though probably not for the reasons Microsoft would prefer. Through various acquisitions, my traditionally UNIX-oriented employer now has a number of products built on a Microsoft stack. Being able to move even part of that stack (the database, and the .NET code) from Windows to Linux is a very good starting point for evolving it in a direction better aligned with the rest of the company.