Wait wait wait. Wait right there. Did someone just announce that there is SQL Server 2016 going to be on Linux? If you are currently reading technology news around the web, then yes, Microsoft did announce this. Allow me to breakdown what is important regarding this major announcement and historical shift of change.
The flying pigs that we have been dreaming of are real when Microsoft announced that SQL Server was going to be on Linux. They did this without warning or notice, and the majority of people believe that it is unthinkable: producing a version of SQL Server for Linux itself.
This shakeup is huge for Microsoft and has some amazing implications far beyond SQL Server. I am going to give several reasons into why this matters so much to us — and for Microsoft, their customers, the cloud providers, and the rest of the world of Linux.
SQL Server is very Likable
For those who lack knowledge regarding SQL Server’s features, it could be pretty hard to understand the appeal of the product holds for enterprises. SQL Server 2014 and 2016 both have introduced features that appeal to everyone trying to build modern enterprise applications and software. One major feature is in-memory processing by way of table pinning. They even have support for JSON, encrypted backups, Azure backend storage and disaster recovery, and good integration with R for analytics. Having access to all of these features without having to jump platforms, or at least running a Windows Server somewhere, is a major bonus.
Cloud Economics made this all Possible
Larry Seltzer said at ZDNet, and I also agree with it. As more enterprise data centers move into the cloud, even some will remain by necessity in-house, Linux will always remain appealing as a target platform because of it’s both economical and well-understood.
Seltzer argues that:
SQL Server for Linux keeps Microsoft in the picture even as customers move more of their computing into public and private clouds.
In a world that Microsoft lacks a presence on platforms other than Windows is a world without Microsoft to begin with, period.
A Fuck You to Oracle
Another major motive, directly referencing to the title of this section, is a move that shot at Oracle. Microsoft is taking a piece of the database software marketplace with this move.
Oracle has a good revenue stream within the commercial database market, and we can thank that to it’s costly and complex licensing. However, SQL Server has the largest number of licensed instances. Linux customers looking for a solid commercial quality database backed by a major vendor now won’t have to settle for Oracle. People can just easily setup SQL server instances of Windows Server to get a SQL Server fix.
Other Database Platforms are in No Danger
This part goes without needing to say much at all. Very few if any MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL users would switch to SQL Server, even if its the free SQL Server Express. Those who want a truly robust, commercial grade open sourced database solution already have PostgreSQL as their option. Those who tend to opt for MySQL or MariaDB because it’s very convenient and familiar won’t usually bother with SQL Server.
This is Absolutely Huge
Just the fact that Microsoft is working with other platforms outside of the world of Windows is amazing under the CEO of Satay Nadella. They have, for the first time, issued one of their server products on another platform.
People have been wanting proof that Microsoft is changing and getting better. Well, here is that proof you have been looking for. Under Steve Ballmer’s rule…”Linux is cancer” reigned supreme, the most Microsoft could muster was a grudging admission of Linux’s existence, if Ballmer was in a good mood. Now there’s the sense that Linux is a crucial part of Microsoft’s future and a vital component in its continued survival and success.