When Microsoft announced that it was bringing its SQL Server database software to Linux came as a huge surprise back when the company first announced this in March of this year. Up to now, the preview was invite-only. Today Microsoft announced that every interested individual can try it and download the bits. That public preview is also part of the launch of the next version of SQL Server, which will be the very first one that is available for both Linux and Windows.
Due to its support for the Docker containers, MacOS users will also be benefitted by this decision of Microsoft.Microsoft is actually betting on containers as one of its main distribution mechanisms for the preview, which will be available soon on Azure Virtual Machines and the Docker Hub.
“This represents a major step in our journey to making SQL Server a true platform of choice across operating systems, development languages, data types, on-premises and the cloud,” Microsoft writes in today’s announcement.
For now, the Linux version will include all the standard SQL Server management features that come with the Windows version. These include advanced features like always-encrypted and row-level security, as well as in-memory column stores.
As Microsoft corporate VP Julia Liuson told me, it won’t include the business intelligence stack yet (though this part will be added over time). For users, though, what’s maybe most important is that they will soon be able to run SQL Server on Linux and in Linux-based Docker containers, giving them more choice in how they want to deploy their databases (assuming they decide to go with SQL Server and not one of its competitors, of course).
The new version of SQL Server will include improved support for R Services and a number of new machine learning and deep neural networking features.
SQL Server for Linux is just another example of how Microsoft’s view of computing platforms has changed in recent years. This move would’ve been unthinkable under its former CEO Steve Ballmer. Under Satya Nadella, however, the company’s mission is to bring its services and tools to where its customers are, even if that’s not on a Microsoft-owned operating system.
In addition to the SQL Server for Linux news, Microsoft also today announced the preview of Linux support for Azure App Service. Oh, and in order to its money where its mouth it, Microsoft is also joining the Linux Foundation.