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8 no-bull reasons why SQL Server on Linux is huge for Microsoft

Serdar Yegulalp | March 8, 2016
SQL Server on Linux? You're not dreaming. Here's what is important about this historic shift on Microsoft's part

Still, Microsoft has been trying to carve more slices from Oracle's pie, and new customers seeking a solution of Oracle's caliber on Linux are likely to gravitate to SQL Server on the basis of cost alone, now that the choice exists.

4. MySQL/MariaDB and PostgreSQL are in no danger

This part goes almost without saying. Few if any MySQL/MariaDB or PostgreSQL users would switch to SQL Server -- even its free SQL Server Express edition. Those who want a robust, commercial-grade open source database already have PostgreSQL as an option, and those who opt for MySQL/MariaDB because it's convenient and familiar won't bother with SQL Server.

5. We're still in the dark about the details

So far Microsoft hasn't provided any specifics about which editions of SQL Serverwill be available for Linux. In addition to SQL Server Express, Microsoft offers Standard, Enterprise, and Business Intelligence SKUs, all with widely varying feature sets. Ideally, Microsoft will offer all editions of SQL Server, but it's more practical for the company to start with the edition that has the largest market (Standard, most likely) and work outward.

6. There's a lot in SQL Server to like

For those not well-versed in SQL Server's feature set, it might be hard to understand the appeal the product holds for enterprise customers. But SQL Server2014 and 2016 both introduced features appealing to everyone trying to build modern enterprise business applications: in-memory processing by way of table pinning, support for JSON, encrypted backups, Azure-backed storage and disaster recovery, integration with R for analytics, and so on. Having access to all this without needing to jump platforms -- or at the very least make room for Windows Server somewhere -- is a bonus.

7. The economics of the cloud made this all but inevitable

So saith Larry Seltzer at ZDNet, and I agree. As more enterprise computing moves into the cloud (although some will by necessity remain in-house), Linux will remain appealing as a target platform because it's both economical and well-understood as a cloud environment.

As Seltzer argues, "SQL Server for Linux keeps Microsoft in the picture even as customers move more of their computing into public and private clouds." A world where Microsoft doesn't have a presence on platforms other than Windows is a world without Microsoft, period.

8. This is only the beginning

Seltzer also believes other Microsoft server applications, like Sharepoint Server and Exchange Server, could make the jump to Linux in time.

The biggest sticking point is not whether the prospective audience for those products exists on Linux, but whether the products have dependencies on Windows that aren't easily waved off. SQL Server might have been the first candidate for Linux deployment in part because it had the smallest number of such dependencies.


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