SQL server on Linux – No April fools

Posted in: DBA Lounge, Microsoft SQL Server, Technical Track

Years ago, I got burned by an “April Fools” joke published by Steve Jones on sqlservercentral.com. He republished it as one of his favorites here.

Naturally, I had to rub my eyes today when I read that Microsoft announced that SQL Server 2016 would be coming to Linux.

There were mixed reactions on the internal SQL Server teams. I was afraid to respond to the thread, fearing I would get burned again. I quickly checked the date to confirm that the article hadn’t been resurrected.

One of the sentiments expressed in our internal chatter was that some of the DBAs love “Satya’s Microsoft” and I agree. I like what they’re doing, but I am very skeptical about the move to port SQL Server onto Linux.

I doubt this will enable new markets and new customer bases. I don’t think there are any large organizations who will suddenly decide to adopt the product because it will run on Linux.

One theory was that this move was to attract new developers who want to deploy multi-platform tech stacks. That could certainly be right, but I think PaaS satisfies that and many of the startup natures.

Other articles I read theorized it was a move towards SQL Server on Linux-powered containers.

I’m wondering what this will mean for future features. Will PowerShell or .NET be ported to Linux? What will change in the security model? Will clustering be available? Will a more RAC-like feature be available?

These are very interesting times and while this wasn’t a move that I was pining for, or even expected, I am excited to see where this is going.

I “applied” to test one of the early versions, and you can too.

What do you think? Are you excited about running SQL Server on Linux? When would you choose Linux over Windows?

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About the Author

Director of Consulting
Chris Presley loves order—making him a premier Microsoft SQL Server expert. Not only has he programmed and administered SQL Server, but he has also shared his expertise and passion with budding DBAs as SQL Server instructor at Conestoga College in Kitchener, Ontario. Drawing on his strong disaster-recovery skills, he monitors production environments to swiftly detect and resolve problems before they arise. A self-described adrenaline junkie, Chris likes tackling the biggest database problems and putting out the toughest fires—and hitting the road on his motorcycle.

1 Comment. Leave new

Thinking about this I really think it will be implemented via a substantially trimmed down or custom version of Windows. Running Windows on Linux via virtualization or in some sort of container has been done. So why re-write (port) so many DLLs and other software pieces to make a native Linux version of an existing app. Instead I think it will come with a very trimmed down and **specially designed** version of Windows bolted on the bottom – likely completely transparently to the user. This integrated Windows probably will have very limited access and a limited toolset. For example only SQL Server tools such as SSMS plus a few others like Perfmon for instrumentation and SQL Server counters. Likely much more restrictive and transparent than Windows Core.

So how is what I’m saying different than what we could already do via a VM or container (or in other words, what what MS announcing)? I think the answer is:

1) The underlying Windows-light will be built in: you’ll only install one product suite directly into Linux, not a VM with a separate OS and then SQL Server on top of it.
2) Extremely limited functionality and access (possibly no Windows or shell access at all, just the ability to run a small set of tools). The fact that Windows is there at all may not be apparent.
3) No Windows specific licenses required! Instead just the SQL Server licenses or CALs will be required.

Though I’m just guessing…..

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