Microsoft announces SQL Server for Linux
Today's Microsoft is quite different than the company that existed 15 or 20 years ago. Since the cloud and mobile revolutions happened, Microsoft no longer enjoys the position of near absolute power it used to have in earlier days. The latest indication that things have changed at Microsoft is the company's announcement that SQL Server is coming to Linux.
Scott Guthrie, Executive VP of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise Group, posted the announcement on Microsoft's site:
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.
SQL Server on Linux will provide customers with even more flexibility in their data solution. One with mission-critical performance, industry-leading TCO, best-in-class security, and hybrid cloud innovations – like Stretch Database which lets customers access their data on-premises and in the cloud whenever they want at low cost – all built in.
"This is an enormously important decision for Microsoft, allowing it to offer its well-known and trusted database to an expanded set of customers," said Al Gillen, group vice president, enterprise infrastructure, at IDC. "By taking this key product to Linux Microsoft is proving its commitment to being a cross platform solution provider. This gives customers choice and reduces the concerns for lock-in. We would expect this will also accelerate the overall adoption of SQL Server."
"SQL Server's proven enterprise experience and capabilities offer a valuable asset to enterprise Linux customers around the world," said Paul Cormier, President, Products and Technologies, Red Hat. "We believe our customers will welcome this news and are happy to see Microsoft further increasing its investment in Linux. As we build upon our deep hybrid cloud partnership, spanning not only Linux, but also middleware, and PaaS, we're excited to now extend that collaboration to SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, bringing enterprise customers increased database choice."
Why is Microsoft releasing SQL Server for Linux?
So what is motivating Microsoft to release SQL Server for Linux? After all, the company has never done things like this out of the goodness of its heart. A writer at The Register analyzed Microsoft's decision to figure out why SQL Server will be released for Linux.
Tim Anderson reports for The Register:
What has changed today? "Windows everywhere" no longer works, thanks to Microsoft's fumbling failures in mobile and an industry shift towards web applications and cloud computing, where Linux servers predominate. Even on the desktop, Macs at the high end and the odd Google Chromebook at the low end have weakened Microsoft's hold. Seen in this light, the appearance of SQL Server on Linux is a sign of weakness, not strength.
Porting SQL Server to Linux increases its potential market, and will help Microsoft to compete with Oracle and to run on public clouds such as AWS (Amazon Web Services) which are mainly Linux-based.
The positive spin, then, is Microsoft is strengthening its cross-platform development platform and opening new markets by bringing SQL Server to Linux. It should be seen alongside .NET Core, Linux on Azure, and other initiatives like the Linux R Server acquired from Revolution Analytics.
The negative spin is that this is a symptom of the weakening hold of Windows in the IT industry.
Linux users share their thoughts about SQL Server
The news that Microsoft has decided to release SQL Server for Linux caught the attention of folks in the Linux subreddit, and they shared their thoughts about what it means for Microsoft and for Linux:
Bloodguard: "Might be interesting for orgs that have massive Transact-SQL spaghetti they have to keep using. I imagine the sales drones at Oracle may have pooped their pants a little when they heard about this."
Varikonniemi : "Microsoft will soon switch over to the Linux kernel, run backward compatibility through WINE and WINDOWS becomes known as the first professional UI for Linux."
Sys: "Amazing that Linux has become so relevant that Microsoft has to allow it to run on its cloud platform and now it's porting server apps to Linux."
Mr_Unix: ""If Microsoft ever does applications for Linux it means I've won." --Linus Torvalds."
Cypherzero: "...MS is actually admitting defeat. It's like they've finally shrugged their shoulders and said, "Well, if you can't beat 'em..."
Timelord: "They didn't admit defeat. They are skating to where the puck is going. There's no money in consumer OS software anymore. OS X is free. Linux is free. Windows is practically* free. Heck, most apps in app stores are free. The money is in the SAAS and cloud software."
Kamnxt: "And then they'll drop support for the linux versions and all the users will have to either use an old, unsecure version, rewrite all the code, or switch to Windows Server."
CreativeGPX: "I guess I'd call the modern Microsoft style "All roads lead to Rome." Basically, no matter where you start, you have a pathway to evolve toward Microsoft's ecosystem. If you're a developer, you can use their recent purchase Xamarin to target Android and iOS, but that's a pathway to Windows. If you're a gmail user, you can use their well-received mail app, but that's a pathway to outlook. If you use MSSQL on Linux, there's a pathway to using MSSQL in Azure.
A Microsoft person said something along these lines a while back. They are focusing on small, incremental wins that get people deeper into their ecosystem, rather than something as aggressive as in the past. It's sort of the gamification of Microsoft product purchases haha."
Redwallhp: "They're trying to extinguish Linux as a whole. They'll get their barbed hooks into as many aspects of Linux as they can, and then they'll mire it in some sort of IP hell and chase businesses away again.
Right now they're in the "slowly replace components" phase. Putting .NET on Linux is a huge trap. Software will start to depend on it, and then they'll poison it."
Lisurgec: "They have a lot more to gain by simply...not poisoning it. Why spend the effort killing Linux when you can bill for it monthly by adding it to your ecosystem?"
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