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The Opportunity: SQL Server on Linux

Yes, you read that right. SQL Server runs on Linux. In fact, it’s been possible for a few years now! Since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft’s CEO, the company has taken a turn in their approach to competitors (sometimes addressed as evils or even, diseases) who have now become allies.

The recent efforts to put cloud and services first, as opposed to products, is setting the Redmond, WA company in a new direction. It is actually encouraging customers to use Linux —as long as it is done within their cloud. This new direction of growth and flexibility has provided more opportunities for Windows-only products. The biggest takeaway from this is being able to have products such as SQL Server working really well in a platform that once tried to kill it at all costs.

There you have it, you can run SQL Server on Linux in the cloud or on-premise. You might be wondering, what Linux distributions support SQL Server? The following are the currently supported ones:

  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3, 7.4, 7.5 or 7.6 Server
  • SUSE Enterprise Linux Server v12 SP2
  • Ubuntu 16.04 LTS
  • Docker Engine 1.8+ on Windows, Mac or Linux

These are the supported versions but it might just work on others so you can try them, just know Microsoft won’t give you any help with them. But wait! —Not everything is honey and flowers in Microsoft-land! There are still some technologies that are not available right now but you can count on them becoming available in the future. Some of these are:

  • Replication (transactional or merge)
  • Stretch DB
  • PolyBase
  • Filetable, FILESTREAM
  • CLR assemblies with the EXTERNAL_ACCESS or UNSAFE permission set
  • Database mirroring
  • AD Authentication for Linked Servers and Availability Groups
  • SQL Server Browser
  • SQL Server R services
  • Analysis Services
  • Reporting Services
  • Data Quality Services
  • Master Data Services
  • Distributed Transaction Coordinator (DTC)

So what's next? I'm glad you asked. If your infrastructure is built on Linux or you might be moving to Linux in the future you could set up a test lab and try it. As noted before, some services are not available yet but, chances are, most if not all you need can be used right away.

Need help? Talk to us. We can help set up your test lab and run some workloads for your evaluation. Then we can transition what you have to a production-ready environment. You're not alone and we are ready to help.

Jose R. Guay

About the author

Jose R. Guay

Software Architect

SQL Server, Linux, News