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Microsoft opens up to open source with SQL Server on Linux

Microsoft put aside its rocky relationship with open source and will release SQL Server on Linux in mid-2017. This won't be a simple process, but it could net Microsoft new customers.

After years of having a rocky relationship with open source technology, Microsoft plans to release a version of SQL Server on Linux in mid-2017.

"This is a massive, massive change," said Denny Cherry, owner and principal consultant of Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has opened up to open source. Last year, the company made Azure Data Lake services available on the Linux-based operating system Ubuntu. "They got into a much friendlier space with Linux," Cherry said. "[SQL Server on Linux] just makes sense for Microsoft. I think the next big step was to say, 'We're making this awesome software available for a platform we don't own.'"

Cherry doesn't expect Microsoft's enterprise customers to move from Windows to Linux. He said he sees the target audience as younger open source developers and those working in application development. "I see new applications coming up, with these new developers [who] are running PHP with SQL Server in the background," Cherry said.

I think this is a good way for SQL Server to grow its reach and get more customers using it.
Denny Cherryowner and principal consultant, Denny Cherry & Associates Consulting

"I think [Microsoft] did it to get a new set of people into the ecosystem and using the product," Cherry said. "I think this is a good way for SQL Server to grow its reach and get more customers using it." He said he sees Microsoft gaining new customers by providing developers with the ability to use SQL Server on the platform they already have and are used to using.

Cherry recommended that SQL Server developers familiarize themselves with Linux. "It's going to show up in your environment, probably. It's worth getting to know how to patch and how to build. It's the next big thing to deal with in the database platform."

And developers also can start becoming familiar with SQL Server. Microsoft has made available a private preview of SQL Server on Linux for those who want to test the data management and business analytics platform before its release date.

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