Five years ago, who would have imagined Microsoft’s U-turn into the arms of Linux, especially after Microsoft referred to Linux and Open Source being synonymous with cancer? Last week it joined the Linux Foundation as a Platinum member and SQL Server on Linux is now in public preview.
Well the tide turned and, after open sourcing .NET and rendering it capable of functioning across multiple platforms, Microsoft is steadily making flagship products available on Linux, the start being made with Azure Cloud services.
To consolidate its new position, at the Connect() developer event last week Microsoft announced that is joining the non-profit Linux Foundation at the highest level (Platinum) and John Gossman, architect on the Microsoft Azure team, will sit on the foundation’s Board of Directors.
It was in March 2016 that Microsoft first announced that the next version of SQL Server, slated for mid-2017, would be available on Linux in both cloud and on-premises versions. Having been in private preview since then Microsoft has now announced its public preview.
Microsoft’s sudden love for Linux undoubtedly sprang from the still ongoing Cloud war. With the dominance of Linux in the server market and in the cloud in particular Microsoft has no choice but to support Linux – an Azure without Linux is unthinkable and unprofitable. However, despite Microsoft open sourcing its programming related tools, environments, libraries and frameworks such as .NET, Roslyn, ChakraCore, Powershell and most notably Entity Framework, it still seems reluctant to open source its flagship products such as Windows, Office and Visual Studio.
Not with SQL Server though, this is different; but why? Because it’s the next logical step in a well planned strategic attempt to conquer the SaaS Cloud, where everything nowadays has shifted, catering for Azure clients’ needs in a RDBMS backend. The notion is, why not capture a hefty slice of this market by making SQL Server available to Linux backends, which exclusively power the Cloud, instead of losing clients to other Linux enabled but non-Microsoft solutions like Oracle?
In this attempt, Microsoft furthermore reinforced SQL Server’s position with news that all programmability features previously available only to Enterprise editions will be carried unchanged to all other 2016 flavours as well.