In this second article of our 2017 Database Trends series, we analyze Microsoft’s SQL Server on Linux offering.   We evaluate the impact the new offering will have on the database market arena and, more specifically, what the consequences will be for the Microsoft vs Oracle war for DBMS market dominance. Each analysis begins with a detailed examination of the trend and concludes with an RDX “takeaway” that includes specific recommendations. The series also analyzes the following 2017 trends:

On March 17th, 2016, Microsoft EVP Scott Guthrie unveiled Microsoft's plans to offer SQL Server on the Linux operating system.  In his announcement, Guthrie stated that SQL Server 2016 on Linux will be available sometime in mid-2017. This significant shift in Microsoft’s strategy provides customers with the flexibility to install its flagship database on Windows or Linux, two of the industry’s leading database server operating systems. This dramatically erodes one of Oracle’s strongest competitive advantages, which was its ability to run on both Windows and Linux.  Microsoft’s offering will now be able to challenge Oracle on one of its most popular platforms. Initially, the customers that will quickly benefit from this increased competition will be those shops that have a mix of operating systems that include Linux and WinOS and use both Oracle and SQL Server as their database products.

SQL Server on Linux - Cloud Positioning

Making its product available on the Linux operating system also allows Microsoft to better position its cloud DBMS offerings.  Linux was the first cloud platform and is the dominant OS for both cloud compute and storage.  Most major cloud providers, except for Microsoft Azure, utilize Linux as their operating system of choice. As with most initial software product releases, RDX expected SQL Server on Linux to have a “somewhat limited” feature set.   We were pleased to find that Microsoft has stated that it will incorporate many advanced features into the first implementation of SQL Server on Linux.  Some of the more compelling features that captured the database community’s interest included:

  • Uses standard based installation packages for Linux and YUM for Fedora-based distributions

  • Monitored using existing toolsets

  • Full support for Linux file paths in T-SQL

  • Support for Linux HA solutions including Pacemaker and Corosync

  • Toolsets that include SQL Server Management Studio, SQL Server Data Tools, Powershell module, Visual Studio code extensions and Migration Assistant support for Linux

  • Column-based data storage

  • In-Memory OLTP

  • Row-level security

  • Dynamic data masking

  • Always Encrypted and Transparent Data Encryption

  • Active Directory authentication

Each subsequent release of any database product will contain numerous new features and functionality. A competitive marketplace forces all software vendors to maximize their product’s inherent feature set.

RDX Takeaway – SQL Server on Linux

Microsoft has selected RDX as an early beta tester of its SQL Server on Linux offering.   Although we can’t say much, we can say we are very pleased with the product.  As SQL Server on Linux continues to mature, the product will become more robust, more intelligent and more standardized.  We fully expect that future releases of SQL Server on Linux will contain a host of new features and functionality designed to capture the consumers’ attention and increase the product’s adoption rate. As a result, its popularity will continue to grow, as would any technology product possessing these traits.  Organizations will increasingly view SQL Server on Linux as an attractive alternative to Oracle for new database application implementations as well as existing application DBMS conversions. Impact on Oracle   In addition, SQL Server on Linux will strengthen Microsoft’s cloud DBMS offering.  Microsoft’s flagship database product running on Linux will allow it to improve its competitive stance against Amazon and Oracle.  It will erode both competitors’ market share, resulting in a continuing revenue decline for Oracle’s core DBMS product offerings.