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November 16, 2016

Microsoft SQL Server Supports Linux

George Leopold

(Spectral-Design/Shutterstock)

Microsoft widened its embrace of the Linux kernel with a preview release this week of its next SQL Server, further extending its business analytics platform to run on open-source distributions.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced on Wednesday (Nov. 16) a public preview of its latest SQL Server, marking the first time its flagship database platform will run on both Linux and Windows. The move means applications can be developed on Linux, Docker containers, or macOS via Docker. Database workloads can then be deployed on-premises or in the cloud.

The latest release also includes a suite of server management and data tools designed to support the SQL Server running on either Windows or Linux. It also includes native Linux installations for Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) Enterprise Linux and Ubuntu. Packages for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server will be released soon, according to a company blog post.

Microsoft unveiled SQL Server on Linux in March, promising in-memory database support for online transaction processing (OLTP) and other database workloads with performance improvements that include up to a 100-fold increase in reads and a 30-fold boost in writes.

The software giant recently claimed 1 million predictions per second on its SQL Server incorporating OLTP advances and machine learning algorithms.

Earlier this year, Microsoft released its R Server, a rebranded version of a platform acquired last year to buy Revolution Analytics, a provider of software and services for the R programming language. Along with Windows 64-bit operating systems, R Server also runs on Red Hat and SUSE Enterprise Linux distributions. It also is compatible with several Hadoop distributions.

Linux developers said extending SQL Server to the open-source platform would aid scaling as Microsoft Azure-based databases are built without adding new hardware.

Microsoft announced a partnership last year to bring a supported version of the .NET runtime to Red Hat Enterprise Linux and its OpenShift container platform. Red Hat said this week’s extension of the Microsoft partnership would allow users to access SQL Server on its Linux distribution via several evaluation tools on Microsoft Azure.

Along with Linux support, SQL Server 2016 includes improvements to its “Hekaton” in-memory database engine introduced in the 2014 version. Microsoft said in its release notes that the storage format for memory-optimized tables has been changed in the latest version. The storage format is “serialized” and the database is restarted once during database recovery.

Meanwhile, the performance of analytical queries was improved with the addition of a parallel scan function for memory-optimized tables along the table indexes. Several improvements to a proprietary extension called Transact-SQL are now supported for memory-optimized tables, the company added.

Microsoft also claimed more than 50 percent of Fortune 500 companies have so far applied for a private preview of its next SQL server.

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