Cloud economics pushed Microsoft SQL Server onto Linux

Some have been saying for years that it makes sense, but it took the cloud to make it worthwhile for Microsoft. The new regime in Redmond is sure unafraid to make bold decisions.

What could be weirder than "President Donald Trump?" How about "Microsoft SQL Server for Linux?"

I was incredulous when I first saw the story, but in fact it's perfectly consistent with the big picture at Microsoft. The future is in the cloud, not in software for enterprise data center racks. SQL Server for Linux keeps Microsoft in the picture even as customers move more of their computing into public and private clouds.

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​Microsoft's love affair with Linux deepens

After testing the waters for years, Microsoft has launched its first service, Azure Cloud Switch, that's based on Linux.

I have no doubt that big customers were clamoring for this and I can see why. The average enterprise has huge investments in Microsoft technologies and Microsoft needs to do what it can to keep them as committed as possible. When the service the customer is buying is a database server, it doesn't matter what operating system it runs on. Yes, there are also private clouds, but Microsoft is working on Azure-based solutions for them as well.

Make no mistake, the same logic applies to other Microsoft server applications. We should expect to see Exchange Server and Sharepoint Server for Linux, maybe others. I don't see why Exchange should be any harder than SQL Server. SharePoint could be tricky if it's too tied to Microsoft IIS, but if customers demand it Microsoft will have to find a way to do it.

It's not clear to me how this will affect in-house custom applications. Some of that can be addressed by Mono, could be used to port those applications to Linux. The acquisition of Xamarin could play a role here too. Even if a customer doesn't want to mess with existing code, they could keep the application on Windows and move the database server to Linux.

I have to say I'm impressed with Satya Nadella and whoever else is making the decisions at Microsoft lately. Perhaps Microsoft server applications on Linux were inevitable, but they probably didn't wait too long.

OK, maybe "President Trump" is weirder.

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