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Microsoft waves the 'free licenses' flag to try to grab Oracle database users

Microsoft is trying to grab Oracle enterprise database users with a new migration offer for SQL Server 2016.

Microsoft is starting to turn the crank on its SQL Server 2016 launch machine by going after Oracle database users with a migration offer.

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On March 10, the day the company is holding a two-hour virtual data-focused event, Microsoft is highlighting a new SQL Server Migration Offer as part of its collateral.

According to the downloadable datasheet on the deal, users will get some unspecified number of "free SQL Server licenses" -- Software Assurance subscription required -- plus free training and subsidized deployment services to kick-start their Oracle to SQL Server 2016 migrations.

SQL Server 2016, which is now in the near-final Release Candidate stage of testing, includes a number of high-end features, including online-transaction processing, in-memory data warehousing, in-database analytics and built-in security features. Microsoft officials still have not said when SQL Server 2016 will be generally available, beyond some time this calendar year.

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The fine print of the Migration offer notes that users also will need to enroll in a new or renewed Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE) licensing plan, which has a minimum requirement of 50 cores and requires an entire SQL Server installation to carry the Software Assurance coverage. The training and services pieces of the offer are only available through June 30, 2016.

Directions on Microsoft analyst Wes Miller noted that users should pay attention to the SCE and required minimums when evaluating whether the deal makes sense.

"For an organization that is seriously looking to convert and commit to SQL during the agreement's timeframe, it appears to be a financially compelling offer. But organizations should, as always, consider all of the terms and conditions of the agreement," he said.

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced it is in the midst of bringing the core SQL Server relational database components, but not all of the features that are in SQL Server 2016, to Linux. A technical preview is available now for those interested in trying it on Ubuntu or in a Docker container. The targeted general availability of SQL Server on Linux, which will be available in both on-premises and cloud flavors, is mid-2017.

As a few Microsoft watchers have noted, Oracle's enterprise database is the real target of Microsoft's SQL Server on Linux play, rather than MySQL or various other open-source databases that are available on Linux.

Update: More direct targeting of Oracle, as evidenced by a slide from Microsoft's Data Driven virtual event,

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