Ever wondered what it would be like to run Microsoft SQL Server on Linux? A few years back, one would say that's nothing but a pipe dream. However, Microsoft has since been slowly accepting that open source and Linux are here to stay, and began to beef up its support.

Today, we can say for sure that Microsoft SQL Server is available for Linux, but in preview form. It should also be noted that this is SQL Server Lite, so users will have to contend with a product that delivers reduced features, well, at least for now.

"Today, we are excited to announce the public preview of the next release of SQL Server on Linux and Windows, which brings the power of SQL Server to both Windows - and for the first time ever - Linux," according to Microsoft. "SQL Server enables developers and organizations to build intelligent applications with industry-leading performance and security technologies using their preferred language and environment."

The Steps

Before everything is brought into play as intended, Microsoft has a four-step plan to make this happen. The first step is to get all the major enterprise-grade Linux distributions onboard, this includes the likes of Suse Linux Enterprise Server, Ubuntu Linux, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The idea is to have Microsoft SQL Server behave like regular Linux applications and not like a Windows application. Microsoft Mechanics took the time out to share with users on how to install SQL Server to a Linux distribution. From what we can tell, it's quite easy to get done, just like any other Linux app.

The Second step is to bring all SQL Server 2016 features to the table before the end of 2016. Microsoft is promising this, so we're guessing that the work on bringing the features over is almost done — seeing as the end of the year is almost upon us. Microsoft says its SQL Server 2016 will be a first class citizen on Linux in the same way it is on Windows.

The third step is all about tooling on Linux. SQL Server management tools such as SQL Server Management Studio (SSMS), Visual Studio SQL Server Data Tools (SSDT) and SQL Server PowerShell are all here. There's also the SQL Server extension for Visual Studio Code that can be found right now on the Visual Studio marketplace.

Cloud First And Mobile First

This whole thing is a big deal for Microsoft, and its evident due to recent report that Microsoft has joined the Linux Foundation as it seeks to dive deeper into the vast amount of open source codes available.

It's all part of the company's new mantra after CEO Satya Nadella took over. Since then, Microsoft has changed to be more accepting and open, and we expect this to continue for years to come seeing as it has proven successful.

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