SQL Server for Linux: What You Need to Know

Posted by VIOLIN SYSTEMS on Oct 5, 2020 2:45:00 PM

Microsoft’s Subject Query Language (SQL) Server is one of the strongest, most powerful database management systems available to date.

There are all kinds of benefits to SQL Server, a platform that specializes in handling data in a relational database management system for application data storage and retrieval.

Why are so many making the jump to SQL Server?

  • It ensures the security of your data.
  • It optimizes data storage.
  • It allows for easy installation and automatic updates.
  • It is simple to manage and maintain.
  • It aids in data recovery in the event of data loss.
  • It enables high levels of scalability.
  • It allows for lightning-fast queries.

But for years, the most significant limitation to SQL Server was that it was only available on a Microsoft platform. Now that SQL Server is available for Linux, what do you need to know?

About Linux

Like other operating systems (OS) such as Microsoft Windows, Mac OS, or iOS, Linux is a highly popular platform that powers much of the world around us. It’s in Android smartphones, cars, home appliances, some home computers, and even televisions.

Linux also powers every single one of the world’s top 500 supercomputers and all of the world’s stock exchanges.

Many choose the Linux platform because it is often referred to as one of the most reliable computer ecosystems on the planet. It’s less likely to battle viruses, malware, slowdowns, crashes, and expensive repairs.

And? Linux has a zero cost-of-entry fee. Linux can be installed on as many computers as needed without paying for software or server licensing.

Linux and SQL Server: A Groundbreaking Premise?

Do a quick Google search for Linux and SQL Server, and you’ll find the same kinds of phrases over and over:

What makes this such major news? Why is this such a novel concept?

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons is that, for the first time, Microsoft issued a server product on a platform besides Microsoft. Previously, it seemed that Microsoft was unwilling to acknowledge the existence of Linux, which meant that those looking for the power of SQL Server had to fall in step with Microsoft. Now there’s a SQL Server explicitly made for Linux? It’s a big deal.

To make SQL Server run on Linux, it requires a kind of bridge called a platform abstraction layer (PAL) in SQL Server. Thanks to an application programming interface called Drawbridge, the PAL helps align all operating systems and platforms in one place while keeping the rest of the operating system stable.

Before, SQL Server wasn’t connecting with other operating systems, which means that it did not need a PAL before. This “SQLPAL” allows for most of the functionalities of SQL Server to happen on a non-Windows platform: Linux.

What SQL Server for Linux Can Do

Now that SQL Server isn’t limited to Microsoft’s operating system, what can SQL Server for Linux do for your organization? It boils down to a few key ideas:

There’s No Difference When You Run SQL Server on Linux

From the very beginning of discussions about SQL Server for Linux, Microsoft was evident that performance would never suffer with Linux; that it would be at least equal in performance to SQL Server on Windows.

For Microsoft, it makes sense: Having a goal of customer experience being the same on any OS platform speaks to its quality. There is a shortlist of features that are unsupported on SQL Server, which you can check here.

While not every single feature of SQL Server is supported on Linux, Microsoft has brought the core functionality of SQL Server to Linux. But while these features are “unsupported,” that doesn’t mean that the components won’t work; it only means Microsoft does not officially support them.

What this essentially means for you? With SQL Server for Linux, you get a full, enterprise-ready product with strong performance without shifting to Microsoft.

Save Money on Licensing Fees

Perhaps one of the main reasons many are opting to partner SQL Server and Linux is the money that can be saved from not having to license an operating system. Since it is free to license servers or purchase software for Linux, your organization stands to save a lot of money.

Let’s break it down: The cost to purchase a standard Windows server is $972 or $20 per month to lease it. And for a datacenter edition, the price is astronomically higher: $6,155 to own a Microsoft server or $125 per month to rent it.

Beyond the server itself, your organization also has to pay for individual client access licenses (CALs). At one point, this cost was $38 per license for a single user. For ten users, it could cost you $380.

But with Linux servers? This is all free and easy to install. Linux has always been open source and with no cost. You can pay for additional support, but the underlying Linux software is entirely free to download, install, and use.

Linux, SQL Server, and All-Flash Arrays

SQL Server and all-flash arrays are a perfect partnership, no matter the operating system. All-flash arrays can improve the already strong performance of SQL Server, save money on storage solutions, and offer consistent performance and low latency. When you use VIOLIN’s QV2020 All-Flash Array for SQL Server:

  • You improve your security and protect data.
  • You get an easy-to-use interface for data management.
  • You save on additional storage costs compared to legacy storage solutions.

You can have access to the easy distribution of SQL Server without being bound to a Microsoft-based operating system. At VIOLIN Systems, we can pair your Linux-SQL Server combination with the unstoppable, fast storage that an all-flash array has to offer.

Want to learn more? Download this informational guide, then contact us today.

Topics: SQL Server