Resellers have welcomed Microsoft's decision to open up its SQL Server to the Linux operating system, with some claiming it will challenge Oracle's supremacy in the database market.
Microsoft's SQL Server is a database that allows businesses to scale up data storage from SMBs to large enterprises and previously was available only on Microsoft's Windows OS. But yesterday the vendor announced in a blog that it was extending SQL to the Linux platform with availability from mid-2017.
Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft, said: "Bringing SQL Server to Linux is another way we are making our products and new innovations more accessible to a broader set of users and meeting them where they are."
Graham Fern, technical director at Microsoft partner Axon IT, said the decision was emblematic of the company's wider strategy under its CEO Satya Nadella.
"My first response was that this is no surprise," he said. "This is part of a fairly long-term strategy from Microsoft ever since Steve Ballmer (pictured) moved on and now Nadella being in place. The direction has taken a different approach and that is 'we do software, let's make the best software and make sure it works with everything', instead of being specific. With SQL, this is another example of them embracing the current and strategic view.
"[That view] is a turnaround because if you go back to the Ballmer days, if you took an iPhone to an event he would have gladly thrown it across the room and smashed it against the wall. Whereas today, the demos you get from people on stage at Microsoft sometimes use non-Microsoft technology."
Fern said he welcomed this strategy from Microsoft, as it means customers are not restricted to one line of technology.
Adam Pedder, managing director of Shadowfax Technology, felt the move was also part of a wider trend among software vendors.
"I heard the news earlier today and it's quite interesting in that it shows a greater approach to flexibility from the large software vendors to work with one another as is becoming the pattern these days," he said.
"We've seen SQL being considered more so these days as the way forward against the expensive, old-fashioned, convoluted licensing models of platforms such as Oracle. Adding Linux into the mix opens up new doors for Microsoft to tap into a potentially large new sector of clients."
Conor Callanan, CEO of Core Technology Systems, said the move means Microsoft can open up more cloud offerings as one in four servers on Azure are already using Linux servers.
"It's not such great news for Oracle as Microsoft is a credible threat to their dominance in the Linux database space," he added.
But Axon's Fern did not feel this move was Microsoft trying to directly go after Oracle.
"Is a head to head against Oracle the big game plan?" he said. "I don't think so. I personally feel this is around the consumption of multiple services Microsoft offers. They want people in the cloud, now they just given people another reason for them to go to Azure, consume Linux and have their database installed on it."
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