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T-SQL Tuesday #116 – Adopting SQL Server on Linux

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SQL Server on Linux

My T-SQL contribution for this month discusses what you should consider when adopting SQL Server on Linux.

This month’s T-SQL Tuesday is hosted by Tracy Boggiano. Tracy invites us all to write about what we think everyone should know when working with SQL Server on Linux, or anything else related to SQL running on Linux.

You can read more about the invite in detail by clicking on the T-SQL Tuesday logo above.

Now, I know a lot of people today will be discussing what Linux skills they think you need. Which is why I decided to go down this route instead.

I have broken this down into three types of companies so that it is easier to read. However, some points in the enterprise scale section may apply to others and it’s open to interpretation.

Smaller company

If you work for a smaller company, then adoption should be relatively easy. However, you may still need to justify any new hardware or services purchased.

In fact, if you have a small team then your training options can be easier.

Of course, you will need to demonstrate that all your existing applications and automated jobs can still work on Linux.

Because there are still a fair few applications that do not support SQL Server on Linux yet.

Larger company

If you work for a larger company, you may indeed find yourself in a different situation.

For instance, you must demonstrate your business case for wanting to use SQL Server on Linux. Especially if your company has used Windows Server for many years.

After all, you must appreciate how much effort is involved for others to adopt it.

Enterprise scale company

Now, if you are working in an enterprise scale company that has yet to use SQL Server on Linux you could face some interesting challenges.

For instance, you must make sure there is a legitimate business case for it. Like I mentioned previously, if your previous installations have been Windows based this could be a challenge.

In addition, once SQL Server 2019 is released you will have to demonstrate legitimate business cases for any new features you intend to use.

For instance, the improved Polybase support and Big Data Clusters. Especially since Big Data Clusters is a lot more involved and utilises Kubernetes.

If your enterprise deals with delivery pipelines to deliver SQL Server on Windows, then you will have to investigate how to do the same for SQL Server on Linux.

Linux training

Linux training is another key point to consider. Because, if others in your team will be supporting SQL Server on Linux you will have to consider some form of training.

Especially if all their experience is based on supporting SQL Server on Windows servers.

One option would be to encourage them to gain their Linux essentials certification. You can read more about that certification in detail here.

SQL Server on Linux Virtual Machines

If your colleagues intend to test using local virtual machines it might be a good idea to encourage them to use the Desktop experience at the start.

Of course, make sure you stress to them this is only short term until they get use to the command line.

As a matter of fact, there is an alternative if they do not want to build virtual machines.

SQL Server on Linux Docker images

Instead they could install Docker for Windows and use a Microsoft provided Docker image that has SQL Server on there.

In fact, if they want to test SQL Server 2019 on Linux they are spoilt for choice. Because now they have a choice of an image based on either the Ubuntu or RHEL Linux distributions.

Linux administrators

It’s probably a good idea to get your Linux administrators on board. Especially if you are going to deliver SQL Server onto servers they build.

I also highly recommend gaining knowledge on whatever Linux distribution(s) they use. Furthermore, talk to them and find out what existing monitoring tools they use.

In addition, you can test getting SQL Server updated on multiple servers using a traditional Linux method of using a local repository.

Something I have discussed in detail in a previous post here.

Realistic expectations

Whatever size your business is, make sure you set realistic expectations for when you can deliver SQL Server on Linux.

Especially if you have other things that you must deliver as well.

For instance, if you are looking to deliver SQL Server 2019 on Linux make sure you have a plan for when you will release it with certain features.

Final word about adopting SQL Server on Linux

I hope you have enjoyed my T-SQL Tuesday contribution about adopting SQL Server on Linux.

Of course, if you feel I have left anything out which will help speed up adoption feel free to add a comment.

Published inSQL Server on Linux

One Comment

  1. […] Kevin Chant gives us a rundown of what is needed for adoption based on what size company you are in. Then he recommends getting the Linux Essentials certification for supporting and having SQL on Linux installed via containers.  Finally, getting your Linux administrators on board and finding out what tools they use. […]

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