Microsoft offers SQL Server 2022 release candidate to Linux world

Redmond loves open source so much, it keeps most of its stuff closed

Just weeks after rolling out SQL Server 2022 Release Candidate 0 for Windows, Microsoft is following with a release candidate for Linux systems.

Specifically, Redmond this week said that SQL Server 2022 RC 0 is now available for systems running Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and Ubuntu operating systems. Microsoft debuted its Linux port of SQL Server back in 2016 and has embraced the (cough, cough) open source world since, eschewing ex-CEO Steve Ballmer's view that "Linux is a cancer."

The Linux build of this latest closed-source offering not only includes the features included SQL Server 2022 RC 0 unveiled August 23 for Windows, but also supports several Azure-related cloud functions, Amit Khandelwal, senior product manager for SQL Server, wrote in a blog post this week.

The features included in the RC 0 include Query Store for monitoring the performance of the system by automatically capturing the history of queries, plans, and runtime statistics. These can be accessed and reviewed by developers and greater management capabilities through integrated accelerations and snapshot backups.

There also are language additions in RC 0, including Approx Percentile Disc that Microsoft says "returns the value from the set of values in a group based on the provided percentile and sort specification," and Approx Percentile Cont, which "returns an approximate interpolated value from the set of values in a group based on percentile value and sort specification."

The release for Linux also supports Azure Synapse Link, which enables developers to use the Azure Synapse Analytics to easily and directly access the Azure Cosmos DB analytical store.

"The integration runtime (IR) cannot be installed on Linux environment, so you will have to run the IR on a Windows based machine that is on the same network as the Linux machine running the SQL Server instance to which it connects," Khandelwal wrote.

It also supports Azure Active Directory authentication, though for right now SQL Server containers don't support the feature, he wrote.

According to market research firm Statista, the software ranked third behind Oracle and MySQL in a list of the most popular database management systems as of August and ahead of such others as PostgreQL, MongoDB, and Redis.

Mobile app developer AppInventiv in May also placed SQL Server third behind Oracle and MySQL in a list of the best databases for web applications, noting its strengths both on-premises and in the cloud, its presence in both Windows and Linux systems, and its support for structured, semi-structured, and spatial data.

"It is not as inventive or advanced as other modern … popular databases, but it has undergone considerable improvements and overhauls over the years," the developer firm wrote.

As The Register outlined in an in-depth analysis this month, software engineers are leaning into open source databases. A survey this year by Stack Overflow of about 70,000 programmers found that nearly all use one of two top open source relational database management systems, PostgreSQL (at 46.5 percent) or MySQL (45.7 percent), along with other systems.

So Microsoft continuing to add features and functions to SQL Server for Linux systems and making it a growing part of its Azure enterprise cloud services makes sense in a rapidly evolving IT world that is increasingly cloud-enabled and distributed. ®

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