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Red Hat Pursues Microsoft SQL Server on Linux Partners, Customers

Red Hat (RHT) is opening its arms to Microsoft SQL Server partners and customers, inviting those ecosystems to test the database on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). The move comes roughly one month after Microsoft launched a SQL Server on Linux public preview. General availability is expected in mid-2017.

No doubt, the Microsoft-Red Hat relationship has warmed up in recent years. Under former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, the company leaned mostly toward SUSE Linux -- particularly in the Azure cloud. But Microsoft's core applications (SQL Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint, etc.) remained hardwired to Windows Server. Similarly, Microsoft Office was hitched to Windows desktops.

Under current CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has more aggressively embraced cross-platform software support. Office finally arrived for Goggle Android and Apple iOS. And more recently, Microsoft has been porting SQL Server to Linux.

The SQL Server move could allow Microsoft to compete more effectively against Oracle -- which runs on everything from big iron down to Unix, Linux and Windows servers. SQL Server for Linux could also be a viable alternative to numerous open source databases.

Microsoft SQL Server for Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Still, Microsoft needs partners in the Linux community. That's where Red Hat enters the picture. As the world's most successful commercial open source company, Red Hat has taken a serious interest in the Microsoft relationship.

Recent Red Hat recruits include Takayoshi Tanaka, a software maintenance engineer . His core areas of focus: OpenShift; .NET Core on RHEL; and Red Hat solutions on Microsoft Azure. He's also a Microsoft MVP for Visual Studio and Development Technologies.

Meanwhile, Nadella has evangelized SQL Server on Linux's promise during recent Microsoft earnings calls. And Microsoft has made some free offers to switch Oracle customers to SQL Server (on Windows) even ahead of the Linux version's launch.

We're checking to see if or how Microsoft and Red Hat plan to cross-train their partners on the Linux database once it ships.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.