The move has surprised some corners of the industry, as Microsoft moves away from its tradition of creating business software that runs only on the Windows operating system. It has historically been difficult to manage certain Microsoft products on anything other than a Windows server.
Microsoft has always sold PC software which can be run on competitor’s machines, though Chief Executive Satya Nadella broadened the horizons of the business upon appointment through a number of different initiatives. One of the most notable moves was decoupling Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing system from Windows and this weeks’ announcement seems to continue the trend.
The news has been lauded by most as an astute move, strengthening Microsoft’s position in the market. According to Gartner, the number of Linux servers shipped increased from 3.6 million in 2014 from 2.4 million in 2011. Microsoft in the same period saw its shipments drop from 6.5 million to 6.2 million. The move opens up a new wave of potential customers for Microsoft and reduces concerns of lock-in situations.
Microsoft EVP, Cloud and Enterprise Group, Scott Guthrie commented on the company’s official blog “SQL Server on Linux will provide customers with even more flexibility in their data solution,” he said “One with mission-critical performance, industry-leading TCO, best-in-class security, and hybrid cloud innovations – like Stretch Database which lets customers access their data on-premises and in the cloud whenever they want at low cost – all built in. We are bringing the core relational database capabilities to preview today, and are targeting availability in mid-2017.”
The announcement also detailed a number of key features for SQL Server 2016, focused around the critical avenues of data and security. Security encryption capabilities that enable data to always be encrypted at rest, in motion and in-memory are one of the USPs, building on Microsoft’s marketing messages over the last 12 months.
Furthering efforts to diversify the business, Microsoft announced that it would be acquiring mobile app development platform provider Xamarin, last week.
Incorporating Xamarin into the Microsoft business will enhance its base of developer tools and services, once again building on the theme of broadening market appeal and opening new customer avenues for the tech giant.