Introducing Pro SQL Server on Linux

by Bob Ward

During the holiday season of December 2017, I was reflecting back on the last year of my work at Microsoft. I had spent almost every week from October to December of 2017 evangelizing, learning, and talking to customers about SQL Server 2017 - especially SQL Server 2017 on Linux. In early October of 2017, Microsoft had launched the general availability of SQL Server 2017 at the Microsoft Ignite conference, and the buzz was all about SQL Server now being available on Linux and Docker containers. As part of the SQL Server engineering team one of my key jobs was to “get the word out” about SQL Server on Linux. We had existing SQL Server customers who didn’t quite understand Linux, and users of Linux who really didn’t understand SQL Server.

With this backdrop, I remember one evening during my vacation of the holiday season in December telling my wife, Ginger, that perhaps I should write a book. I was entering my 25th year at Microsoft working on SQL Server dating back to SQL Server OS/2 1.1.  Before joining Microsoft, I was a UNIX developer writing C++ programs against ORACLE, so diving further into SQL Server on Linux would be coming home for me. Plus, I didn’t really see any other books that provided all the details of what I knew about SQL Server on Linux, known originally as Project Helsinki. I consulted with a few folks, like Slava Oks at Microsoft, and the response was, “You should do this." I had co-authored a book with Ken Henderson many years ago on SQL Server 2005, so I had some experience writing, but I had never written a book on my own. I was very blessed in January of 2018 when Apress agreed to my book proposal with an outline of Pro SQL Server on Linux.

I wrote this book for several reasons. First, I wanted to prove to myself that I could write a book on a topic that I was passionate about. Second, I wanted to educate the public more about how SQL Server on Linux is both the same and different. SQL Server on Linux is the same because it the same database engine that runs on Windows (sorry, you will have to buy the book to find out what I mean) yet it is different because it embraces the ecosystem of Linux (just try installing it!) The final reason I wrote this book is because it gave me a chance to put down on paper my journey at Microsoft of over 25 years working on SQL Server. You will find in this book, sprinkled throughout, bits and pieces of “behind the scenes” aspects of SQL Server referencing my colleagues at Microsoft, past and present, who helped shape the amazing project it is today. In fact, I was very blessed to have Oks, the “father” of SQL Server on Linux, to write the foreword of the book.

The result is a book that will appeal to both developers of Linux who have not really worked with SQL Server and current SQL Server professionals who want to know more about how to deploy and manage SQL Server on Linux. This task was not easy; how do you write an entire book about SQL Server? What I did was pick and choose carefully, making sure I focused on the key aspects of SQL Server that make it a great data platform, while being sure to specifically write about the unique aspects of SQL Server running on the Linux Operating System.

With this thinking in mind, I cover the history and unique architecture of bringing SQL Server to Linux. I then talk about installation and deployment, the fundamentals of creating database and objects with T-SQL, and building your own application with SQL Server on Linux. I then devote an entire chapter to the great SQL Server tools story; both programs outside of the engine and features built in. Then, the heart of the book covers the most important aspects of any data platform: performance, security, and high availability. The last section of the book will cover the all-important topics of managing SQL Server, migration to SQL Server on Linux including older release of SQL Server, Oracle, and PostgreSQL. The final chapter was very fun to write and is a great read about SQL Server with Docker containers and Kubernetes.

I’m a visual person so I included plenty of screenshots for you. I wanted you to see what I experienced as I went through various examples. I hope you enjoy reading and experience SQL Server on Linux and containers by using this book.

About the Author

Bob Ward is Principal Architect for the Microsoft Database Systems Group, which owns the development for all SQL Server versions. He has worked for Microsoft for 24 years, supporting and speaking on every version of SQL Server shipped from OS/2 1.1 to SQL Server 2017. He has worked in customer support as a principal escalation engineer and Chief Technology Officer (CTO), interacting with some of the largest SQL Server deployments in the world. Bob is a well-known speaker on SQL Server, often presenting talks on new releases, internals, performance, and troubleshooting at events such as PASS Summit, SQLBits, SQLIntersection, and Microsoft Ignite. 

This article was contributed by Bob Ward, author of Pro SQL Server on Linux.