3 Benefits of Running SQL Server on Linux

By Staff Contributor on February 17, 2023

Microsoft SQL Server®, a leading relational database management system, was first launched in 1993 and specifically designed for Microsoft Windows. Since then, the system has grown in popularity thanks to its centralized tooling, ease of administration, and common authorization and security settings. That popularity led to Microsoft’s re-architecture of SQL Server in 2016, designed to offer multiplatform support. With the new SQL Server, it became possible to run SQL Server on Linux systems for the first time. Read on to learn more about how to connect to SQL Server, its benefits, how to monitor it, and much more.

How to Connect to SQL Server from Linux

Today, Microsoft SQL Server is supported on a number of different Linux machines, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, and SUSE Enterprise Linux. However, getting the system up and running on Linux takes a few steps.

After installation, you can connect to the SQL Server instance right from your Linux machine. You can use a variety of tools and drivers to connect either remotely or locally. You can also install multiple command-line tools, including sqlcmd and bcp, on Linux. The instructions for doing this vary between Linux systems, but you can find detailed information on how to connect to SQL Server from Linux from Microsoft.

Who Is Using SQL Server on Linux

A wide range of organizations across multiple industries use SQL Server on Linux.

The key thing connecting those who use the relational database management system is a desire to efficiently manage and manipulate their data to achieve maximum value. These businesses include everything from IT consulting to financial data analytics, cybersecurity, software services, and even data warehouse automation organizations.

3 Benefits of Running SQL Server on Linux

Since its introduction, SQL Server on Linux has become a very popular deployment option for businesses of all kinds. That’s largely because of the many benefits it offers, which are finally available to those using machines running Linux and not just to those with Microsoft systems.

The benefits of running SQL Server on Linux are far-reaching, as it reduces costs, increases simplicity, and is such a feature-rich and versatile database. But there are three benefits that particularly stand out:

1.    Flexibility

Because the new and improved SQL Server runs on Windows®, Linux, and Docker® containers, it gives you the flexibility to deploy on whichever platform or combination of platforms that makes the best sense for your business. That means that your engineers can build applications using whichever development and deployment infrastructure they are most comfortable with.

SQL Server 2017 makes platform flexibility even easier via its distributed availability groups capability, which enables your data to migrate between platforms with minimal downtime.

2.    Performance

As anyone who works with data knows, any loss of query performance leads to huge headaches and delays. At the same time, if your engineers and analysts are able to query data quickly, your business can gain a competitive advantage over the competition. The plain fact is, faster queries mean more savings — both in terms of money and time.

When you run SQL Server on Linux, you get a number of high-performance features. These include columnstore, which offers ten times the data compression and query performance of row-based storage, and in-memory online transaction processing (OLTP), which speeds up transaction processing, making it as much as 30 times faster than the speed of disk-based tables. Faster speeds mean better performance on your Linux systems.

3.    Security

When it comes to data, few things are more important than its security. If your organization relies on data and that data turns out to be vulnerable, your entire organization is put at risk. That’s why it’s critical to have a relational database management system that delivers high-quality data security.

SQL Server does just that. Through all the changes to the security landscape over the years, Microsoft SQL Server has changed right along with them, building in extra layers of security and ensuring that your data is protected in the face of the latest threats. In fact, SQL Server stands out from the competition with the fewest vulnerabilities over the last seven years of any enterprise database in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) database. If you’re looking for the strong data security, running SQL Server on Linux is a great  way to get it.

How to Monitor SQL on Linux

When it comes to ensuring top performance for your SQL Server, no matter where it’s running, you will need tools that can engage in round-the-clock monitoring.

SQL® Sentry is the best tool for that. It offers top-rated database monitoring capabilities for SQL Server on Linux and on Windows. With SQL Sentry, you get powerful dashboarding capabilities that let you monitor your Linux, Windows, and heterogeneous SQL Server database server environments, all from within the same monitoring client. 

When it comes to monitoring SQL Server on Linux, SQL Sentry provides:

  • The Top SQL tab: View and analyze the highest-impact queries that can potentially cause performance bottlenecks.
  • The Performance Analysis Dashboard tab: Monitor a variety of key database activities including compilations, recompilations, transactions, memory consumption, SQL Server waits, and database IO.
  • The Indexes tab: View your index statistics and analyze index fragmentation. It also lets you schedule index defragmentation tasks to improve your database performance.

If you’re looking to take advantage of the many benefits that can be gained by running SQL Server on Linux, there’s no doubt that monitoring from SolarWinds is the best way to attain them consistently. Try SQL Sentry for your business today.

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