Microsoft has kept its word. The latest SQL Server vNext Community Technology Preview (CTP 1.2) features support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, joining other distributions of the open source operating system from Canonical, the commercial sponsor behind Ubuntu and Red Hat Linux.
SQL Server vNext is the codename Microsoft is using to evoke a more cloud- and Linux-friendly direction for its database software, which was formerly a Windows-only product.
Microsoft first announced SQL was heading to Linux last year, a move that "will enable SQL Server to deliver a consistent data platform across Windows Server and Linux, as well as on-premises and cloud," stated the head of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division, Scott Guthrie, in a March 7, 2016 announcement.
The software giant plans to release SQL Server vNext in mid-2017. In the meantime, prospective customers can test how the database performs on their SUSE severs with the Linux version of the CTP 1.2 (a Windows version also available). "You can try the preview in your development and test environments now or apply to join the SQL Server Early Adoption Program to get support for implementing SQL Server vNext in production," company stated in a blog post.
To help technology buyers get up to speed on the database's newfound support for Linux operating systems, as well as its new features and enhancements, Microsoft also kicked off the SQL Server Early Adoption Program (SQL EAP).
Intended to help enterprise customers validate SQL Server vNext for Windows or Linux and deploy the database in production environments, SQL EAP provides members with direct access to a Program Manager Buddy who represents the SQL engineering team.
"Your PM [program manager] Buddy is there as a primary contact within the development team to help connect you to the right people to help your solution adopt SQL Server vNext," explained the Microsoft SQL team in a separate blog post.
"Typically, PM Buddies communicate with the customer via email and regularly scheduled meetings. PM Buddies help scope the project when the customer first joins SQL EAP so that there is common understanding of the schedule and requirements."
In addition to evaluating new features before they're made available to the public, Microsoft suggests that participants have some influence on the final product. Regular surveys will help the company gauge product requirements and users get the opportunity to discuss the feature design with SQL program managers, according to the software maker.
Members can also bring their workloads to the SQL Customer Advisory Team Customer Lab, allowing them to test the database in the presence of the SQL Server team.
To instill a sense of community, Microsoft is also spinning up a private Yammer group, enabling SQL EAP customers and the SQL engineering team to communicate with one another and share their learnings.
Users will be required to exercise some discretion, however. The contents of the Yammer group are considered confidential and fall under the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) SQL EAP members sign, cautioned Microsoft.