Microsoft, following its shock announcement this week that it will make a version of its back-office flagship SQL Server that runs on the open-source operating system Linux, is looking for government clients to volunteer for a special preview of the new product.
“They will get to test drive the core relational database, develop and test applications, and try out some new features of SQL Server 2016 that haven’t been publicly released yet,” Microsoft Federal CTO Susie Adams told FedScoop of the early adopters.
She said the private preview program, announced this week, would include federal government clients and that the company was already talking to customers about participating.
The new version will be made generally available by the middle of next year, Microsoft announced in a blog post Monday, which set the tech world back on its heels. SQL Server, a database program widely used in large enterprises like big companies or government departments, is reportedly one of the companies most profitable products. The move would have been unthinkable for Microsoft a few years ago, when then-CEO Steve Ballmer called Linux a “cancer.”
Adams said the move to a Linux-compatible version of SQL Server was driven by customer demand, “just as much, proportionally, by demand from government customers, federal customers, as from commercial customers.”
Analysts said the move would enable the company to compete more effectively with Oracle and IBM, who already produce Linux-compatible database products.
“The world we live in is a multi-platform world,” Adams added, “Customers want to be able to take advantage of the innovations we are offering on SQL Server, no matter what platform they are using.”