Would You Move to Linux for Price?

  • I am extremely wary of projected price savings based on the price of an individual item.  If the item is stand-a-lone then the price you pay probably is what was advertised on the box but an OS is an emphatically bigger commitment.  It is also a slippery slope.

    Let's suppose you switch your entire server infrastructure to Linux.  From a developers perspective it now makes sense to switch your workstations to Linux or OSX.  However, not all your tooling works on Macs and Linux OS's.  All of a sudden you have to start scouting for alternatives.  If you find the alternatives do they play well together?  How much time do you burn because of the friction points introduced by new and different tooling.
    What is the skills market like for the chosen tools?  Is it easy to recruit/educate and at what price? 
    Are you looking to embrace open-source because it is perceived as a lower cost cheap option?  If you decide to go with commercial support those open-source tools start to look much less of a bargain.  What is the quality of support available anyway?
    It's all about TCO - Total Cost of Ownership. . Perhaps on a balance sheet something seems to make sense but if you don't look closely at your friction points you can bleed away an immense amount of time and productivity.
    If you are already in a mixed Linux/Windows environment I would be looking to experiment with SQL2017 on Linux.   If I was in a pure Linux/Mac OSX  environment I would be asking what tooling would be available to me and what advantage I would gain adopting SQL Server.  
    It has to be said that the SQL Server community are exceptional.

  • At work definitely NOT. Too many process critical applications that would mean upgrading or changing every single system! that would be far far more costly than any savings obtained. Also we have open source that runs on windows.

    At home almost definitely yes.

    As we move to Web Applications that are served independently of each other directly to Browser clients which are agnostic to the Server software I can see us slowly buying from third parties applications that may run on the backend on this or building applications fully on those OS's. I hope this will just push MS prices down so all OS operating costs align effectively and makes it less of a competitive issue.

    I specifically don't like the idea of FREE - we use QGIS at work basically for zero cost - I really want management to donate to the project - they almost definitely will not. At home I often buy more expensive tools for my shed for tasks that I consider particularly important.

  • Dalkeith - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 2:32 AM

    At work definitely NOT. Too many process critical applications that would mean upgrading or changing every single system! that would be far far more costly than any savings obtained. Also we have open source that runs on windows.

    At home almost definitely yes.

    As we move to Web Applications that are served independently of each other directly to Browser clients which are agnostic to the Server software I can see us slowly buying from third parties applications that may run on the backend on this or building applications fully on those OS's. I hope this will just push MS prices down so all OS operating costs align effectively and makes it less of a competitive issue.

    I specifically don't like the idea of FREE - we use QGIS at work basically for zero cost - I really want management to donate to the project - they almost definitely will not. At home I often buy more expensive tools for my shed for tasks that I consider particularly important.

    At home SQL Server is already free (Developer edition), Windows is cheap, given the amount of time spent using it the cost for a pro version is roughly £0.35p a day in the first year which is peanuts, and after 3 years it's essentially free, not including the major updates we get each year now.

  • At work, the answer is no. We're a heavy Windows environment, so integration would be a lot harder than using Windows. We're also heavy users of both SSIS and SSRS; both are currently unavailable on SQL Server on Linux; a huge nail is it's coffin right now.

    Would I make the switch else where? Unsure, but probably not. SQL Server on Linux feels far too incomplete as it stands. There's no Linux Management tool at the moment either; SSMS is only available on Windows, and SQL Operations Studio isn't a Management tool and is missing a lot of the functionality that SSMS gives.

    Maybe in a few years SQL Server on Linux will be on par, but right now I'm not entertaining it.

    Thom~

    Excuse my typos and sometimes awful grammar. My fingers work faster than my brain does.
    Larnu.uk

  • My mindset has always been, use the tools that are right for the job that your team can support.  So, if SQL2017 Linux could be shown to be the right tool for the job, and the team had the knowledge in place to support Linux, then yes.

    Now, my current employer the answer is likely to be no, we won't go to SQL on Linux any time soon.  Some of the reasons being, before we can use a technology, we're required to have someone on the team with relevant certifications.  So, as we have no one with Linux certifications, no Linux, full stop.  The other reason is, as for Thom A, we also make fairly extensive use of SSIS (not so much SSRS,) so we'd still have to spring for some non-Linux licenses.

    Get SSIS / SSRS migrated into Linux, and the equation might change.

  • I've had a Linux system at home, as well as a Solaris system at home. My wife bought me Sun SPARCStation at a company salvage sale for $300 with a CD-ROM, tape drive, and monitor; I bought a SCSI enclosure and added a few more SCSI drives. That Sun system ran for a few years before the monitor died, and later one of the SCSI drives failed. Later, one of the drives in the Linux system started screeching; that was a salvage machine.
    I want to keep my UNIX skills up to date. I used UNIX at work long before I started with Windows.
    Work is a Windows shop; I installed Cygwin on my system and used awk to migrate user login data from an Active Directory ldif file to convert a system to a vendor cloud system.
    Photo of the Sun system: Sun SPARCStation

  • We have Linux and Windows server engineers here.  My hip shot would be to keep running SQL Server on Windows.  To me SQL Server was designed on the Windows platform and all of the features are there if ever needed.

  • ... For the purpose of a discussion, let's say you run an older version of SQL Server on Windows, like SQL 2000 or 2005. You want to upgrade, but your boss has been worried about costs. Now you see a 30% savings on Linux. Do you consider moving to a Linux OS instead of Windows? ...

    For me, Windows is just a container for running SQL Server. Even on my desktop, my work day consists of tabbing between SSMS, Chrome, Slack, and Outlook, and I only occasionally interact with the system settings. 

    Even Microsoft itself isn't tied to Windows. They are a vast corporate empire with 100,000 IT staff, an ownership stake in a hundred other smaller IT companies, and expertise in practically every technical domain, so they can pretty much win regardless of the playing field. 

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • No, losing AD authentication in an Enterprise environment is a huge negative if your company is primarily already a MS shop.

  • ZZartin - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 7:34 AM

    No, losing AD authentication in an Enterprise environment is a huge negative if your company is primarily already a MS shop.

     Forgot about that.  Considering Microsoft continues to recommend using Windows Auth due to it being more secure than a SQL Server Auth ID as well.

  • SQL Server on Linux isn't a factor. If you can afford a SQL Server license, you can afford a Windows license and enjoy all the tools an utilities designed for the Windows environment. If you are already using Linux as a development environment, you have plenty of non-commercial database choices that work well with Linux.

    My primary reason for running mostly Linux at home isn't cost related, it's matter of choice and control of almost all aspects of the system.  

    (The fact that I've been hit with two zero-day attacks on Windows that should have never existed and that I can install, update, secure, customize and maintain Linux systems easier than Windows systems may have been a key factor. I still keep a home Windows system around for software that requires it. )

  • ZZartin - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 7:34 AM

    No, losing AD authentication in an Enterprise environment is a huge negative if your company is primarily already a MS shop.


    Actually, it is possible to configure SQL Server running on Linux to use AD authentication.

    https://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertip/5075/configure-sql-server-on-linux-to-use-windows-authentication/

    "Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Instead, seek what they sought." - Matsuo Basho

  • Eric M Russell - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 8:26 AM

    ZZartin - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 7:34 AM

    No, losing AD authentication in an Enterprise environment is a huge negative if your company is primarily already a MS shop.


    Actually, it is possible to configure SQL Server running on Linux to use AD authentication.

    https://www.mssqltips.com/sqlservertip/5075/configure-sql-server-on-linux-to-use-windows-authentication/

    There's even official documentation on it as well: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/linux/sql-server-linux-active-directory-authentication?view=sql-server-linux-2017

    Thom~

    Excuse my typos and sometimes awful grammar. My fingers work faster than my brain does.
    Larnu.uk

  • David.Poole - Wednesday, May 2, 2018 1:26 AM

    Let's suppose you switch your entire server infrastructure to Linux.  From a developers perspective it now makes sense to switch your workstations to Linux or OSX.  

    Hi David. I don't agree that it necessarily follows that it makes sense to switch workstations over. Workstations serve a greatly different purpose and need to run a different and wider range of apps than the server, which hopefully is mostly, if not entirely, dedicated to the singular purpose of running SQL Server. As long as SQL Server behaves the same between Linux and Windows OSs, then if there is cost savings to the Linux route, it would certainly appear to be a plausible option for folks. Yes, there might be some differences in behavior, and this is why there should be a separate QA environment to make sure that the app works as expected prior to hitting Production. And yes, there might be some pieces missing from the Linux platform, but depending on what that is, it might be possible to set up an instance of Express Edition running on Windows to handle that stuff. Of course, if one is going to have a separate server running Windows for "missing" functionality, then this scenario really only makes sense for those with multiple servers were swapping out several of them might still be a noteworthy cost savings.

    And yes, this assumes that there is knowledge / expertise in-house for working with Linux. Saving money on servers won't help if you don't have people who can work with those servers, or if you now have to spend more money to hire someone who does. But currently being a Windows-only shop doesn't necessarily mean that one or more employees don't already have Linux experience / knowledge. I used to be fairly good with *nix and ran Linux at home, but the places I worked tended to be Windows-only.

    But again, while this doesn't apply to everyone, I can certainly see it benefiting some.

    The main issue I see is that the offer appears to apply only to Enterprise Edition, or corporate accounts, unless I am misreading the following line from the   https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-2017-linux#HowToBuy  page:

    This offer applies to the following eligible programs: Enterprise Agreement – Enterprise Enrollment, Server & Cloud Enrollment, and Enterprise Agreement Subscription – Enterprise Agreement Subscription Enrollment.

    Take care,
    Solomon...

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