Here’s the announcement – and Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition is now free! Is it big news? Yes, but if you’re a developer the question of whether to favour an upgrade in due course is more nuanced than it used to be.
Microsoft’s gravitational pull has dragged many companies and technologies into its orbit over the years. So the feature list of Sql Server gets longer and longer, and this release is a significant addition. Are the new capabilities sufficiently mature to use? Also, just because you can do more work in the relational database, does that mean you should? Given the cost of per-core licensing, some will want to keep Sql Server focused on its core load. If you eventually end up in a meeting with your administration and business colleagues to discuss whether you’re going to deploy this version, it would be good to have a considered answer to these questions.
If Oracle comes into the picture where you work, Microsoft’s offer indicates a long-term intent which should be kept in mind. The even more radical decision to deploy Sql Server to Linux is hardly something to hang your hat on at this stage, but you need to keep an eye on events.
You’ll also need to look carefully at whether the feature that interests you is in the version of Sql Server that you run. Incidentally, features that are in the Enterprise product sometimes come out early in Azure, which is interesting on two counts. First, your company may decide that using the Azure Sql Database instead of an on-premises product is worth looking at. Second, as a developer, an Azure database instance makes an excellent playground to look at some of these features before the release date, and without having to persuade anyone to let you install a server in the dev environment.
So there’s a lot to digest and opportunities to consider. The feature and version list is here.