Pro SQL Server Linux–Moving to Linux

As part of my learning goals for 2018, I wanted to work through various books. This is part of my series on Pro SQL Server on Linux from Bob Ward.

It’s not until Chapter 10 that we get back to Linux specifics. Most of the chapters in the middle are general SQL Server items that are good to know, but not are useful for experienced SQL Serve professionals. They’re worth skimming as you might learn some things you didn’t about the features.

In Chapter 10, the focus is migrating to Linux. Bob presents a number of options, including one I hadn’t heard of: the DEA. This is the Database Experimentation Assistant, and I hadn’t heard of it. I don’t do a lot of migrations as I start and stop on SQL Server, but this allows you to do some A/B testing of upgrades. I’m sure it’s not perfect, but that’s something that is definitely needed.

Most of the chapter is about versions, from Oracle, or from PostgreSQL. The Oracle parts walks through the migration, while the PostgreSQL part tries to show where features in SQL Server exist or don’t in PostgreSQL. In a number of places, Bob found projects that provide some functionality in PostgreSQL that is in SQL Server, but didn’t test things.

The last chapter of the book deals with containers, and that was one of the more interesting things for me to read. I’ve been on a bit of a container kick, digging in more and more, so I was curious to see how Bob described and talked about the technology. I think he did a good job, but I still think a couple courses I’ve watched on Pluralsight from Nigel Poulton really covered this well, so perhaps I glossed over this a bit.

I liked that Bob includes lots of code and links to help you get started, so if you read this book, spend time on containers. They’re the future, and for now, Linux containers rule.

Overall Review

I learned a few things about SQL Server from the book, but far too much of it was basics and beginning SQL Server stuff, not Linux stuff. It was a good refresher, and I’m not disappointed in the time I spent, but I was hoping for more stories and more Linux.

The lesson really is that SQL Server is SQL Server, with few differences on the platform. As Bob mentions, you shouldn’t care about the platform and just pick what works.

The basics of SQL Server did make this hard to read, and as a result, I started strong at the end of December and hit a lull for almost two weeks where I wasn’t motivated to skim through basic T-SQL, security, etc. I realized around the 20th that I was running out of time and crammed a bit in.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with SQL Server, this is good. If you know SQL Server, but want to know Linux differences, I might recommend digging into some of the more specific Linux blogs, or the SQLServerCentral Stairway series.

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