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When we announced the Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI) at Red Hat Summit 2019, we said that it would help developers more easily package and share their software with other Red Hat customers and partners, while providing the stability and lifecycle benefits of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Today hundreds of developers now offer their software in freely redistributable containers. Now Microsoft has taken us up on the opportunity provided by UBI, and has released SQL Server 2019 for Linux as a UBI 8 container

Figure 1: Certified container created from UBI

With Microsoft’s new SQL Server container for Linux built using the Red Hat Universal Base Image (UBI), you can now take advantage of the reliability, security features, and performance of SQL Server running in official Red Hat container images wherever OCI-compliant Linux containers run, regardless of whether you’re a Red Hat customer or not. UBI is derived from Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and that means it shares the RHEL roadmap and proven foundation. This gives you tremendous flexibility in where and how you utilize the SQL Server containers for development and test.

Deploying SQL Server as a container is a game changer. According to Vin Yu, program manager at Microsoft, "If you look at how databases were deployed even 10 years ago, you had a specialist installing and configuring databases on each individual machine. A DBA’s job was not just to support the databases, but to help developers. Every time a developer required assistance; a DBA came in to help. Containers enable DBAs and data engineers to easily templatize and package databases. These standardized SQL Server containers can then be easily deployed by everyone in the organization." 

When it's time to run SQL Server UBI-based containers in production environments, the container-approach greatly simplifies workload deployment on Red Hat OpenShift or RHEL. Once there, you can enjoy world-class support thanks to Red Hat and Microsoft’s end-to-end platform testing and integrated engagement model which includes a shared ticketing system. Red Hat customer experience engineers, co-located at the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash., work to ensure you receive a consistent integrated support experience.

Microsoft is also using the Red Hat Container Certification tools for continuous verification of their software deployed on RHEL and Red Hat OpenShift. The certification tools help Microsoft to follow solid software configuration and design practices. One result was a recommendation that led Microsoft to design their software processes to avoid running with super-user (root) privileges. Doing this helps minimize the risk of security exploits that could compromise an entire system. 

Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the SQL Server UBI-based container will provide a strong foundation for future products that Microsoft plans to support on Red Hat OpenShift including Azure Arc for data services and Microsoft SQL Server Big Data Clusters.

For more information on SQL Server 2019 for Linux containers, check out my interview with Vin Yu which describes how Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Takes Full Advantage of OpenShift and Linux Containers.

To learn more about UBI check out the Red Hat UBI FAQ here.

Get started with the SQL Server 2019 for Linux UBI container today by visiting  the Red Hat Container Catalog.


About the author

Louis Imershein is a Product Manager at Red Hat focussed on Microsoft SQL Server and database workloads. He is responsible for working with Microsoft and Red Hat engineering to ensure that SQL Server performance, management, and security is optimized for Red Hat platforms. For more than 30 years, Louis has worked in technical support, engineering, software architecture, and product management on a wide range of OS, management, security, and storage software projects.

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