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Microsoft SQL Server has been offered for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) since September 2017. During this time, we have worked to improve the overall experience for administrators of Microsoft SQL Server on RHEL. One way that we are working to improve the manageability of SQL Server on RHEL is by employing the predictive analytics capabilities of Red Hat Insights.  

Red Hat Insights helps proactively identify and remediate threats to security, performance, availability, and stability to help avoid issues, outages, and unplanned downtime, and to help keep your Red Hat environment running optimally. Put simply, Red Hat Insights is about keeping RHEL systems operating as smoothly as possible. Not just for the software we ship with RHEL, but also with some third-party applications like Microsoft SQL Server.

In January 2017, the Red Hat Insights team began deploying rules tailored to large third-party enterprise applications that could use the fine tuning expertise that Red Hat provides.

This month, I’m excited that a new set of Red Hat Insights rules are being provided for Microsoft SQL Server running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

The Red Hat Insights team introduced new rules to alert administrators to system configurations which are not conforming to the documented recommendations from Microsoft and Red Hat. Here is a list of the initial rules that we’ll be providing.



What it does

Microsoft SQL Server is enabled but not running after installation.

Checks to see if the package is installed and running.

The mssql-server service will fail to start when the ownership or group of Microsoft SQL Server directory /var/opt/mssql is not correct.

Verifies that the /var/opt/mssql directory has been properly mounted with the expected permissions.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases due to the improper value of memory limit.

Checks to see if the SQL Server memory.memorylimitmb is set correctly.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases when an active or present tuned profile is not properly configured

Verifies that tuned is properly configured.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases when the virtual address space setting of the kernel is not optimized.

Confirms that vm.max_map_count is set to 262144 as recommended by Microsoft.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases when Transparent Hugepage is disabled in the grub menu.

Checks to make sure that Transparent Hugepage support is enabled at boot time.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases when tuned is not installed.

Checks that the tuned package is installed on the system.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases when tuned service is not enabled.

Verifies that the tuned service is enabled for automatic startup by systemd.

Microsoft SQL Server performance decreases when tuned-profiles-mssql is not installed and the active tuned profile is not properly configured.

Checks that the mssql-specific tuned profiles package is installed and configured. Note that this package, was first introduced in RHEL 7.6.

The Microsoft SQL server cannot operate at maximum efficiency when auto numa balancing is enabled on a NUMA system.

Verifies that ernel.numa_balancing is disabled in the RHEL kernel on systems with multiple CPUs.


In most cases, Red Hat Insights provides administrators with Ansible playbooks to correct these issues in a way that is tailored to resolve the problem on the individual host it was identified on through Red Hat Ansible Automation. Learn more about Red Hat Insights.

Bob Ward, SQL Server Principal Architect at Microsoft, "Red Hat Insights strengthens SQL server and RHEL, by providing built-in automated tuning, security, and availability features in Red Hat Enterprise Linux, similar to those provided internal to Microsoft SQL at the application level. This holistic and proactive monitoring capability enables customers to automatically identify optimizations and prevent system risks."

We continue to work together with Microsoft to enhance the overall experience for SQL Server administrators on the RHEL platform. With Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8, we’ve made major strides in performance and security, through Red Hat Insights we’ve also been able to improve manageability.  

If you’re attending Red Hat Summit this week and would like to learn more, please join me and Microsoft SQL Server architect Bob Ward on Thursday as we discuss the new Red Hat Insights features and other exciting enhancements as part of our talk on how to Deploy a modern data platform with SQL Server 2019 on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.  

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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