SQL Server Installation (end-to-end on new Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver Virtual Machine/Parallels on MacBook Pro)

Sometimes you get surprises while working in IT,  you follow a simple set of instructions and things work for example. Rewording that sentence with a slant, sometimes you expect bad things as your expectations are so low as you are experienced with an alternative and similar commercial product, that is just problem after problem.

Over the Christmas break, I have decided to skill up. I have decided to improve my Microsoft SQL Server skills. My current database skills are primarily Faircom, Oracle, PostgreSQL, and more recently MongoDB. Faircom, Postgres, and MongoDB install on more or less any platform anywhere without much ado. Oracle has always been the problem child … to this day I dread every encounter with the Oracle Universal Installer (OUI), installation failures and log files hiding all over the place, the unreadable documentation, not being able to install on my flavour of operating system without having to monkey around with abstruse settings and reviewing various forums from other developers with similar problems, the lack of developer editions of their products matching the flagship version numbers of their COTS products (I have a commercial client running 19c, and STILL there is not an 19c XE instance available for development), Oracle Developer Tools (ODT) for the most recent versions of Visual Studio are not available or work properly, and more. It is disheartening too to see the job-boards full of SQL Server development roles whereas I am primarily an Oracle database developer. Clearly prior to skilling up, I need to purchase and install SQL Server. I decided to purchase SQL Server for Windows but there is something about wanting to try-it-out on Linux too, albeit for just a bit of personal training and to kick the wheels. I am familiar with Debian and Ubuntu so one of these distros would be ideal for me. My first surprise is that Microsoft support the most common linux distros (and not some home-customised linux version where the product remains supported on little else). It is almost like Microsoft want me to use SQL Server, and are trying to make my life easy. Furthermore there are other options too, Docker and Azure, all conveniently categorised with similar Quickstart documentation. This really should not come as a surprise to me, it is after all Microsoft, yet it does. It is not this easy with Oracle, and the argument has nothing to do with product complexity or technical requirements as the feature sets of both SQL Server and Oracle are comparable from so many perspectives.

Secondly, the install QuickStart webpage has only a few instructions. Only a few, written very clearly. Can it really this simple?

There is only one way to find out the answer to this question, and that is to follow the instructions to the letter and if successful, give the installed product a quick smoke-test.

So, in summary, and before I report my findings, this blog article could be titled “I followed the instructions on the Microsoft website for installing SQL Server, and they worked”. I would be quite timid in making this claim, backed up by a couple of decades experience, with Oracle.

If this were the title of this blog article, there would be little else to write here, other than I have done a screen recording of the end-to-end installation of Ubuntu Bionic Beaver and SQL Server 2019 in real time, on a little MacBook Pro in a Parallels VM as some visual proof. The whole thing was done and dusted in under 20mins, and most of that time was downloading binary files over a very modest home WiFi connection. Seeing is believing, surely – there is no misrepresentation here. I am gobsmacked at how unproblematic the installation was too, actually it was straightforward, and furthermore the size of the installation footprint quite small. This whole positive experience makes me better understand the take-up of SQL Server these past 15 years from a) what I can see early on about the installation and quality of the installation instructions, b) what I know about the SQL Server licence/pricing model, c) SQL Server’s recent reputation, and d) the quality of the documentation and the size of the user/community base. I also know I have previously backed the wrong horse, and look forward to further pleasant surprises with Microsoft SQL Server (and Faircom, PostgreSQL, and MongoDB).

— Published by Mike, 18:28:31 21 Dez 2020 (GMT)

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