There are no shortage of announcements pouring out of the Microsoft Ignite conference in Orlando, Fla. Sept. 25-29, including new artificial intelligence (AI) tools for developers, AI-enabled Dynamics 365 apps and a multitude of products from the company's technology partners.
Yet few of new reveals are as momentous as the official arrival of SQL Server for Linux, the first time the database software has been released for the open-source operating system.
"This is an incredible milestone representing the first version of SQL Server to run on Windows Server, Linux, and Docker. In fact, there have been 2,000,000 pulls of the SQL Server for Linux image on Docker Hub," a repository of Docker container images, said Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division, in a Sept. 25 announcement.
SQL Server 2017 also streamlines the process of performing business analytics using information stored in the database. The software "enables in-database advanced machine learning with support for scalable Python and R-based analytics," added Guthrie. "This means you can train advanced models easily with data inside SQL Server without having to move data."
As an added incentive to running SQL Server on Linux, Microsoft and Red Hat have partnered on a licensing offer that can help ease the budgetary pains of a migration.
Beginning Oct. 2 and lasting through June 30, 2018, organizations that purchase SQL Server 2017 annual subscriptions will see their bills reduced by 30 percent. For additional savings, the companies are offering a 30 percent discount on Red Hat Enterprise Linux subscription for customers who buy the operating system to run the new SQL Server release.
Microsoft Unveils Quantum Computing Programming Language
To prepare the developer community for the arrival of quantum-computing workloads, Microsoft announced a programming language that runs on quantum simulators now and will run on a topological quantum computer sometime in the future.
The as yet unnamed "programming language is deeply integrated into Visual Studio, and it includes the kinds of tools that developers rely on for classical computing, such as debugging and auto complete," Microsoft stated in a Sept. 25 announcement.
The company intends to launch a free preview of the quantum-computing simulator that can run on a PC, complete with libraries and tutorials, by year's end. "It's designed to work at a higher level of abstraction, so that developers without quantum expertise can actually call quantum subroutines, or write sequences of programming instructions, working up to writing a complete quantum program," stated the company. Select enterprise customers will be able to run more intensive simulations involving 40 or more quantum bits, or qubits, on the Microsoft Azure cloud versus 30 qubits on a PC.
As for a quantum computer that can run the code natively, Microsoft is working on that too.
An architect in the company's quantum computing division, Douglas Carmean, is building a system that operates at a temperature just above absolute zero, but can communicate with users or other systems housed at room temperature. The aim is to one day create a system that programmers can use to run code using hundreds of thousands of qubits or more, according to the company.