Microsoft is bringing SQL Server to Linux, with CEO Satya Nadella saying that the server operating system is no longer a core asset.
The move is the latest example of Redmond enabling rivals to use and host its products, after it allowed Apple to run Office 365 apps on iOS.
While the server operating system helped Microsoft compete for business users with the likes of Oracle, which has its own widely-used database, the company is making strides to become more open, in order to reach a larger number of customers.
Opening up SQL Server to other platforms means people who prefer those alternatives can still buy Microsoft products.
Nadella told the New York Times: "Data is the core asset now."
And analyst house IDC's group VP of enterprise infrastructure, Al Gillen, said on Microsoft's blog that the move was another step away from lock-in for the software vendor, which could expect to increase SQL Server adoption as a result.
"This is an enormously important decision for Microsoft, allowing it to offer its well-known and trusted database to an expanded set of customers," he said.
"By taking this key product to Linux Microsoft is proving its commitment to being a cross platform solution provider. This gives customers choice and reduces the concerns for lock-in. We would expect this will also accelerate the overall adoption of SQL Server."
Tech companies such as Red Hat and Canonical were positive about Microsoft opening up its server OS to other users.
Paul Cormier, president of products and technologies at Red Hat, said: "Our customers will welcome this news and are happy to see Microsoft further increasing its investment in Linux.
"As we build upon our deep hybrid cloud partnership, spanning not only Linux, but also middleware, and PaaS, we're excited to now extend that collaboration to SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, bringing enterprise customers increased database choice."
The private preview of SQL Server on Linux starts today, although Microsoft does not expect to make it generally available until mid-2017.
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