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What Microsoft's Open Source PostgreSQL Acquisition Portends for SQL Server

Microsoft's acquisition of Citus Data expands on the Azure commitment to open source and may provide horizontal scaling for SQL Server.

Microsoft has clearly committed to creating an open platform that provides broad choices for technologies that are vital for solving today’s--and tomorrow’s--challenging problems through data. Microsoft has taken another step along that road with the acquisition of Citus Data, a leader in the open source PostgreSQL ecosystem.

The purchase of Citus will strengthen the existing open source PostgreSQL offerings on the Microsoft Azure platform and expand on the Azure commitment to open source technologies. Microsoft Azure Data Services already boasts such open source options as MySQL, MariaDB and PostgreSQL. Microsoft has worked to build on its success with Hadoop and is partnering with Databricks on Spark-driven open source analytics. Seeing the value in that partnership, Microsoft has also announced that the 2019 release of SQL Server will integrate Spark--similar to what occurred with the Python development language and Revolution Analytic’s R programming language in SQL Server 2017. (Microsoft similarly purchased Revolution Analytics in 2015.) And, let's not forget that two years ago Microsoft announced it would be providing support for SQL Server on Linux starting with the 2017 version. Microsoft also has its own multi-model NoSQL database: Azure Cosmos DB, with APIs for SQL Server, MongoDB, Gremlin and Casandra.

Which brings us back to Citus Data.

Late last month, Rohan Kumar, corporate vice president, Azure Data, announced the acquisition of Citus Data. Citus is an open source extension to PostgreSQL that brings horizontal scaling to the widely popular object-oriented relational database management system (OORDBMS). This enables enterprises to take advantage of all the benefits the PostgreSQL platform provides over proprietary RDBMs, including low maintenance costs, no licensing costs, extensibility, cross-platform interoperability and a near-legendary uptime track record. 

The Citus acquisition comes just six short months since Microsoft’s high-profile purchase of GitHub, which cemented Microsoft’s commitment to the community of developers beyond those focused on Microsoft products. Indeed, Microsoft will likely continue to offer Citus to the PostgreSQL community as a fully managed service, free download and boxed product, all while gaining access to proven technology that could eventually be used to allow for horizontal scaling of SQL Server in some future version of the platform.


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