It's not April 1. Scott Guthrie, executive vice president of the Cloud and Enterprise Group, announced today that next year Microsoft will be releasing a version of SQL Server that runs on Linux. A private preview is available today that includes the core relational database features of SQL Server 2016.
The announcement implies two things. Either there is a large number of Linux-using corporations out there that are desperate for SQL Server's feature set (as opposed to open source databases such as PostgreSQL, MySQL, or MaxDB, or the proprietary ones such as IBM's DB2 and, of course, Oracle's Oracle), or there is a large number of SQL Server-using organizations out there that are keen to ditch the cost of their Windows licenses but happy to continue to pay for their SQL Server licenses. Neither seems obvious to us.
The Windows version will go into general availability later this year, with a wave of launch-related events starting on Thursday. SQL Server 2016 boasts new in-memory database capabilities that can make some workloads 30-100 times faster and support for encryption for data at rest, in memory, and on the wire. It also offers analytics support using R.