How To Install Microsoft SQL Server On CentOS Linux

In December 2016 Microsoft made their SQL Server database available in Linux. Here we’ll cover how to install and perform basic setup of MSSQL in the RHEL based Linux distribution CentOS.

Install MSSQL In CentOS 7

First we’ll set up the repository file, Microsoft provide a copy of this for RHEL here:

We’ll use the wget command to copy this file to the /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory so that we can use it with the yum or dnf package manager.

[[email protected] ~]# wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/mssql-server.repo

Now that the repository file is in place, installation is as simple as running the following command. At the time of writing the total size of the package was a 139mb download.

[[email protected] ~]# yum install mssql-server -y
| Please run /opt/mssql/bin/sqlservr-setup to complete the setup of |
|                  Microsoft(R) SQL Server(R).                      |

Once the installation has completed, we are advised to run the /opt/mssql/bin/sqlservr-setup bash script to complete the setup process.

During my first installation attempt, I got the following error as my virtual machine was only running with 2GB of memory, so be sure that you have enough memory before proceeding.

sqlservr: This program requires a machine with at least 3250 megabytes of memory.
Microsoft(R) SQL Server(R) setup failed with error code 1.

You’ll be able to proceed once you have adequate memory available.

[[email protected] ~]# /opt/mssql/bin/sqlservr-setup
Microsoft(R) SQL Server(R) Setup

You can abort setup at anytime by pressing Ctrl-C. Start this program
with the --help option for information about running it in unattended

The license terms for this product can be downloaded from and found
in /usr/share/doc/mssql-server/LICENSE.TXT.

Do you accept the license terms? If so, please type "YES": YES

Please enter a password for the system administrator (SA) account:
Please confirm the password for the system administrator (SA) account:

Setting system administrator (SA) account password...

Do you wish to start the SQL Server service now? [y/n]: y
Do you wish to enable SQL Server to start on boot? [y/n]: y
Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/ to /usr/lib/systemd/system/mssql-server.service.
Created symlink from /etc/systemd/system/ to /usr/lib/systemd/system/mssql-server-telemetry.service.

Setup completed successfully.

That’s it, Microsoft SQL Server is now running successfully and listening for traffic on TCP port 1434.

[[email protected] ~]# systemctl status mssql-server
â mssql-server.service - Microsoft(R) SQL Server(R) Database Engine
   Loaded: loaded (/usr/lib/systemd/system/mssql-server.service; enabled; vendor preset: disabled)
   Active: active (running) since Fri 2016-12-30 02:26:37 PST; 38s ago
 Main PID: 2974 (sqlservr)
   CGroup: /system.slice/mssql-server.service
           ââ2974 /opt/mssql/bin/sqlservr
           ââ2995 /opt/mssql/bin/sqlservr

[[email protected] ~]# netstat -antp | grep 1434
tcp        0      0*               LISTEN      2995/sqlservr

Connecting To MSSQL

In order to actually connect to the server from Linux we need to install the mssql-tools package, which comes from a different repository than the one that we just set up. It can be found here:

First we’ll download a copy of the prod.repo file and place it into the /etc/yum.repos.d/ directory.

[[email protected] ~]# wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/prod.repo

We can now proceed with installing the mssql-tools package, as shown below.

[[email protected] ~]# yum install mssql-tools -y

Once this is installed we can use the sqlcmd command to interact with the database. To see how to run sqlcmd, simply run it with the -? option for help.

Unfortunately it appears that when you specify the -P option for the password, the password must be provided in the command line with no option of being prompted for it later. Keep in mind that your password will be stored in your bash history running it this way.

[[email protected] ~]# sqlcmd -U SA -P password
1> create database test;
2> go
1> use test;
2> go
Changed database context to 'test'.
1> create table websites(domain varchar(255));
2> go
1> insert into websites (domain)
2> values ('');
3> go

(1 rows affected)
1> select domain
2> from websites;
3> go
(1 rows affected)

In this example we create a test database with a table named websites and a column for domain names. We then insert a domain name and pull it back out with select, confirming both that we are able to connect and that basic SQL queries appear to be working as expected.


Microsoft’s SQL Server is now available for installation on Linux. Personally I don’t think I’ll ever use this over other alternatives such as MariaDB or PostgreSQL, so hopefully someone somewhere actually finds this information useful!

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