Microsoft has announced that its database software, SQL Server, is now compatible with rival operating system, Linux.

SQL Server helps companies to store, manage and analyse data.

This highlights a significant move in position for Microsoft, who have previously focused mainly on its own Windows operating system. CEO Satya Nadella has expressed his desire to open up the software giant’s software, to rival operating systems in an attempt to reach new users. This is part of an overall effort to boost sales of its database software.

The SQL Server database software is one of Microsoft’s core products, which occupies a 21% share of the database market. Microsoft’s Head of Cloud and Enterprise, Scott Guthrie, said that the Linux version of the software is currently undergoing testing by customers and is scheduled to be released in the middle of 2017. Renault’s Formula 1 racing team are set to be one of the first customers to trial the code.

Oracle is the database software market leader and the release of the SQL Server, with Linux compatibility, will help Microsoft to compete for market leadership.

Microsoft’s switch-in approach is partially due to the slowing of business spend on technology, in comparison to the growing investment that firms are putting into the maintenance and protection of their databases. SQL Server sales are up more than $2 billion in the past three fiscal years and a total price that this lower than its primary competitor, Oracle, is credited for this increase in revenue.

The database market is set to see a further 6.6% growth per year over the coming three years too, at which point it will be worth approximately $41 billion.

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