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How to install MS SQL Server 2017 on Ubuntu 18.04

by | Jan 14, 2021

Wondering how to install MS SQL Server 2017 on Ubuntu 18.04? We can help you.

At Bobcares, we assist our customers with several installations as part of our Server Management Service.

Today, let us see how our Support Engineers install MS SQL Server 2017 on Ubuntu 18.04


How to install MS SQL Server 2017 on Ubuntu 18.04

In 2016, Microsoft’s relational database, MS SQL, was released under an open-source license.

Installing MS SQL on Ubuntu Server 18.04 is actually quite easy. Once you have it installed, the database server will function smoothly.

In order to begin the installation, our Support Engineers suggest having a working Ubuntu 18.04 Server instance and a user with sudo privileges.

We can run the MS SQL Server with a trial license, but beyond that, we will need to purchase a license to put the MS SQL Server into production usage.

How to install MS SQL Server 2017 on Ubuntu 18.04

Access the Ubuntu server using SSH

Moving ahead let us focus on the step-by-step process of accessing the Ubuntu Server using SSH.

  • Step 1: Update and upgrade the OS

To update, we run the following command:

$ sudo apt-get update

On the other hand, to upgrade, we run:

$ sudo apt-get upgrade

$ sudo apt install software-properties-common
  • Step 2: Import public repository GPG keys

We can import public repository GPS keys by running the following command:

$ sudo wget -qO- | sudo apt-key add –

Expected Output: OK

However, if we get any error we try the following commands and retry the above command again:

$ sudo apt-get remove libcurl4
$ sudo apt-get install libcurl3
  • Step 3: Register the Microsoft SQL Server Ubuntu repository

In order to register the MS SQL SQL Server Ubuntu repository, we run:

$ sudo add-apt-repository “$(wget -qO-”

Then we run:

$ sudo apt-get update
  • Step 4: Install SQL server
$ sudo apt-get install -y mssql-server

Wait at least five or six minutes for all packages to download and install.

After successful execution of the above command, SQL Server should finish installation on our machine.

  • Step 5: Set the SA password

After the package installation finishes, we run mssql-conf setup and follow the prompts to set the SA password and choose the edition.

For SQL Server 2017, Evaluation, Developer, and Express are freely licensed. We choose the version by entering a specified number in front of the version name and provide a strong password for SA (System Administrator) account.

$ sudo /opt/mssql/bin/mssql-conf setup
Choose an edition of SQL Server:

Evaluation (free, no production use rights, 180-day limit)
Developer (free, no production use rights)
Express (free)
Web (PAID)
Standard (PAID)
Enterprise (PAID)
Enterprise Core (PAID)
I bought a license through a retail sales channel and have a product key to enter.

Then type 2 then press Enter.

Do you accept the license terms? [Yes/No]: yes

Type SA password two times then.

  • Step 6: Verify if the service is running

Once the configuration is done, we need to verify that the server is running.

$ systemctl status mssql-server

In case we need to give the service a restart, we run:

$ systemctl restart mssql-server.service

Now the SQL Server has installed we can connect to this service remotely if we have SQL Server Management Studio on the Windows machine or install the command line tools from below.


Install the SQL Server command-line tools

  • Step 1: Install CURL

We need to install CURL if we do not have it already.

For the installation, we run:

$ sudo apt install curl
  • Step 2: Import the public repository GPG keys
$ curl | sudo apt-key add –
  • Step 3: Register the Microsoft Ubuntu repository.
$ curl | sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/msprod.list

Update the sources list and run the installation command with the unixODBC developer package.

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install mssql-tools unixodbc-dev

If we want to update the mssql-tools, we run:

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install mssql-tools

Now it is time to connect. But before that it is better to add /opt/mssql-tools/bin/ to the PATH environment variable

$ export PATH=”$PATH:/opt/mssql-tools/bin”

Connect locally:

$ sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA -P [YourPassword>]

sqlcmd is executed with parameters for the SQL Server name (-S), the user name (-U), and the password (-P).

If we connect locally, the server name is localhost. The user name is SA and the password is the one we provided for the SA account during setup.

[Failed to connect remotely? We’d be happy to assist]



In short, installing MS SQL on Ubuntu Server 18.04 is actually quite easy. Once we follow the methods our Support Engineers suggest, the database server will function smoothly.


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