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Article from ADMIN 40/2017
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News for system administrators around the world.

Microsoft SQL Server 2017 RC Comes with Full Support for Linux

Microsoft loves Linux, at least in enterprise. The company has been building bridges between the two worlds by bringing Linux-centric technologies to Windows/Azure and Microsoft technologies to Linux.

Last year, Microsoft shook the world by announcing SQL Server for Linux. That was a sea-change in Microsoft's strategy, where they clearly demonstrated that they wanted to create an even playing field for Linux. This week, Microsoft released the first release candidate of SQL Server 2017 with full support for Linux.

"SQL Server 2017 will bring with it support for the Linux OS and containers running on Windows, Linux, and macOS. Our goal is to enable SQL Server to run in modern IT infrastructure in any public or private cloud," Tony Petrossian, Partner Group Program Manager, Database Systems Group at Microsoft, wrote in a blog post.

According to the release notes of SQL Server 2017, support for Linux includes the same high-availability solutions on Linux as Windows Server, including Always On availability groups integrated with Linux native clustering solutions like Pacemaker. Some of the core features of SQL Server 2017 include the following:

  • SQL Server on Linux Active Directory integration – With RC1, SQL Server on Linux supports Active Directory Authentication, which enables domain-joined clients on either Windows or Linux to authenticate to SQL Server using their domain credentials and the Kerberos protocol. Check out the getting started instructions.
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) to encrypt data – SQL Server on Linux can use TLS to encrypt data that is transmitted across a network between a client application and an instance of SQL Server. SQL Server on Linux supports TLS protocols 1.2, 1.1, and 1.0.
  • Machine Learning Services enhancements – In RC1, we add more model management capabilities for R Services on Windows Server, including External Library Management. The new release also supports Native Scoring.
  • SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) – In addition to the enhancements to SSAS from previous Community Technology Previews of SQL Server 2017, RC1 adds additional Dynamic Management Views, enabling dependency analysis and reporting.
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) on Linux – The preview of SQL Server Integration Services on Linux now adds support for any Unicode ODBC driver, if it follows ODBC specifications. (ANSI ODBC driver is not supported.)
  • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) on Windows Server – RC1 adds support for SSIS scale-out in highly available environments. Customers can now enable Always On for SSIS, setting up Windows Server failover clustering for the scale-out master.

Microsoft has also announced a new microsite for DevOps using SQL Server that serves as a platform for developers and development managers to learn how to integrate SQL Server in their DevOps tasks.

OCI v1.0 Released

Open Container Initiative (OCI), a Linux Foundation Collaborative project led by Docker and industry players has announced the OCI v1.0.0 run time and image specifications.

OCI is a cross-industry initiative to standardize technologies around Linux containers. Essentially, OCI seems to achieve the same goals that W3C achieved by standardizing web technologies such as HTML and CSS.

OCI was set up as a top-level project under the Linux Foundation's Collaborative project in 2015. By 2016 they set up a governance model around OCI, and Docker donated its container run time and image format to the project. Fast forward to 2017, and we have the first version of OCI run time and image specifications.

David Messina, SVP, Marketing and Community at Docker Inc., told us in an interview that OCI v1.0 continues to show Docker's commitment to open standards and empowering the Docker ecosystem and community.

While Docker is working with the community around two core components of the container world – run time and image format – they are also open sourcing all of the core components of Docker itself to enable the community to consume the technologies being developed by the company.

During DockerCon this year, the company also announced two new open source projects, the Moby Project and LinuxKit, to further its commitment to open source.

Docker has also taken Linux containers beyond Linux by working with Microsoft to bring more than 900,000 Docker images to Microsoft Azure and Windows, thanks to the Hyper-V isolation work done by Microsoft. What it means is that now containers are cross-platform technology running on Windows, Linux, and Solaris.

Critical systemd Vulnerability Allows Attackers to Run Malicious Code on Systems

A critical vulnerability in systemd, the modern init system used in Linux systems, can potentially allow a remote attacker to execute malicious code on a system through a DNS response.

Chris Coulson of Canonical discovered the vulnerability. He explained that a malicious DNS server can exploit this by responding with a specially crafted TCP payload to trick systemd-resolved into allocating a buffer that is too small and subsequently write arbitrary data beyond the end of it.

The vulnerability was supposedly introduced in systemd version 223 that was released in June 2015. According to HackerNews, "The bug is present in Ubuntu versions 17.04 and version 16.10; Debian versions Stretch (aka Debian 9), Buster (aka 10), and Sid (aka Unstable); and various other Linux distributions that use systemd."

As expected, the open source community responded swiftly and released a patch before it could cause any harm, unlike WannaCry or Petya.

Coulson reported that a patch to resolve the vulnerability has been provided by Zbigniew Jedrzejewski-Szmek, along with an additional patch to implement a test. If you are running Linux, keep your systems updated.

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