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Applies to: Windows Server (Semi-Annual Channel), Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7

This topic discusses Work Folders, a role service for file servers running Windows Server that provides a consistent way for users to access their work files from their PCs and devices.

Sep 26, 2019 When I wrote that, SQL Server 2017 was the latest version of SQL Server, and it had just been made available for Linux and Docker (which means that you can also install it on MacOS systems). In late 2018, Microsoft announced SQL Server 2019 Preview, and subsequently announced general release in late 2019. Nov 17, 2016  Microsoft’s recent Connect; event included a lot of interesting announcements. The one that really got my attention was SQL Server for Linux.My first question, of course: Can I. Getting Started Microsoft SQL Server on Mac and Windows in 2020- Installation Tutorial (FREE) How to install SQL Server on Mac and Windows in 2020 - latest Docker download and Installation on Mac. RDP to the server from the Mac? I'm a SQL Server DBA who only used a Mac. 1 point 24 days ago. I tried to take guess work out of everything by adding screenshots and step by step instructions. Microsoft SQL Server Administration and T-SQL Programming including sql tutorials, training, MS SQL Server Certification, SQL Server.

If you're looking to download or use Work Folders on Windows 10, Windows 7, or an Android or iOS device, see the following:

Role description

With Work Folders users can store and access work files on personal computers and devices, often referred to as bring-your-own device (BYOD), in addition to corporate PCs. Users gain a convenient location to store work files, and they can access them from anywhere. Organizations maintain control over corporate data by storing the files on centrally managed file servers, and optionally specifying user device policies such as encryption and lock-screen passwords.

Work Folders can be deployed with existing deployments of Folder Redirection, Offline Files, and home folders. Work Folders stores user files in a folder on the server called a sync share. You can specify a folder that already contains user data, which enables you to adopt Work Folders without migrating servers and data or immediately phasing out your existing solution.

Practical applications

Administrators can use Work Folders to provide users with access to their work files while keeping centralized storage and control over the organization's data. Some specific applications for Work Folders include:

  • Provide a single point of access to work files from a user's work and personal computers and devices

  • Access work files while offline, and then sync with the central file server when the PC or device next has Internet or intranet connectivity

  • Deploy with existing deployments of Folder Redirection, Offline Files, and home folders

  • Use existing file server management technologies, such as file classification and folder quotas, to manage user data

  • Specify security policies to instruct user's PCs and devices to encrypt Work Folders and use a lock screen password

  • Use Failover Clustering with Work Folders to provide a high-availability solution

Important functionality

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Work Folders includes the following functionality.

Work Folders role service in Server ManagerWindows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2File and Storage Services provides a way to set up sync shares (folders that store user's work files), monitors Work Folders, and manages sync shares and user access
Work Folders cmdletsWindows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2A Windows PowerShell module that contains comprehensive cmdlets for managing Work Folders servers
Work Folders integration with WindowsWindows 10

Windows 8.1

Windows RT 8.1

Windows 7 (download required)

Work Folders provides the following functionality in Windows computers:

- A Control Panel item that sets up and monitors Work Folders
- File Explorer integration that enables easy access to files in Work Folders
- A sync engine that transfers files to and from a central file server while maximizing battery life and system performance

Work Folders app for devicesAndroid

Apple iPhone and iPad®

An app that allows popular devices to access files in Work Folders

New and changed functionality

The following table describes some of the major changes in Work Folders.

Feature/functionalityNew or updated?Description
Azure AD Application Proxy supportAdded to Windows 10 version 1703, Android, iOSRemote users can securely access their files on the Work Folders server using Azure AD Application Proxy.
Faster change replicationUpdated in Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016For Windows Server 2012 R2, when file changes are synced to the Work Folders server, clients are not notified of the change and wait up to 10 minutes to get the update. When using Windows Server 2016, the Work Folders server immediately notifies Windows 10 clients and the file changes are synced immediately. This capability is new in Windows Server 2016 and requires a Windows 10 client. If you're using an older client or the Work Folders server is Windows Server 2012 R2, the client will continue to poll every 10 minutes for changes.
Integrated with Windows Information Protection (WIP)Added to Windows 10 version 1607If an administrator deploys WIP, Work Folders can enforce data protection by encrypting the data on the PC. The encryption is using a key associated with the Enterprise ID, which can be remotely wiped by using a supported mobile device management package such as Microsoft Intune.
Microsoft Office integrationAdded to Windows 10 version 1511In Windows 8.1 you can navigate to Work Folders inside Office apps by clicking or tapping This PC and then navigating to the Work Folders location on your PC. In Windows 10 you can make it even easier to get to Work Folders by adding it to the list of locations that Office shows when saving or opening files. For more info, see Work Folders in Windows 10 and Troubleshooting using Work Folders as a Place in Microsoft Office.

Software requirements

Work Folders has the following software requirements for file servers and your network infrastructure:

  • A server running Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, or Windows Server 2012 R2 for hosting sync shares with user files

  • A volume formatted with the NTFS file system for storing user files

  • To enforce password policies on Windows 7 PCs, you must use Group Policy password policies. You also have to exclude the Windows 7 PCs from Work Folders password policies (if you use them).

  • A server certificate for each file server that will host Work Folders. These certificates should be from a certification authority (CA) that is trusted by your users—ideally a public CA.

  • (Optional) An Active Directory Domain Services forest with the schema extensions in Windows Server 2012 R2 to support automatically referring PCs and devices to the correct file server when using multiple file servers.

To enable users to sync across the Internet, there are additional requirements:

  • The ability to make a server accessible from the Internet by creating publishing rules in your organization's reverse proxy or network gateway

  • (Optional) A publicly registered domain name and the ability to create additional public DNS records for the domain

  • (Optional) Active Directory Federation Services (AD FS) infrastructure when using AD FS authentication

Work Folders has the following software requirements for client computers:

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  • PCs and devices must be running one of the following operating systems:

    • Windows 10

    • Windows 8.1

    • Windows RT 8.1

    • Windows 7

    • Android 4.4 KitKat and later

    • iOS 10.2 and later

  • Windows 7 PCs must be running one of the following editions of Windows:

    • Windows 7 Professional

    • Windows 7 Ultimate

    • Windows 7 Enterprise

  • Windows 7 PCs must be joined to your organization's domain (they can't be joined to a workgroup).

  • Enough free space on a local, NTFS-formatted drive to store all the user's files in Work Folders, plus an additional 6 GB of free space if Work Folders is located on the system drive, as it is by default. Work Folders uses the following location by default: %USERPROFILE%Work Folders

    However, users can change the location during setup (microSD cards and USB drives formatted with the NTFS file system are supported locations, though sync will stop if the drives are removed).

    The maximum size for individual files is 10 GB by default. There is no per-user storage limit, although administrators can use the quotas functionality of File Server Resource Manager to implement quotas.

  • Work Folders doesn't support rolling back the virtual machine state of client virtual machines. Instead perform backup and restore operations from inside the client virtual machine by using System Image Backup or another backup app.

Work Folders compared to other sync technologies

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The following table discusses how various Microsoft sync technologies are positioned and when to use each.

Work FoldersOffline FilesOneDrive for BusinessOneDrive
Technology summarySyncs files that are stored on a file server with PCs and devicesSyncs files that are stored on a file server with PCs that have access to the corporate network (can be replaced by Work Folders)Syncs files that are stored in Office 365 or in SharePoint with PCs and devices inside or outside a corporate network, and provides document collaboration functionalitySyncs personal files that are stored in OneDrive with PCs, Mac computers, and devices
Intended to provide user access to work filesYesYesYesNo
Cloud serviceNoneNoneOffice 365Microsoft OneDrive
Internal network serversFile servers running Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 2016File serversSharePoint server (optional)None
Supported clientsPCs, iOS, AndroidPCs in a corporate network or connected through DirectAccess, VPNs, or other remote access technologiesPCs, iOS, Android, Windows PhonePCs, Mac computers, Windows Phone, iOS, Android


In addition to the sync technologies listed in the previous table, Microsoft offers other replication technologies, including DFS Replication, which is designed for server-to-server replication, and BranchCache, which is designed as a branch office WAN acceleration technology. For more information, see DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication and BranchCache Overview

Server Manager information

Work Folders is part of the File and Storage Services role. You can install Work Folders by using the Add Roles and Features Wizard or the Install-WindowsFeature cmdlet. Both methods accomplish the following:

  • Adds the Work Folders page to File and Storage Services in Server Manager

  • Installs the Windows Sync Shares service, which is used by Windows Server to host sync shares

  • Installs the SyncShare Windows PowerShell module to manage Work Folders on the server

Interoperability with Windows Azure virtual machines

You can run this Windows Server role service on a virtual machine in Windows Azure. This scenario has been tested with Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016.

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To learn about how to get started with Windows Azure virtual machines, visit the Windows Azure web site.

See also

For additional related information, see the following resources.

Content typeReferences
Product evaluation- Work Folders for Android – Released (blog post)
- Work Folders for iOS – iPad App Release (blog post)
- Introducing Work Folders on Windows Server 2012 R2 (blog post)
- Introduction to Work Folders (Channel 9 Video)
- Work Folders Test Lab Deployment (blog post)
- Work Folders for Windows 7 (blog post)
Deployment- Designing a Work Folders Implementation
- Deploying Work Folders
- Deploying Work Folders with AD FS and Web Application Proxy (WAP)
- Deploying Work Folders with Azure AD Application Proxy
- Offline Files (CSC) to Work Folders Migration Guide
- Performance Considerations for Work Folders Deployments
- Work Folders for Windows 7 (64 bit download)
- Work Folders for Windows 7 (32 bit download)
Operations- Work Folders iPad app: FAQ (for users)
- Work Folders Certificate Management (blog post)
- Monitoring Windows Server 2012 R2 Work Folders Deployments (blog post)
- SyncShare (Work Folders) Cmdlets in Windows PowerShell
- Storage and File Services PowerShell Cmdlets Quick Reference Card For Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview Edition
Troubleshooting- Windows Server 2012 R2 – Resolving Port Conflict with IIS Websites and Work Folders (blog post)
- Common Errors in Work Folders
Community resources- File Services and Storage Forum
- The Storage Team at Microsoft - File Cabinet Blog
- Ask the Directory Services Team Blog
Related technologies- Storage in Windows Server 2016
- File and Storage Services
- File Server Resource Manager
- Folder Redirection, Offline Files, and Roaming User Profiles
- BranchCache
- DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication

Here I’ll show you how to get SQL Server up and running on your Mac in less than half an hour. And the best part is, you’ll have SQL Server running locally without needing any virtualization software.

Prior to SQL Server 2017, if you wanted to run SQL Server on your Mac, you first had to create a virtual machine (using VirtualBox, Parallels Desktop, VMware Fusion, or Bootcamp), then install Windows onto that VM, then finally SQL Server. This is still a valid option depending on your requirements (here’s how to install SQL Server on a Mac with VirtualBox if you’d like to try that method).

Starting with SQL Server 2017, you can now install SQL Server directly on to a Linux machine. And because macOS is Unix based (and Linux is Unix based), you can run SQL Server for Linux on your Mac. The way to do this is to run SQL Server on Docker.

So let’s go ahead and install Docker. Then we’ll download and install SQL Server.

  1. Install Docker

    Download the (free) Docker Community Edition for Mac (unless you’ve already got it installed on your system). This will enable you to run SQL Server from within a Docker container.

    To download, visit the Docker CE for Mac download page and click Get Docker.

    To install, double-click on the .dmg file and then drag the Docker.app icon to your Application folder.

    What is Docker?

    Docker is a platform that enables software to run in its own isolated environment. SQL Server (from 2017) can be run on Docker in its own isolated container. Once Docker is installed, you simply download — or “pull” — the SQL Server on Linux Docker Image to your Mac, then run it as a Docker container. This container is an isolated environment that contains everything SQL Server needs to run.

  2. Launch Docker

    Launch Docker the same way you’d launch any other application (eg, via the Applications folder, the Launchpad, etc).

    When you open Docker, you might be prompted for your password so that Docker can install its networking components and links to the Docker apps. Go ahead and provide your password, as Docker needs this to run.

  3. Increase the Memory

    By default, Docker will have 2GB of memory allocated to it. SQL Server needs at least 3.25GB. To be safe, increase it to 4GB if you can.

    To do this:

    1. Select Preferences from the little Docker icon in the top menu
    2. Slide the memory slider up to at least 4GB
    3. Click Apply & Restart
  4. Download SQL Server

    Now that Docker is installed and its memory has been increased, we can download and install SQL Server for Linux.

    Open a Terminal window and run the following command.

    This downloads the latest SQL Server 2019 for Linux Docker image to your computer.

    You can also check for the latest container version on the Docker website if you wish.

    Update: When I first wrote this article, I used the following image:

    Which downloaded SQL Server 2017. Therefore, the examples below reflect that version.

  5. Launch the Docker Image

    Run the following command to launch an instance of the Docker image you just downloaded:

    But of course, use your own name and password. Also, if you downloaded a different Docker image, replace microsoft/mssql-server-linux with the one you downloaded.

    Here’s an explanation of the parameters:

    This optional parameter launches the Docker container in daemon mode. This means that it runs in the background and doesn’t need its own Terminal window open. You can omit this parameter to have the container run in its own Terminal window.
    --name sql_server_demo
    Another optional parameter. This parameter allows you to name the container. This can be handy when stopping and starting your container from the Terminal.
    -e 'ACCEPT_EULA=Y'
    The Y shows that you agree with the EULA (End User Licence Agreement). This is required in order to have SQL Server for Linux run on your Mac.
    -e 'SA_PASSWORD=reallyStrongPwd123'
    Required parameter that sets the sa database password.
    -p 1433:1433
    This maps the local port 1433 to port 1433 on the container. This is the default TCP port that SQL Server uses to listen for connections.
    This tells Docker which image to use. If you downloaded a different one, use it instead.

    Password Strength

    If you get the following error at this step, try again, but with a stronger password.

    I received this error when using reallyStrongPwd as the password (but of course, it’s not a really strong password!). I was able to overcome this by adding some numbers to the end. However, if it wasn’t just a demo I’d definitely make it stronger than a few dictionary words and numbers.

  6. Check the Docker container (optional)

    You can type the following command to check that the Docker container is running.

    If it’s up and running, it should return something like this:

  7. Install sql-cli (unless already installed)

    Run the following command to install the sql-cli command line tool. This tool allows you to run queries and other commands against your SQL Server instance.

    This assumes you have NodeJs installed. If you don’t, download it from Nodejs.org first. Installing NodeJs will automatically install npm which is what we use in this command to install sql-cli.

    Permissions Error?

    If you get an error, and part of it reads something like Please try running this command again as root/Administrator, try again, but this time prepend sudo to your command:

  8. Connect to SQL Server

    Now that sql-cli is installed, we can start working with SQL Server via the Terminal window on our Mac.

    Connect to SQL Server using the mssql command, followed by the username and password parameters.

    You should see something like this:

    This means you’ve successfully connected to your instance of SQL Server.

  9. Run a Quick Test

    Run a quick test to check that SQL Server is up and running and you can query it.

    For example, you can run the following command to see which version of SQL Server your running:

    If it’s running, you should see something like this (but of course, this will depend on which version you’re running):

    If you see a message like this, congratulations — SQL Server is now up and running on your Mac!

A SQL Server GUI for your Mac – Azure Data Studio

Azure Data Studio (formerly SQL Operations Studio) is a free GUI management tool that you can use to manage SQL Server on your Mac. You can use it to create and manage databases, write queries, backup and restore databases, and more.

Azure Data Studio is available on Windows, Mac and Linux.

Here are some articles/tutorials I’ve written for Azure Data Studio:

Another Free SQL Server GUI – DBeaver

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Another SQL Server GUI tool that you can use on your Mac (and Windows/Linux/Solaris) is DBeaver.

DBeaver is a free, open source database management tool that can be used on most database management systems (such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, MariaDB, SQLite, Oracle, DB2, SQL Server, Sybase, Microsoft Access, Teradata, Firebird, Derby, and more).

DBeaver using the “Dark” theme.

I wrote a little introduction to DBeaver, or you can go straight to the DBeaver download page and try it out with your new SQL Server installation.

Limitations of SQL Server for Linux/Mac

SQL Server 2017 for Linux does have some limitations (at least, in its initial release). The Linux release doesn’t include many of the extra services that are available in the Windows release, such as Analysis Services, Reporting Services, etc. Here’s a list of what’s available and what’s not on SQL Server 2017 for Linux.

Another limitation is that SQL Server Management Studio is not available on Mac or Linux. SSMS a full-blown GUI management for SQL Server, and it provides many more features than Azure Data Studio and DBeaver (at least at the time of writing). You can still use SSMS on a Windows machine to connect to SQL Server on a Linux or Mac machine, but you just can’t install it locally on the Linux or Mac machine.

If you need any of the features not supported in SQL Server for Linux, you’ll need SQL Server for Windows. However, you can still run SQL Server for Windows on your Mac by using virtualization software. Here’s how to install SQL Server for Windows on a Mac using VirtualBox.