Installing SQL Server on a Mac M1 is a common challenge faced by many developers and database administrators. While SQL Server is popularly used on Windows machines, for those who prefer using Macs, installing SQL Server can be a tricky process. However, with the right preparation and guidance, installing SQL on Mac M1 can be done hassle-free. In this blog post, we will guide you on how to install SQL Server on your Mac M1 without any hassle.
The Challenge of Installing SQL Server on Mac M1
The biggest challenge in installing SQL Server on a Mac M1 is that Microsoft, the creator of SQL Server, does not officially support SQL Server on the M1 Mac. Therefore, the installation process can be more complicated than with a Windows computer. Many Mac users have had to go through numerous obstacles to get the system running smoothly.
Things You Should Prepare for
Before you begin installing SQL Server on your Mac M1, there are a few things that you should prepare for:
- Download and Install Rosetta 2
- Download and Install Homebrew
- Install Terminal Application
- Have a copy of SQL Server installer
Method 1: Via Docker using Azure Data Studio
Using Docker and Azure Data Studio is one of the most straightforward methods for installing SQL Server on Mac M1. This method involves creating a Linux virtual machine on Docker with SQL Server running inside the virtual machine. Here are some detailed steps on how to install SQL Server via Docker using Azure Data Studio:
- Start by installing Docker on your Mac M1.
- Next, open the Terminal app and create a new folder called "docker-sql-server"
- Use the following command to run a Docker command to download and run SQL Server:
docker run --name sql_server_container -e ACCEPT_EULA=Y -e SA_PASSWORD=YourStrong!Passw0rd \
-p 1433:1433 -d mcr.microsoft.com/mssql/server:latest
- Then, from the same directory that you created earlier, run the command:
docker exec -it sql_server_container "bash"
- After the above step, you will be in the virtual machine. Run the following command to connect to SQL Server Management Studio:
/opt/mssql-tools/bin/sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA -P 'YourStrong!Passw0rd'
- You should now be able to work with SQL Server on your Mac and run commands via the command-line interface (CLI) in Linux or using Azure Data Studio
- Docker only requires the installation of SQL Server Management Studio to manage the SQL Server on your Mac M1, rather than installing the full SQL Server client.
- Docker is available for both Windows and Mac, making it easy to move SQL Server and other services from one platform to another.
- The Docker method may not be ideal for larger databases and workloads since running SQL Server in a virtual machine inevitably results in performance issues.
- The Docker method may not be suitable for those who are not familiar with the command-line interface or Linux.
Method 2: Via Virtualization with Parallels Desktop
Another way to install and run SQL Server on Mac M1 is to use virtualization software like Parallels Desktop. Parallels Desktop allows you to set up a virtual machine on your Mac to run Windows or Linux OS, which in turn allows you to run Windows-based software like SQL Server. Here’s a step-by-step guide to installing SQL Server on Mac M1 via virtualization:
- First, install Parallels Desktop on your Mac M1.
- Next, create a new virtual machine and choose to install Windows Server or a Linux distribution, depending on your preference.
- Install the SQL Server client or tools in the virtual machine using a Windows-compatible SQL Server installer. You will need to have a copy of SQL Server for Windows.
- After installing SQL Server, you should be able to work with SQL Server in the virtual machine as if it were running natively on Windows.
- Parallels Desktop and virtualization create a complete operating system environment, providing the best possible performance for SQL Server.
- You can use the full version of SQL Server, just like in a Windows environment. This means you can use SQL Server Management Studio and all of its features.
- Virtual machine software like Parallels Desktop requires a sizeable amount of resources from your Mac M1, so it might not be the best option if you’re dealing with heavy or large databases
- You may face issues of fragmentation on the virtual disk used by the SQL Server instance running on the virtual machine
Method 3: Using Third-Party Cloud Service Platforms
An alternative solution for installing SQL Server on an M1 Mac is to use third-party cloud services platforms. These platforms provide access to an infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and allow you to run Windows Server or Linux with SQL Server on the cloud and access it via the internet. Here’s how you can install SQL Server on Mac M1 using third-party cloud service platforms:
- Sign up for a cloud-based infrastructure service provider of your choice and select their cloud-based server service subscribed plan, which includes Windows or Linux instances.
- Install SQL server in the new Windows server or Linux instance as needed per platform specifications.
- Configure necessary access strings or endpoints for connecting to the remote instance from your M1 Mac or Apple environment.
- No need for a dedicated physical machine or virtual machine on your Mac M1.
- Can scale up resources by increasing RAM or CPU capacity.
- Third-party cloud services can be expensive. Cost can increase as the size of the database and volume of daily user hits go up.
- Data being sent between cloud and your Mac is sent over the public Internet. Security should be a major concern.
Why Can’t I Install SQL Server on Mac M1?
1. Not following the required steps for installation
A: While installing SQL Server, you should follow the specific steps and requirements for your Mac M1. Some of the essential requirements are Docker, Homebrew, and Rosetta 2.
2. Using an incompatible version of SQL Server
A: If you try to install an incompatible version of SQL Server on your Mac M1, you will face errors such as installation failure.
3. Unsupported Operating System
A: Before attempting to install SQL server, ensure your Mac M1 is running Big Sur, the macOS version supported by Apple on M1 Macs.
Tip 1: Ensure all requirements are present before installation, such as the M1 Mac, Docker, Rosetta 2, and a copy of the SQL Server installer.
Tip 2: Virtual machines like Parallels Desktop require a lot of resources to run. Ensure that you allocate enough RAM to the virtual machine to ensure SQL Server runs smoothly.
Tip 3: When using cloud service providers, download backups of your databases frequently to ensure data can be recovered if any defect, accidental change occurs within the cloud provided virtual machine.
5 FAQs about Installing SQL Server on Mac M1
Q1: Is it possible to install SQL Server Developer Edition on a Mac M1?
A: Yes, you can successfully install the SQL Server Developer Edition on your Mac M1 using the above installation methods.
Q2: Can I upgrade to a newer version of SQL Server on my Mac M1?
A: Upgrading to a new version of SQL Server on your Mac M1 is possible. However, you should always ensure compatibility of the version with your operating system before upgrading.
Q3: My installation of SQL Server on my Mac M1 fails. How can I troubleshoot issues?
A: The first step is to ensure that you are following the instructions correctly. If necessary, revert your Mac M1 to the factory settings before trying to install SQL Server again. If the problem persists, consult Microsoft or familiarize yourself with how to repair your Mac M1 with specific error messages.
Q4: Do I need to install any additional components before installing SQL Server on my Mac M1?
A: Yes, some additional components are necessary for installing SQL Server on your Mac M1, such as Rosette 2 or a copy of the SQL Server installer.
Q5: After installing SQL Server on my Mac M1, what is the next process?
A: With SQL Server installed on your Mac M1, you can create databases, tables, and stored procedures. Install and use SQL Server Management Studio to manage SQL instances. Start processing and query data once you create a database.
Installing SQL Server on your Mac M1 is not as challenging as it may seem. With the steps provided in this blog post, you can confidently install SQL Server on your Mac M1 without any glitches. In general, it is best to use the Docker method if you’re new to SQL Server, as this method has the simplest installation and setup process. For heavy database uses, running SQL Server via virtualization with Parallels Desktop or by using third-party cloud service platforms may be the best option for you. Regardless of the method you select, ensure that you follow the installation instructions carefully and have all the requirements before starting.