Survey: Are you a SQL Server Professional and running on Mac?

I know a handful people who are SQL Server Professionals and using for their day-2-day job a Mac system. Since the summer of last year I have also joined that group of people, and I’m doing the same. In my case I’m using a 2012 MacBook Air with a VMware Fusion VM where my SQL Server is installed. And for serious SQL Server stuff, I’mΒ using a RDP connection to a full-blown rack server which is hosted in the basement of my house.

Today I want to ask you a very simple question: Are you also a SQL Server Professional and running on Mac?
If yes, I invite you to leave a comment, where you should also explain your reasons why you have done that shift.

In my case I just wanted to try a different OS, because I have used Windows on the desktop for almost 20 years (including the DOS area), and I just wanted to see and learn something new. And yes – a Mac is just cool and sexy πŸ™‚ And the whole story about the new UI in Windows 8 doesn’t really convinced me.
And PLEASE don’t get me wrong: this is NOT a pro/con Windows/Mac survey/blog posting, I’m just interested in the REASONS why people are doing that shift.Β 

In a few weeks from now I will do a follow-up blog posting where I’m presenting the results of this survey.

Thanks for your help


31 thoughts on “Survey: Are you a SQL Server Professional and running on Mac?”

  1. Doing the same on a MacBook Air 2013 (just changed from a 2010)… just for one reason to be honest. portability… there is nothing else in the market that is that small, runs that long and is that reliable. Unfortunately I can’t take it to a customers meeting as it is the wrong brand in regards to the company I am working for πŸ™‚

  2. Unforuntely I don’t use a Mac for my day 2 day, but I do run a Macbook Air for my side work as well as all of my presentations. Like you, I’m running VMWare Fusion with Windows Server 2008 with SQL Server 2008 R2 on top of that.

    I did the shift to Mac simply because I was very tired of fixing Window’s machines for the usual virus/spyware/mal-ware/fill in the blank/etc. Also, getting into the speaking world and traveling a little more, the size of the Mac Air was perfect for me. I was also very intrigued by the OS interface as well as how well it worked with my iPad and now iPhone (I dove into the kool-aid!).

    I’d love to be able to run a Mac at the office however I don’t have a choice in that matter.

    1. Hello John,

      Thanks for your comment.
      The form factor and the *very* long battery power was also one of my decision points. Especially because I’m traveling a lot with airplanes.



  3. Suresh Penumatsa

    I have been a long time Windows user. When i got my first MacBook Pro 3 years back to get into iOS development, i was hooked. The machines are solid and reliable. The OS is sleek. I bought the latest MBP this year and i run Windows 7 & 8 on VM’s to do my SQL Server DBA work and other works. I haven’t had any issues on the MBP’s. I don’t think i will be going to a PC again.

  4. I just recently switched to a MacBook Air 2013. I still have my Lenovo work PC but I’m slowly moving everything. I love the portability, the stability of the OS, and just the look and feel. In my opinion, the horsepower on top of the lightweight OS is awesome as well. It feels good to change. And like you said, it’s nothing against PC or Windows. I just love good technology!

    1. Hello Dave,

      I have also a Lenovo W510 with 16 GB RAM, but not using it anymore. Just installed VMware Workstation on it, so that I can move larger SQL Server Deployments onto it, when I want to show advanced stuff. Just using RDP from the MBA into the W510 πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your comment


  5. I’ve been using a MBP for 2 years now but its not my main workstation. The main reason is because of PowerShell. I do a lot of simple-to-complex PowerShell scripting and automation. I initially thought I could do my high availability and disaster recovery stuff on the MBP with VMWare Fusion but because I needed to run at least 8 VMs whenever I do my geographically dispersed cluster demos (I have 16GB RAM on my MBP), I’m limited to the amount of RAM I can assign to my VMs in Fusion. With Hyper-V, I make the most of the dynamic memory management feature to configure a minimum amount of RAM on the VM. So, I switched back to good old Windows Server on my laptop (yes, I run server OS on my laptop since 2007) for my presentations. For simple presentations, webcasts and video recordings, I still use my MBP and just connect to my VMs via Remote Desktop. If only PowerShell can be ported to the Mac. And, no, I won’t run Windows on the MBP πŸ™‚

    1. Hello Edwin,

      Yes, the amount of available RAM is also a big problem for me on my MBA. 8 GB RAM isn’t too much for some SQL Server scenarios that I’m showing. For that reason I’m using sometimes an RDP connection over VPN to my home network, where I have a server with more RAM πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your comment.


    2. AndrΓ© Kamman

      Hi Edwin,

      I’m running Windows Server 2012 inside a Fusion VM and I have Hyper-V switched on. Have you considered creating your 8 vm setup with dynamic memory management that way?



  6. I am a MacBook Pro person. Pretty, shiny screen. I run VMs in Parallels on it.

    My favorite thing about using the MacBook is just that everything feels well made, sharp, crisp, and streamlined. And the quality screen really makes a difference: I spend a LOT of time looking at this thing.

    I do frequently run VMs so that I can use the Windows version of Excel, as well as VMs with SQL Server in them. To me, I like having both OSX and Windows around!

    1. Hello Kendra,

      Are you already using the MacBook with the Retina display?
      I’m really happy with my 13″ MBA, because of the nice, small form factor πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your comment.


  7. Let’s see: Got a Macbook Pro 17″ in 2008, still using it with Snow Leopard and VMWare Fusion. Got a Macbook Air 2011 with VMWare Fusion and Lion, presenting at SQL Saturdays with both, but leaning toward the Air lately.

    One problem I’ve had is the 4 GB limit on both laptops, so I recently got a Mac Mini. The new ones support 16 GB RAM and weigh about 3 pounds (lighter than the MacBook Pro!) I got the $800 quad core w/ 1 TB hard drive and spent $150 for 16 GB non-Apple RAM. I can now run multiple VMs on it for cluster demos and such.

    If you’re looking for a backup machine and don’t want to get a fully loaded laptop this is a nice option. The only downside is not having a built-in screen for presenter mode, but so far that hasn’t been a major issue as most venues have an extra screen anyway. It has HDMI and Thunderbolt ports, you can get a Thunderbolt-to-VGA adapter if you don’t already have one (the Macbook Air comes with one).

    1. Hello Rob,

      Wow, the Mac Mini – this is a a really awesome idea πŸ™‚
      Because the main “problem” that I have with my MBA is the limited RAM size of 8 GB. What’s the maximum supported RAM on the Mac Mini? 16 GB or more?

      Thanks for your input & your comment.


      1. I don’t know if the Mini is limited to 16 GB, they use SODIMM memory and right now the largest module is 8 GB. I will definitely be testing 16 GB modules with it. Apple has done stupid memory limits in the past but they seem to be doing it right with the Mini. The RAM takes less than 2 minutes to change, and no tools needed.

        Plus you can add a 2nd hard drive to it. iFixit has a $30 adapter for it, or you can order the OSX Server version from Apple that comes with 2 1-TB drives. I have a 512 SSD currently in my 17″ MB Pro but I’ll probably put that in the Mini using the iFixit adapter.

        For its size, price and capabilities it really feels like a secret weapon. πŸ™‚

        I’ll be experimenting a bit this weekend, I’ll be taking both laptops and the Mini in my PASS Summit 2012 backpack. I’m trying to see if I can get enough clothing in there so I can travel with only that bag. πŸ™‚

  8. Hi,

    A long time ago, oracle and sql dba i used a sun box with a pc card to manage all my dbms. one day my sun box crahed (RIP;)). I try my first Imac cheaper than the last new sun box with a new pc card. I never give up. MBP 2008 with parallel desktop inside 8 Gb ram and full SSD (change internal disk and optical reader) with SQLServer 2014. Cool machine working fine why change ;))



  9. My company gave me a budget and told me that I can buy the most convenient PC for my needs to do my job. In our work concept, we can work from anywhere we want. So I needed something portable and its battery must have last long enough; with that in mind, as I am a SQL Server DBA, I needed some VMs so I needed a decent hardware. I have been using Windows since Win3.1 combining my requirements and considering the new ugly UI of Win8, I thought I needed a change and I started to play with mac laptops in the stores. After a short while, I decided to buy a MacBook Pro “13 w/ RD and now I am quite happy with my choice. Besides, I am already planning to choose MacBook Pro series again in my feature purchases.

    1. Hello Ekrem,

      I feel almost the same as you.
      Started with Windows 3.1 (before I used DOS), and just went away from Windows because of the nice, new, cool-looking UI of Windows 8 πŸ™

      But compared with a traditional PC, the performance of a MBA or MBP is just awesome.

      Thanks for your comment.


  10. I use a Macbook Air as I wanted a changed from Windows, I have sql server installed on parallels, and also rdp onto a hosted service. It seems to run ok, alsthough some of the keyboard shortcuts are still a puzzle for Excel etc.

  11. Oliver Engels

    I have a MacBook Pro. Using Apple since my Apple IIe with a CP/M Module and 128k back in schooltimes. Apple Quadra, Next Station and Mac Pro are in my companies “Hardware Archive”. The MacBook with 16GB SSD and Retina is the best Notebook I ever had. Using VM Fusion my Windows Machines boot faster then on my Lenovo Notebooks πŸ˜‰ Apple Hardware is best in design and Speed from my Point of view.

  12. I have been using Mac hardware exclusively for several years. I started with a MacBook Pro 17″ back in 2007 I believe. That machine is still in service within the family (video recording / processing). Currently I have a 15″ MacBook Pro retina (4-core, 16GB), and I still have my Mac Pro from 2008 (8-core, 32GB) which has served me quite well while I’ve been waiting for the new Mac Pro.

    Everything I need to do in Windows I do either through RDP or in a VM (I’m a Parallels guy now, but used to prefer VMWare Fusion). When I have to deal with Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 in a VM or RDP I get a bit frustrated – not just the key combos (I could re-map, but not across every single machine I access) but also the new places you need to really fine-tune the location of the cursor to get anything to happen, and the fact that on every new machine I have to pin a slew of programs to the taskbar so I don’t have to use the new way to find crap. I’m learning but I’m glad I don’t have to transition to that half-baked monstrosity for the entire work day.

  13. AndrΓ© Kamman

    My Macbook Air 2011 is the best laptop I’ve ever owned. I had a Mac Mini once and it was a great little machine. For servers that need to run permanently I now use an HP Microserver and I have a double hex-core test box at home for performance testing.
    I have a Thunderbolt display and love the ease with which I can just plug in the cable and start using it. Looking forward to the multi screen improvements in the next OS update, considering to get a second display (they are expensive though)

    I don’t even use VM’s inside Fusion for testing that much anymore. The new cost structure for test and dev vm’s in Azure that come with MSDN works for me.

    I am seriously considering the new Mac Pro, I wonder how portable that thing will be…
    The one thing that I’m always searching for is a better RDP client. So far the Microsoft one is the least buggy but I don’t really like it.

    1. Hello AndrΓ©,

      Yes, the new Mac Pro seems to be a very cool machine (especially in the area of video editing), and I’m really interested in the final retail price of that piece of awesome hardware πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for your comment.


  14. Another MacBook Pro user here. I run Windows in VMware Fusion.

    My MBP’s about 4 years old now (Dual Core, 4GB, physical disk), but it still handles User Group demos pretty well. Looking at upgrading to a new MacBook Air this year, but reckon if I put some more memory and an SSD in the current one it’ll still be good as a backup.

    When I first brought my original MBP the prices for a similar windows laptop wasn’t much different once you’d got all the nice extras (4GB memory, 4 hour battery life, etc), and as a keen photographer the MBP’s screen won out. And now I’ve had one I can’t see myself going back. 4 years with no problems (not even an OS reinstall), is just great.

  15. Hello Stuart,

    I’m completely with you: Mac OSX and the hardware are pretty stable, haven’t yet had any problems over the last year, and I’m almost not rebooting my system (just before public presentations to be really sure…).

    In the case of failure I would also have no idea how to do a fresh install of Mac OSX – to be honest πŸ™‚

    Thanks for your comment.


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