Migrate a SQL Server database from Windows to Linux using backup and restore

SQL Server's backup and restore feature is the recommended way to migrate a database from SQL Server on Windows to SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.1 on Linux. This topic provides step-by-step instructions for this technique. In this tutorial, you will:

  • Download the AdventureWorks backup file on a Windows machine
  • Transfer the backup to your Linux machine
  • Restore the database using Transact-SQL commands

This tutorial assumes that you have installed SQL Server 2017 CTP 2.1 and the SQL Server Tools on your target Linux server.

Download the AdventureWorks database backup

Although you can use the same steps to restore any database, the AdventureWorks sample database provides a good example. It comes as an existing database backup file.


To restore a database to SQL Server on Linux, the source backup must be taken from SQL Server 2014 or SQL Server 2016. The backup SQL Server build number must not be greater than the restore SQL Server build number.

  1. On your Windows machine, go to https://msftdbprodsamples.codeplex.com/downloads/get/880661 and download the Adventure Works 2014 Full Database Backup.zip.


    Although this tutorial demonstrates backup and restore between Windows and Linux, you could also use a browser on Linux to directly download the AdventureWorks sample to your Linux machine.

  2. Open the zip file, and extract the AdventureWorks2014.bak file to a folder on your machine.

Transfer the backup file to Linux

To restore the database, you must first transfer the backup file from the Windows machine to the target Linux machine.

  1. For Windows, install a Bash shell. There are several options, including the following:

  2. Open a Bash shell (terminal) and navigate to the directory containing AdventureWorks2014.bak.

  3. Use the scp (secure copy) command to transfer the file to the target Linux machine. The following example transfers AdventureWorks2014.bak to the home directory of user1 on the server named linuxserver1.

    sudo scp AdventureWorks2014.bak user1@linuxserver1:./

    In the previous example, you could instead provide the IP address in place of the server name.

There are several alternatives to using scp. One is to use Samba to setup an SMB network share between Windows and Linux. For a walkthrough on Ubuntu, see How to Create a Network Share Via Samba. Once established, you can access it as a network file share from Windows, such as \\machinenameorip\share.

Move the backup file

At this point, the backup file is on your Linux server. Before restoring the database to SQL Server, you must place the backup in a subdirectory of /var/opt/mssql.

  1. Open a Terminal on the target Linux machine that contains the backup.

  2. Enter super user mode.

    sudo su
  3. Create a new backup directory. The -p parameter does nothing if the directory already exists.

    mkdir -p /var/opt/mssql/backup
  4. Move the backup file to that directory. In the following example, the backup file resides in the home directory of user1. Change the command to match the location of AdventureWorks2014.bak on your machine.

    mv /home/user1/AdventureWorks2014.bak /var/opt/mssql/backup/
  5. Exit super user mode.


Restore the database backup

To restore the backup, you can use the RESTORE DATABASE Transact-SQL (TQL) command.


The following steps use the sqlcmd tool. If you haven’t install SQL Server Tools, see Install SQL Server on Linux.

  1. In the same terminal, launch sqlcmd. The following example connects to the local SQL Server instance with the SA user. Enter the password when prompted or specify the password with the -P parameter.

    sqlcmd -S localhost -U SA
  2. After connecting, enter the following RESTORE DATABSE command, pressing ENTER after each line. The example below restores the AdventureWorks2014.bak file from the /var/opt/mssql/backup directory.

    RESTORE DATABASE AdventureWorks
    FROM DISK = '/var/opt/mssql/backup/AdventureWorks2014.bak'
    WITH MOVE 'AdventureWorks2014_Data' TO '/var/opt/mssql/data/AdventureWorks2014_Data.mdf',
    MOVE 'AdventureWorks2014_Log' TO '/var/opt/mssql/data/AdventureWorks2014_Log.ldf'

    You should get a message the database is successfully restored.

  3. Verify the restoration by first changing the context to the AdventureWorks database.

    USE AdventureWorks
  4. Run the following query that lists the top 10 products in the Production.Products table.

    SELECT TOP 10 Name, ProductNumber FROM Production.Product ORDER BY Name

Output from Production.Products query

Next steps

For more information on other database and data migration techniques, see Migrate databases to SQL Server on Linux.