Apple Silicon, Apple’s pioneering venture into ARM-based processors, has been met with widespread acclaim for its impressive performance and power efficiency. However, it is not without its challenges, especially when it comes to compatibility with certain software. One such software is Microsoft’s SQL Server, a widely used relational database management system.

The M1 Mac’s ARM-based Architecture

The M Powered Mac’s ARM-based architecture is a departure from the Intel processors traditionally used in Macs. ARM-based processors, while more power-efficient, use a different instruction set from Intel’s x86 architecture. This means that software designed for Intel processors, cannot run natively on the Mac without being recompiled for the ARM architecture.

SQL Server’s Incompatibility with ARM Processors

SQL Server, like many other software, was developed to run on x86 architecture, which has been the industry standard for decades. Microsoft has not yet released a version of SQL Server that is compatible with ARM processors. While it’s possible to run x86 applications on ARM devices using emulation or translation layers like Apple’s Rosetta 2, these are not ideal solutions for resource-intensive applications like SQL Server.

The Future of SQL Server on the M1 Mac

The future of SQL Server on the Mac largely depends on Microsoft’s willingness to adapt its software to ARM architecture. Given the growing popularity of ARM devices, it’s possible that we may see an ARM-compatible version of SQL Server in the future. However, until then, users who need to run SQL Server on their Macs will have to rely on workarounds such as running a virtual machine or using a cloud-based SQL Server instance.


While the Mac’s ARM-based architecture brings many benefits, it also brings compatibility issues with certain software like SQL Server. Until a version of SQL Server compatible with ARM processors is released, users will need to find alternative solutions to run SQL Server on their Macs. Despite these challenges, the shift towards ARM-based devices is likely to continue due to their superior power efficiency, and it’s only a matter of time before more software becomes compatible with this architecture.