The SQL Server Container

I’ve been hearing about Docker quite a bit lately. It’s a piece of software (and a company) that builds containers that provide isolation for an application, allowing a more lightweight way to separate our applications than virtualization. Right now the containers only run on Linux, but they allow a Docker container running PHP to run on a machine as though it were the only process running on the Linux host. Other Docker containers running on the same host could contain different versions of PHP and not have conflicts. Or you could have multiple versions of MongoDB, MySQL, Java, etc. that provide separation in a much less resource demanding way than virtualization does.

It makes me think back to the idea of having stripped down, lightweight database machines. We’ve gotten the Windows CORE OS, but I wonder if Microsoft would ever take this a step further and package an even more stripped down Windows OS, with SQL Server embedded in it. Rather than have to install Windows, SQL Server, and then potentially have administrators want to install other software on the host and incur the overhead of sharing resources, could we have a single installation that includes a bare bones, stripped down and optimized Windows/SQL Server combination that only functions as a SQL Server database machine?

I doubt Microsoft would ever move in that direction, but perhaps they might use a similar concept. It seems the push from Microsoft is for more services and hybrid solutions involving cloud type services. Perhaps smaller companies might want an appliance device that contains a SQL Server, or an application like Dynamics, with hybrid bursting power in the cloud. Certainly containers might make deployment of software easier in a PaaS environment.

Either way, Docker is coming to Windows, and it’s going to be another tool that developers should consider incorporating into their application development processes.

Steve Jones

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Editor, SQLServerCentral
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2 Responses to The SQL Server Container

  1. pyt says:

    But that is exactly what applience servers are (except you don’t get to pick your own hardware). Have experience from ms PDW where you are advised not to install anything on the boxes except what was already there – and have Microsoft come and do the patching. Works brilliantly 🙂

    • way0utwest says:

      Appliances make sense in some situations. Certainly PDW fits a category of problems. I’d say the same thing in other areas. I bet we could do more with things like a CRM or Accounting system that should be set with the core functionality of server/database/software, and let the users have certain customizations on clients.

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