Posted in Docker, SQL Server, T-SQL Tuesday

T-SQL Tuesday #140 – What have I been doing with Containers

It’s another T-SQL Tuesday! Thanks to Anthony Nocentino (t | b) for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday challenge. This month, he invited us to write about how we use containers.

I’ve just used SQL Server containers for testing. It’s essentially an isolated way of testing scripts against a specific database. But in the end, it’s really just been another instance of SQL Server for me to use.

And that’s it.

My use of containers has been very simple and fundamental. I can set it up and run it. But there is more to containers than that. I still need to go back and figure out how to connect to a drive outside the container. And I still want to be able to test using containers to do upgrades, like the next CU of SQL Server or updating other tools which have been containerized. I haven’t had a reason to use tech such as Big Data Clusters or Kubernetes or some of the more advanced functionality like that.

I like the possibilities of what you can do with containers – being able to test updates by using the containers without affecting what’s already installed elsewhere. That sort of ability would be great for testing all sorts of upgrades. It’s something that I can see taking advantage of in the development process.

The cool thing though is that it has helped me think more about virtualization in general and have a better appreciation for it. When I describe what a container is, especially a SQL Server container, I find it is easier to understand when I say it’s a virtual instance. We’re used to virtual machines at this point so just it’s wrapping our heads around a virtual application. The image for the container still has to live on a disk somewhere. You have to make sure you have the proper resource on your machine available, like memory and available ports. I’m still proud of myself for figuring out the importance of setting ports up when you create a SQL Server container, especially if you are going to have local instances installed. But with containers, you can now take advantage of the flexibility that virtualization gives you that you didn’t have before for a single application instead of having to virtualize the entire machine.

In some ways, I feel like I often get to poke around with newer tech or functionality but never ever really able to deep dive and take full advantage of what they offer. The problem is both finding the time to play and learn how to use it and finding the best situation to implement it in the real world. I know we all have those same challenges. Looking forward to reading everyone else’s contribution so I can figure out my next step in learning more about containers.

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