Would you run production SQL Server on Docker?

Target Audience:

For admins who have heard about Docker but aren’t sure what it’s for.


With the advent of Windows containers and SQL Server on Linux, the options for running SQL Server are growing. Should you run SQL Server on physical machines, virtualised, in the cloud or do you get with the cool kids and run it on Docker? Docker is great for development, testing and stateless apps, but would you run your production SQL Server on it? It may sound crazy to run your data tier in ephemeral containers, but I’ll discuss the reasons why this might be a good idea if we can figure out the following challenges: Data persistence Security High Availability Licensing Monitoring Deploying SQL Server updates Microsoft themselves have said they expect containerisation of applications to become as common as virtualisation. If this happens then containers are something we all need to understand.

Why I Want to Present This Session:

Every talk about Docker that I have attended someone has asked the speaker “would you run production SQL Server on Docker?”. Thought I’d try and answer that.

Additional Resources:

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James Anderson is a SQL Server production DBA based in Southampton. Working on multi terabyte databases that provide the backbone for many large scale loyalty reward schemes in the UK and Europe. He has been working with databases since 2008. The first and worst RDBMS he worked with was Paradox. He quickly moved to using T-SQL in SQL Server 2005 and has worked on every version of the product since.

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