Deploy Containers with Go-SqlCmd

By:   |   Updated: 2023-07-26   |   Comments   |   Related: > Tools


In the previous tip, Overview of the Go-SqlCmd command line tool, we explored the features of the new Go-SqlCmd (preview) tool, its Windows installation, and ways to connect to SQL Server. The Go-SqlCmd provides additional features for deploying and using the containers with great flexibility which we will explore in this tip.


Docker provides a standard for developers to deploy applications without environmental dependencies. It gives the flexibility to install a package to run the application. Therefore, deploying and testing code quickly without preparing an environment is beneficial. For example, to deploy SQL Server, you need to prepare the VM and run the SQL Server installation. This provides the following benefits:

  • Quick deployments
  • Resources scalability
  • Portability
  • Efficient Resource Utilization

The Go-SqlCmd tool enables you to deploy SQL Server using containers quickly. You can create multiple container environments, switch between them, and create a container with a database.

Install Go-SqlCmd on Ubuntu

Before moving further, let's install the Go-SqlCmd tool on Ubuntu.

Update the package index:
Sudo apt-get update 
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Install the CA certificates that allow apt to use the repository over HTTPS:
Sudo apt-get install ca-certificates curl gnupg
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Add Docker's official GPG key:
sudo install -m 0755 -d /etc/apt/keyrings
curl -fsSL | sudo gpg --dearmor -o /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg
sudo chmod a+r /etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg
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Setup the Docker repository on Ubuntu:
echo   "deb [arch="$(dpkg --print-architecture)" signed-by=/etc/apt/keyrings/docker.gpg]   "$(. /etc/os-release && echo "$VERSION_CODENAME")" stable" |   sudo tee /etc/apt/sources.list.d/docker.list > /dev/null
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Update the apt repository and install the Docker container:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install docker-ce docker-ce-cli docker-buildx-plugin docker-compose-plugin
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Test the installation by running the hello-world docker container. Its output "Hello from Docker!" indicates that the docker installation works correctly.

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Install Go-SqlCmd on Ubuntu

In the previous tip, we installed the Go-Sqlcmd on Windows. For this article, we will use the Ubuntu Linux version. However, you can use the Windows version as well.

Launch the terminal in Ubuntu and import the public repository GPG keys.
curl | sudo apt-key add -
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We are using Ubuntu 20.04 version. Therefore, add the Microsoft repository with the following code.
add-apt-repository "$(wget -qO-"
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Update the apt repository:
Sudo apt-get update
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Install Go-SqlCmd with apt utility:
apt-get install sqlcmd
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Create a Container Using the Go-SqlCmd

The Go-SqlCmd can quickly create a SQL Server container with or without the user database. The requirement here is that you should have Docker or Podman container environments available. We already installed Docker in this tip.

Run the command below to create a mssql container with the latest SQL version. The --accept-eula specifies that you accept the end user license agreement.
sqlcmd create mssql --accept-eula

If there is an access issue, you get the below error.

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You can run the command using the sudo access as shown below. The command returns the following comments:

  • It starts downloading the latest SQL Server release from the Microsoft registry
  • It disables the SA account and creates the user root for connection on port 1433.
  • It gives specific examples of working with the SQL Server container using Go-SqlCmd.
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To connect to the deployed container and run a query, use the following syntax:
Sqlcmd query "SELECT @@VERSION"

As shown below, the Go-SqlCmd deployed SQL Server 2022 RTM-CU4 16.0.4035.4 Developer Edition on Ubuntu 20.04

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As shown below, the container has no user databases. It has master, model, msdb, and tempdb system databases.
Sqlcmd query "SELECT Name from sys.databases"
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You can start an interactive session with Go-Sqlcmd to execute the queries similar to using SqlCmd.
Sqlcmd query
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Create Docker Container with the AdventureWorksLT Database

Above, we deployed a SQL Server container without a user database. The Go-SqlCmd provides functionality to restore a database while creating the container.

The following command creates the SQL Server container and restores the database using the backup file available on
sqlcmd create mssql --accept-eula --using

The command output shows:

  • It downloaded the AdventureWorksLT.bak from the specified URL
  • It restores the database on the newly created container.
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You can get the database list and verify that AdventureWorksLT is available in the SQL Server container.

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Working with Contexts in Go-SqlCmd Containers

You can implement multiple containers with SQL instances using the Go-SqlCmd. The query you execute using SqlCmd runs under a specific container context.

For example, the below code lists all contexts available in the local machine. For example, two SQL instance containers are running on the test setup. These contexts are mssql and mssql2.
Sqlcmd config get-contexts
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You should always check the context where you run the query in case there are multiple container contexts. To check the current context, run the following code. As shown below, my current context is mssql2.
Sqlcmd config current-context
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You can switch the contexts easily with Go-SqlCmd. The following code switches the user context from mssql2 to mssql.
Sqlcmd config use mssql

As shown below, the code displays a message: Switched to context "mssql".

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If you list the containers in the VM, you will find individual contexts.
Docker container ls
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How do we delete the contexts not in use? First, list all the contexts available, as shown below.
Sqlcmd config get-contexts
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You get different examples of deleting the current contexts using Go-Sqlcmd with the following command.
Sqlcmd delete mssql
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Run the command sqlcmd delete to uninstall the current context. It verifies the database files, removes contexts, and stops the Docker image.

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Alternatively, you can remove a specific context using the delete-context command. For example, the below command deletes the mssql2 context.
Sqlcmd config delete-context mssql2
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Next Steps
  • Go through the Go-SqlCmd documentation on Microsoft Docs.
  • The Go-SqlCmd is in the preview phase and might change significantly over time. Keep an eye on the documentation.
  • Explore existing tips on SQLCMD.

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Rajendra Gupta Rajendra Gupta is a Consultant DBA with 14+ years of extensive experience in database administration including large critical OLAP, OLTP, Reporting and SharePoint databases.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Article Last Updated: 2023-07-26

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