Connecting Powershell To Docker Containers

Andrew Pruski shows how to open a Powershell session on a container:

One of the questions that I was asked at SQL Saturday Iceland was “how can I view the filesystem within a container?”.

This is a great question as one of the things that people find off-putting about containers is their opaqueness. It’s not obvious where everything lives within the container or how we can view the files within it.

Thankfully there’s a simple docker command that allows us to open a powershell session within a container, that command is docker exec.

For Linux-based containers, /bin/bash (or your favorite shell, if it’s installed) serves as its analog.

Dockerizing Windows Applications

Elton Stoneman has a five-step process for turning your Windows app into a containerized application:

1. Choose Your Base Image

Docker images for Windows apps need to be based on microsoft/nanoserver or microsoft/windowsservercore, or on another image based on one of those.

Which you use will depend on the application platform, runtime, and installation requirements. For any of the following you need Windows Server Core:

  • .NET Framework apps
  • MSI installers for apps or dependencies
  • 32-bit runtime support

For anything else, you should be able to use Nano Server. I’ve successfully used Nano Server as the base image for Go, Java and Node.js apps.

This is good reading if you’re thinking of offering a containerized version of your product.

Saving Docker Images

Andrew Pruski shows how to save a Docker image:

What I’m going to do now is save my custom image to a location [C:\temp] on my host server. So I’ll run: –

1
docker save -o myfirstimage.tar myfirstimage

N.B. – I’m saving the file as a .tar as this seems to be the format that works best for loading the image. I’ve tried exporting to other formats (.zip) but it always seems to become corrupt. The .tar format has always worked for me so I’ll stick with it.

If I’m understanding Andrew correctly, that’s because docker save will only generate a tar archive.  Keep reading for more details, including how to restore a Docker image to another machine.

Docker GUIs

Andrew Pruski demos Portainer, a user interface for Docker:

So let’s run through the setup and then look at the system. There’s a couple of pre-requisities to this I’m afraid, the first one is that you must setup remote administration using TLS on the Docker host that you want to manage via Portainer. I’ve detailed how to do this here.

Also, Portainer doesn’t support managing a local Docker Engine running on Windows so the way I’ve set it up is to run Portainer locally on Windows 10 and then point it at a server running the Docker Engine I want to manage. This means that you’ll need to install Docker locally, you can do that here.

Of course you get it in a container.  How else would you get the container interface…?

It looks like a nice UI for getting started with Docker.

Azure Container Service Supports Kubernetes

Serdar Yegulalp reports that Azure Container Service now supports the Kubernetes container management system:

Microsoft emphasized “choice” when it originally introduced Azure Container Service. Although it launched without Kubernetes, Azure initially supported Mesosphere DC/OS and Docker Swarm because the majority of Microsoft’s customers used them and the company believed they would be well served by the support.

Since then, Kubernetes has emerged as a clear leader among container orchestration solutions. It is used as an underpinning for deep learning frameworks and the basis for an open source serverless/“lambda” app framework, as well as offered as a managed on-premise service by one company.

Kubernetes on Azure is strictly focused on running Kubernetes within Azure, not providing it as a service elsewhere. But the GA release includes additions meant to appeal to a broad audience of both Linux and Windows Server users, such as support for the latest version of DC/OS (1.8.8).

It’s an interesting world out there.

Remote Docker Administration On Windows Server 2016

Andrew Pruski shows how to perform remote Docker administration:

Continuing on my series in working with Docker on Windows, I noticed that I always open up a remote powershell window when working with Docker on servers. Nothing wrong with this, if you want to know how to do that you can follow my instructions here.

However what if we want to connect to the Docker engine remotely? There’s got to be a way to do that right? Well it’s not quite so straightforward, but there is a way to do it involving a custom image downloaded from the Docker Hub (built by Stefan Scherer [g|t]) whichs creates TLS certs to allow remote connections.

Let’s go through the steps.

Read on for the steps.

Docker Logs

Andrew Pruski shows how simple it is to view Docker logs:

I have to run the docker ps command with the -a flag (to show all containers, the default is to only show running containers). Which means my container isn’t running, something’s gone wrong.

So to see what’s happening I can run the docker logs command to see what’s up: –

Click through for an example that Andrew ran through.

Building A SQL Server Dockerfile

Andrew Pruski builds up a custom dockerfile with his SQL Server configuration and custom databases:

And there you have it. One newly built SQL container from a custom image running our databases.

Imagine being able to spin up new instances of SQL with a full set of databases ready to go in minutes. This is main advantage that container technology gives you, no more waiting to install SQL and then restore databases. Your dev or QA person can simply run one script and off they go.

I really think this could be of significant benefit to many companies and we’re only just starting to explore what this can offer.

The best part is that it’s quite easy to do, meaning you could set up a guaranteed clean QA image for each continuous integration deployment and know that some process oddity didn’t fail to clean up after itself and thereby wrecked the automated build process.

Container-Network Interactions

Andrew Pruski explains how Docker containers interact with the network:

Anyway, during the podcast one of the questions that came up was “How do containers interact with the network resources on the host server?”

To be honest, I wasn’t sure. So rather can try and give a half answer I said to the guys that I didn’t know and I’d have to come back to them.

Click through for the answer.

Using WinDocks

Andrew Pruski demonstrates WinDocks, for people without Windows Server 2016 available:

So the first thing to do is get a new server with Windows Server 2012 R2 installed. Then once that’s up and running, you need to install SQL Server…

…wait, what??

The WinDocks software is different from the previous docker software that we’ve worked with in that it needs an instance of SQL installed on the host in order to use it’s binaries to create SQL within the containers. The instance won’t need to be running, it just needs to be installed.

Check out WinDocks; it’s focused around Dockerizing older versions of SQL Server.

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