Infrastructure at your Service

David Barbarin

Dealing with ugrade scenarios for SQL Server on Docker and Swarm

This blog post comes from an interesting experience with one customer about upgrading SQL Server on a Docker environment. Let’s set quickly the context: a production environment that includes a standalone Docker engine on the top of openSUSE Linux distribution with some SQL Server 2017 Linux containers. The deal was to update those SQL Server instances from 2017 CU1 to 2017 CU7.

blog 137 - 0 - banner update sql docker

The point is we applied the same kind of upgrades earlier on the morning but it concerned virtual environments with SQL Server 2017 on Windows Server 2016. As you already guessed, we cannot go on the same way with SQL Server containers. The good news is that the procedure is fully documented by Microsoft but let’s focus on my customer’s question: Can we achieve rolling upgrades with SQL Server containers? Rolling upgrade in this context may be defined as keeping the existing system running while we each component. Referring to the context of this customer the quick answer is no because they manage the standalone instances. However, we may hope to be as closed as possible to the existing rolling upgrade scenarios with SQL Server HA capabilities but it is pretty limited currently on Docker and didn’t make sense in this specific context.

In addition, let’s say that my customer spins up SQL Server containers by running docker run command. In this case, we had no choice to re-create the concerned containers with the new image. So basically, according to the Microsoft documentation, the game will consist of the following main steps:

  • To download the latest SQL Server image from the Microsoft docker hub.
  • To ensure we are using persistent volumes with SQL Server containers.
  • To Initiate DB user backups (Keep safe here)
  • To remove the concerned container
  • To re-create the container with the same definition but the upgraded based image

The aforementioned steps will lead to some SQL Server instance unavailability.

Let’s simulate this scenario on my lab environment with a custom image (but the principle remains the same as my customer).

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                       COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS                    PORTS                    NAMES
aa6b4411e4e4        dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU4   "./entrypoint.sh 'ta…"   22 minutes ago      Up 22 minutes (healthy)   0.0.0.0:1433->1433/tcp   prod_db_1
153b1cc0bbe0        registry:2                  "/entrypoint.sh /etc…"   6 weeks ago         Up About an hour          5000/tcp                 registry.1.pevhlfmsailjx889ktats1fnh

 

The first docker container concerns my SQL Server instance with a custom base image dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU4. My environment includes also one user database dbi_tools and some related external objects as SQL Server jobs and additional logins – dbi and test logins. A simplified representation of my customer scenario …

blog 137 - 0 - mssql-cli sql version

blog 137 - 2 - mssql-cli sql login

blog 137 - 1 - mssql-cli user db

So, the challenge here is to upgrade the current container running on SQL Server 2017 CU4 with the last SQL Server 2017 CU7. The first step will consist in upgrading the dbi/dbi_linuxsql2017:CU4 image. Note I will use docker-compose in the next part of my demo but we’ll achieve exactly the same goal differently. So, let’s modify the FROM command line inside the docker file line as follows:

# set the base image (2017 version)
# > CU4 includes SQL Server agent now
FROM microsoft/mssql-server-linux:2017-CU7

 

Then let’s run a docker-compose command with the following docker-compose input file in order to generate a new fresh SQL Server image (CU7). The interesting part of my docker-compose file:

version: '3.1'
services:
  db: 
    build: .
    image: dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU7
…
[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker-compose build

 

Let’s take a look at the existing docker images:

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker images
REPOSITORY                                   TAG                    IMAGE ID            CREATED             SIZE
dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017                        CU7                    0b4d23626dae        44 minutes ago      1.43GB
dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017                        CU4                    0db4694645ec        About an hour ago   1.42GB
…

 

My new image has been created successfully. We may also notice 2 images now: the current one (with CU4 tag) and the new one (with CU7 tag)

Obviously persistent volumes are an important part of the customer architecture, so I also simulated some volume mappings inside my docker-compose file.

version: '3.1'
services:
  db:
    build: .
    image: dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU7
    #container_name: dbi_linux_sql2017_cu4
    ports:
      - "1433:1433"
    volumes:
      - /u00/db2:/u00
      - /u01/db2:/u01
      - /u02/db2:/u02
      - /u03/db2:/u03
      - /u98/db2:/u98
environment:
      - MSSQL_SA_PASSWORD=Password1
      - ACCEPT_EULA=Y
      - MSSQL_PID=Developer
      - MSSQL_USER=dbi
      - MSSQL_USER_PASSWORD=Password1
      - TZ=Europe/Berlin

 

Let’s move forward to the next step that consists in removing the current SQL Server 2017 CU4 container (prod_db_1):

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker stop prod_db_1 && docker rm prod_db_1
prod_db_1
prod_db_1

 

And finally let’s spin up a new container based on the new image (SQL Server 2017 CU7)

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker-compose up -d

 

Just out of curiosity, a quick look at the docker log output command reveals some related records concerning the upgrade process:

2018-06-04 22:45:43.79 spid7s      Configuration option 'allow updates' changed from 1 to 0. Run the RECONFIGURE statement to install.
2018-06-04 22:45:43.80 spid7s
2018-06-04 22:45:43.80 spid7s      -----------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:43.80 spid7s      Execution of PRE_SQLAGENT100.SQL complete
2018-06-04 22:45:43.80 spid7s      -----------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:43.81 spid7s      DMF pre-upgrade steps...
2018-06-04 22:45:44.09 spid7s      DC pre-upgrade steps...
2018-06-04 22:45:44.09 spid7s      Check if Data collector config table exists...
…
2018-06-04 22:45:59.39 spid7s      ------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:59.39 spid7s      Execution of InstDac.SQL complete
2018-06-04 22:45:59.39 spid7s      ------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:59.40 spid7s      -----------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:59.40 spid7s      Starting execution of EXTENSIBILITY.SQL
2018-06-04 22:45:59.40 spid7s      -----------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:59.40 spid7s      -----------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:59.40 spid7s      Finished execution of EXTENSIBILITY.SQL
2018-06-04 22:45:59.41 spid7s      -----------------------------------------
2018-06-04 22:45:59.44 spid7s      Configuration option 'show advanced options' changed from 1 to 1. Run the RECONFIGURE statement to install.
2018-06-04 22:45:59.44 spid7s      Configuration option 'show advanced options' changed from 1 to 1. Run the RECONFIGURE statement to install.
2018-06-04 22:45:59.45 spid7s      Configuration option 'Agent XPs' changed from 1 to 1. Run the RECONFIGURE statement to install.
2018-06-04 22:45:59.45 spid7s      Configuration option 'Agent XPs' changed from 1 to 1. Run the RECONFIGURE statement to install.
2018-06-04 22:45:59.53 spid7s      Dropping view [dbo].[sysutility_ucp_configuration]
2018-06-04 22:45:59.53 spid7s      Creating view [dbo].[sysutility_ucp_configuration]...
2018-06-04 22:45:59.54 spid7s      Dropping view [dbo].[sysutility_ucp_policy_configuration]
2018-06-04 22:45:59.54 spid7s      Creating view [dbo].[sysutility_ucp_policy_configuration]...
2018-06-04 22:45:59.55 spid7s      Dropping [dbo].[fn_sysutility_get_is_instance_ucp]
….

 

The container has restarted correctly with the new based image as show below:

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker ps
CONTAINER ID        IMAGE                       COMMAND                  CREATED             STATUS                             PORTS                    NAMES
a17800f70fff        dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU7   "./entrypoint.sh 'ta…"   4 minutes ago       Up 33 seconds (health: starting)   0.0.0.0:1433->1433/tcp   prod_db_1
153b1cc0bbe0        registry:2                  "/entrypoint.sh /etc…"   6 weeks ago         Up 2 hours                         5000/tcp                 registry.1.pevhlfmsailjx889ktats1fnh

 

Let’s check the new SQL Server version and if all my objects are still present:

blog 137 - 3 - mssql-cli sql version

The upgrade seems to be done successfully and all existing objects previous the upgrade operation still exist:

blog 137 - 4 - mssql-cli sql objects

 

Great job! But let’s go beyond to this procedure with the following question: Could we have done better here? From a process perspective, the response is probably yes but we have to rely on more sophisticated features provided by Swarm mode (or other orchestrators as K8s) as service deployment that will make the upgrade procedure drastically easier. But don’t get me wrong here. Even in Swarm mode or other orchestrators, we are not still able to guarantee the zero down time but we may perform the upgrade faster to be very close to the target.

Previously I used docker-compose to spin up my SQL Server container. Now let’s use this counterpart on a Docker Swarm environment.

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker info | grep -i swarm
Swarm: active

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker node ls
ID                            HOSTNAME                    STATUS              AVAILABILITY        MANAGER STATUS
hzwjpb9rtstwfex3zsbdnn5yo *   docker1.dbi-services.test   Ready               Active              Leader
q09k7pqe940qvv4c1jprzk2yv     docker2.dbi-services.test   Ready               Active
c9burq3qn4iwwbk28wrpikqra     docker3.dbi-services.test   Ready               Active

 

I already prepared a stack deployment that includes a task related to my SQL Server instance (2017 CU4):

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker service ls
ID                  NAME                MODE                REPLICAS            IMAGE                       PORTS
2bmomzq0inu8        dbi_db              replicated          1/1                 dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU4   *:1433->1433/tcp
[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker service ps dbi_db
ID                  NAME                IMAGE                       NODE                        DESIRED STATE       CURRENT STATE           ERROR               PORTS
rbtbkcz0cy8o        dbi_db.1            dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU4   docker1.dbi-services.test   Running

 

A quick connection to the concerned SQL Server instance confirms we run on SQL Server 2017 CU4:

blog 137 - 5- mssql-cli sql version swarm

Now go ahead and let’s perform the same upgrade we’ve done previously (2017 CU7). In this case the game will consist in updating the corresponding docker-compose file with the new image as follows (I put only the interesting sample of my docker-compose file):

version: '3.1'
services:
  db: 
    build: .
    image: dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU7
…

 

… and then I just have give the new definition of my docker-compose file as input of my stack deployment as follows:

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker stack deploy -c docker-compose.yml dbi
Ignoring unsupported options: build

Updating service dbi_db (id: 2bmomzq0inu8q0mwkfff8apm7)
…

 

The system will then perform all the step we previously performed manually in the first test including stopping the old task (container), scheduling the old task’s update with the new image and finally starting the updated container as shown below:

[clustadmin@docker1 PROD]$ docker service ps dbi_db
ID                  NAME                IMAGE                                  NODE                        DESIRED STATE       CURRENT STATE             ERROR               PORTS
4zey68lh1gin        dbi_db.1            127.0.0.1:5000/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU7   docker1.dbi-services.test   Running             Starting 40 seconds ago
rbtbkcz0cy8o         \_ dbi_db.1        dbi/dbi_linux_sql2017:CU4              docker1.dbi-services.test   Shutdown            Shutdown 40 seconds ago

 

A quick check of my new SQL Server version:

blog 137 - 51- mssql-cli sql version swarm

That’s it!

In this blog post, I hope I managed to get you interested in using swarm mode in such case. Next time I will talk about SQL Server upgrade scenarios on K8s that is a little bit different.

Stay tuned!

 

 

 

 

 

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David Barbarin
David Barbarin

Senior Consultant & Microsoft Technology Leader