Clone production databases into SQL Server instances, Windocks or Docker SQL Server containers with Docker Windows

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Clones in Windocks or Docker SQL Server containers

Data clones

  • Writeable clones of terabyte databases in seconds
  • Use full or differential backups or snapshots as the source
  • Use clones in Windocks or Docker SQL Server containers or installed SQL Server instances locally or on the network
  • Clone multiple databases with one click to create a complete database environment

Clones in Windocks or Microsoft Docker SQL Server containers


  • Windocks clones work inside both Windocks and Microsoft Docker SQL Server containers
  • Windocks SQL Server containers are available on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Server 2016 for SQL Server 2008, 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2017 (all editions: Standard, Enterprise, Express and Developer)
  • Microsoft Docker containers are available for Windows Server 2016 and SQL Server 2017 - Express and Developer editions only
  • Windocks SQL Server containers are small in size (100MB) and take about 30 seconds to run

Manage containers and data


  • Self service web UI to create data environments
  • Create and manage data images that comprise of multiple databases
  • Setup Windocks containers to work with other data snapshot and copy data solutions such as Netapp
  • Setup Windocks clones to be mounted into SQL Server instances and other environments

Deliver data securely to SQL Server containers


  • Windocks SQL Server containers can be accessed with Windows authentication or per container sa accounts
  • Windocks cloning works with encrypted databases and backups
  • Ensure data security by running data masking scripts to mask sensitive production data before images are created
  • Domain security enables network based database backups and clones to work with Windocks SQL Server containers

Leverage docker investments

Works with existing investments

  • Windocks is the first implementation of Docker Inc's open source container project on Windows
  • Windocks SQL Server containers work with SAN based database snapshot and copy data solutions. Databases generated by SAN based solutions such as Netapp can be automatically mounted into Windocks SQL Server containers
  • Windocks cloning mounts clones into environments such as Microsoft Docker SQL Server containers, SQL Server instances or .Net applications

Containers vs virtual machines

Containers vs virtual machines

  • Windocks runs wherever Windows Server is supported, on the cloud and on premise.
  • Windocks containers achieve a 5:1 savings compared with using VMs
  • Windocks containers achieve much faster speeds compared to VMs. Containers spin up in 30 seconds even with large terabyte databases

Windocks SQL Server containers - how it works

Windocks delivers multiple SQL Server environments on one machine in seconds using the Windocks server on Windows and either Docker clients or the Windocks web application UI.

For example, a team of 10 testers can spin up 10 isolated SQL Server containers with a fresh database in each container - all on one machine in a few seconds! Each tester can run their own tests on their individual databases. After a tester finishes testing once and has altered the database, he or she may want a fresh copy of the database again. Using Windocks, the tester can spin up another SQL Server container with a fresh database in seconds.

Windocks offers several ways to get databases along with a container.

  • Small databases You may add small databases into a container. Each time you create a container, the databases you need are physically copied into the container. This is suitable for databases upto a few GB in size. See Tutorial 2 of Getting started with SQL Server databases for the steps.
  • Single container with large databases You may mount an external databases to a single container. This approach is suitable if you have your own practical way of repeatedly creating the MDF, LDF, NDF files for the databases. You will need to create a the database files each time for each container since a set of MDF, LDF and NDF files can only be mounted to a single SQL Server container. See Tutorial 4 of Getting started with SQL Server databases for the steps.
  • Multiple containers with fast cloning of large databases If you need multiple writeable copies of the same large databases in multiple containers, then you may set up cloning of databases as explained in detail in the Guide to SQL Server containers with database cloning . If you want to see it in action, see this video of SQL Server containers with database cloning or contact us for a demo Windocks is the first product that integrates SQL Server database cloning with containers and images. The management of clones, creating and removing mount points is all done by Windocks - you do not have to write any scripts to manage mount points or clones. Cloning involves just two simple steps. First you set up an image using the docker build command or the web application UI. You may provide a full backup, differential backup or a snapshot of the MDF, LDF and NDF files. Second, after the image is created, you may use docker create or docker run or the web application UI to create containers that each have a writeable clone of the database. Container creation from the image is very fast and space occupied on disk is minimal compared to the size of the DB. Most users prefer to build the image using a docker client or the client provided by Windocks. Once the image is built, your dev teams can use the web application UI to get their own SQL Server environment with a their own fast clone of the large database, using just one click.

Windocks supports the creation of SQL Server 2017, 2016, 2014, 2012, 2008 R2, 2008 containers on Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows Server 2016

See our documentation for SQL Server containers. Starting with SQL Server containers or Contact us for a demo.

Windocks cloning - how it works

Windocks cloning is based on virtual disk technology. The image is created with a dockerfile and a docker build command. The path to the database backup or snapshot is specified in the dockerfile. Any data masking or other scripts are also specified in the dockerfile. Encryption related scripts are specified as well if the backup is encrypted. The first image created from a full backup is a long process depending on the size of the backup. Once the image is created, users can create clones in seconds from the image. This is based on differential disk technology. The clones can be mounted into containers or to SQL Server instances.

Download the Windocks free Community edition and try it for yourself. It is easy to install and start with.