Back in 2017, Microsoft announced the SQL Server on Windows Containers Beta program, enabling developers to connect to SQL Server instances from inside the same container or outside it. The benefits included facilitation of setting up and maximizing density of instances for development and test purposes, and to isolate and govern applications in a multi-tenant environment.
Today, Microsoft has announced that it is suspending the program.
In a brief blog post, Microsoft has highlight that the SQL Server on Windows Containers Beta program is being suspended because of ecosystem challenges and "usage patterns". The latter suggests that the program simply didn't have enough users to warrant continued support. The company has carefully worded its statement to indicate that there are no plans to resume the initiative in the foreseeable future, but it will make a public announcement if circumstances change.
The Redmond tech giant has suggested that users migrate to SQL Server on Linux Containers, which is already supported in production environments unlike its Windows counterpart. It is important to note that SQL Server on Windows Containers never managed to ditch its "beta" tag, so was not intended for production use anyway. That said, this announcement will still irk developers who had invested time in building applications that make use of this capability, or those who utilized it in production environments.
Moving forward, Microsoft has stated that the SQL Server Express and Developer for Windows Containers Docker repositories will be deleted soon. The tags in these repositories will be deleted as well and Docker images will not available for download.