Containers and Environments


A Container is a group of one or more databases, either on the same server or on different servers. Each database in the group is identified by the database name and its SQL server instance name (or IP address). A single database can belong to several Containers. In other words, a database that belongs to one Container can belong to other Containers as well.

Containers allow users to group multiple databases into a single entity so that scripts and queries could be run against all databases in the Container in parallel. Throughout this document, the term script is used to denote all types of SQL and T-SQL statements, such as table and user creation statements, stored procedure and SQL job execution commands, queries, or any other data definition or data manipulation statements.

Think of the group of databases in a Container as the set of target databases on which SQL scripts will be executed. To deploy code and scripts on several databases simultaneously, the user is only required to create a Container that consists of all desired target databases, and then execute the script against the Container (see samples and figures below). Combine will then automatically connect to all databases defined in the Container and execute the script on those databases. In addition, if any result sets (e.g., data sets, data tables) are returned from one or more target databases in response to the deployment of the script, Combine will automatically format and aggregate the results returned from all servers, and will then display the unified results to the user.

As an example, consider the following diagram that describes three different Containers: Container1 consists of all user-defined databases on the DevSvr1 and DevSvr2 servers. The target databases of Container2 are the DBA databases named DBAMaint on the two servers, and Container3 holds the set of Web databases, namely Web1Dev and Web2Dev. With these mappings, the user can now run scripts and queries against several databases in parallel. For instance, if we execute the SQL statement   SELECT * FROM sysindexes   against Container1, then the content of sysindexes will be returned from all six databases in the container. Similarly, running a script that creates a stored procedure against Container3 will create the stored procedure on the Web1Dev and Web2Dev databases at the same time. Additional examples are provided in the images below. By running scripts and queries against Containers, database administrators can easily collect information about indexes, jobs, and all other database objects by a click of a button (see sample code packages in our support forums).

Figure 1:  An example of mapping databases to Containers.

Figure 2:  The results displayed by Combine after selecting top 5 rows from sysindexes and running EXEC msdb..sp_help_job against the DBA Databases container.

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