Open source tools for SQL Server on Linux

I am a sucker for a great tool and even better if it's open source.

Recently, I wrote up a post on why we should care about containers where I used SQL Server on Linux in a container and loaded some test data for an ASP.NET Core application in lieu of using a full database server.

SQL Server on Linux has a built-in command line tool for connecting and executing commands against the database. However, each time you use it; it requires a login, password etc.

/opt/mssql-tools/bin/sqlcmd -S localhost -d Names -U SA -P $SA_PASSWORD -I -Q "SELECT TOP 5 ID,FullName FROM Names;" 


Introducing the mssql-cli, a new interactive and cross-platform CLI tool. This tool brings modern experiences to the command line including syntax highlighting, intellisense, multi-line mode, special commands, and many configuration settings. This is a huge upgrade over the interactive experience in sqlcmd.

Adding to a container

In order to install the mssql-cli tool in my SQL Server on Linux container (Ubuntu 16.04), create a Dockerfile and use the instructions in the docs for Ubuntu 16.04.

FROM microsoft/mssql-server-linux:latest

# Import the public repository GPG keys
RUN wget -qO- |  apt-key add -

# Update the list of products
RUN apt-get update

# install curl
RUN apt-get install curl -y

# Register the Microsoft Ubuntu repository
RUN curl -o /etc/apt/sources.list.d/microsoft.list

# Update the list of products
RUN apt-get update

# Install mssql-cli
RUN apt-get install mssql-cli  

Build the and run the image.

# build the image and tag it sql1
docker build -t sql1 .

# run the image, accepting the EULA and setting the user/password for sa.
# also used --name for ease instead of using ID
docker run -e 'ACCEPT_EULA=Y' -e 'SA_PASSWORD=!Passw0rd' -p 1433:1433 --name sql1 -d sql1  

Exec into the container and start mssql-cli

docker exec -it sql1 mssql-cli  

Upon start, you'll be prompted for the username/password.

SQL Operations Studio

If you prefer a GUI experience, SQL Operations Studio is a new cross-platform and open source database management tool that works with SQL Server, Azure SQL DB, and Azure SQL Data Warehouse.

Forked from VS Code, SQL Operations Studio uses many of the great editor features of VS Code while adding modern UI for interacting with SQL Server databases. In addition, there is an extensibility manager similar to VS Code so that DBAs and developers can choose the features they want.

Connecting to a database

To connect to our docker container, the port 1433 is mapped to localhost:1433. Therefore, localhost is the server.

SQL Ops Studio has a ton of great capabilities beyond just running queries. You can build awesome server and database management dashboards too.


The code is open source, give it a try and provide feedback -

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Hi, I'm Shayne Boyer, I write this site, work on ASP.NET Core content and Open Source, speak at national and community events while helping teams architect web and cloud applications.

linux opensource sqlserver