Get started with SQL Server big data clusters

THIS TOPIC APPLIES TO:yesSQL Server (starting with 2019)noAzure SQL DatabasenoAzure SQL Data Warehouse noParallel Data Warehouse

This article provides an overview of how to deploy a SQL Server 2019 big data cluster (preview). It is meant to orient you to the concepts and provide a framework for understanding the other deployment articles in this section. Your specific deployment steps vary based on your platform choices for the client and server.

Client tools

Big data clusters require a specific set of client tools. Before you deploy a big data cluster to Kubernetes, you should install the following tools:

Tool Description
mssqlctl Deploys and manages big data clusters.
kubectl Creates and manages the underlying Kubernetes cluster.
Azure Data Studio Graphical interface for using the big data cluster.
SQL Server 2019 extension Azure Data Studio extension that enables big data cluster features.

Other tools are required for different scenarios. Each article should explain the prerequisite tools for performing a specific task. For a full list of tools and installation links, see Install SQL Server 2019 big data tools.


Big data clusters are deployed as a series of interrelated containers that are managed in Kubernetes. You can host Kubernetes in a variety of ways. Even if you already have an existing Kubernetes environment, you should review the related requirements for big data clusters.

Deploy a big data cluster

After configuring Kubernetes, you deploy a big data cluster with the mssqlctl cluster create command. When deploying, you can take several different approaches.

  • If you are deploying to a dev-test environment, you can choose to use one of the default configurations provided by mssqlctl.

  • To customize your deployment, you can create and use your own deployment configuration files.

  • For a completely unattended installation, you can pass all other settings in environment variables. For more information, see unattended deployments.

Deployment scripts

Deployment scripts can help deploy both Kubernetes and big data clusters in a single step. They also often provide default values for big data cluster settings. For an example of a deployment script for big data cluster on Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS), see the following article:

Deploy a SQL Server 2019 big data cluster with a deployment script (AKS).

You can customize any deployment script by creating your own version that configures the big data cluster environment variables differently.

Next steps

After you successfully deploy a big data cluster, connect to the cluster and consider loading sample data for use with several walkthroughs.