A couple of years ago, I wrote an editorial about the future of database virtualization ("Riding the Virtualization Express: From Desktops to Database"). In that scenario, it wasn’t just the server instance or hardware that was virtualized, but the database itself. Contained databases are a big step in that direction. Although they're not completely independent of the SQL Server instance—in SQL Server 2012, it might be more correct to call them partially contained ...
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