Microsoft gets a huge numbers of downloads for SQL Server containers, but its stateful containers have issues with stateless Kubernetes and kept them in DevTest environments. DxE for Containers was built to change that.
Today DH2i, which makes multi-platform Software Defined Perimeter [SDP] software and Smart Availability software, has announced the general availability of DxEnterprise [DxE] for Containers. The new software is specifically designed to solve a problem which plagued SQL Server container users trying to use it with Kubernetes, although it will do the same thing for other stateful apps like Postgres and MySQL.
“We’ve been working with Microsoft on a number of products,” said Don Boxley, DH2i’s co-founder and CEO. “They were seeing seven-figure downloads of SQL Server Container per month – which is pretty significant. But these users couldn’t move into production. They were stuck in the DevTest phase because the Kubernetes failover process was too slow for stateful containers. It was taking two to ten minutes. They were used to Availability Groups with failovers happening in seconds. As a result, they couldn’t use Kubernetes for Tier One workloads. So Microsoft asked us to help them with that.”
The issue, Boxley said, is that SQL Server Availability Groups, which is how medium and large organizations typically run SQL Server, have not been supported in Kubernetes.
“DxE for Containers gives SQL Server containers the ability to do this inside of Kubernetes,” he stated. “It gets that near-zero RPO that SQL users are used to having. We provide the ability to build distributed Kubernetes clusters across multi-cloud environments through our express microtunnel technology. The ability to tie these together without VPNs is a big deal for everyone.”
While DH2i started with a major part of the puzzle in terms of that microtunnel technology, which was originally designed as a VPN replacement, Boxley said that coming up with this solution still took a lot of work.
“It was super hard to develop this, just in terms of container orchestration,” he noted. “Kubernetes won its battle with Docker/Swarm. But anyone thinking of making a development in enhancing Kubernetes is also confronted by the fact that it is open source, so they would just be giving it away if it’s part of the Kubernetes distribution.”
Boxley said that partnering with DH2i to get this solution to market quickly makes sense for Microsoft.
“They are racing to get on board with Linux and OS, but they don’t own those distributions, so in Linux environments they have to work with partners,” he stated. “For us, it creates a great opportunity to partner with them because we have leading edge technology in those spaces. It creates an opportunity for us and lets Microsoft get what they need in a more efficient way. It would take years for them to do what we’ve done on the Linux side. It makes more sense for them to choose to partner.”
“Together, SQL Server and Kubernetes provide users with an ideal solution for automating many of the manual processes involved in deploying, managing and scaling cloud-native applications,” said Ramnik Gulati, Director of Azure Data On-Premises Marketing, Microsoft. “By adding DH2i’s DxEnterprise for Containers, users have the industrial-grade HA necessary to implement and accelerate their digital transformation.”
Microsoft and DH2i do not have a joint Go-to-Market with this, however.
“We are not going to market combined, although we think we will get there eventually,” Boxley stated. “We will go out separately, with SQL and us combined into a Docker image.” Users can also subscribe to the free Developer Edition of (DxE) for Containers for non-production use.
Boxley expects that even without Microsoft helping to sell DxEnterprise for Containers, it will still do well.
“Based on the pent-up demand, we are expecting a very good uptake,” he said. “It’s not just for SQL. We can manage other stateful applications like Postgres or MySQL the same way. Anything you try to do stateful inside Kubernetes has problems because it wasn’t designed for that. It was designed for stateless.”