Dan's Take

Container-as-a-Service for SQL Server

DH2i points to container advantages for Microsoft's flagship database.

DH2i, whose vision is enabling enterprise applications to move freely and transparently among physical, virtual and cloud environments, just announced a new approach to enable SQL Server-based application mobility. It's based on containers, a form of operating system virtualization and partitioning (OSVP). At the heart of this offering is DH2i's DxEnterprise container management software, which brings containers to Microsoft Windows computing environments.

DH2i and RackSpace are working together to supply a container-as-a-service (CaaS) offering for enterprises using Microsoft's SQL Server-based applications. RackSpace says that DH2i leverages its support for Microsoft Private Cloud and dedicated servers to deliver its CaaS offering. RackSpace also clarified that "We are very excited to see the innovative technology that they have developed on top of our managed infrastructure. However, Rackspace is not reselling or offering the DH2i CaaS product as a part of our portfolio."

DH2i claims that moving SQL workloads into containers makes it possible for customers to reduce the cost of deploying these applications into a cloud computing environment by 50 percent when compared to using a standard cloud service offering. DH2i says this is because a container-based approach uses less machine resources than the typical virtual machine (VM)-based cloud service offering.

DH2i also points out that this approach offers built-in high availability (HA) capabilities, since it's possible for container-based workloads to be migrated from host to host in the case of a slowdown or machine failure. DH2i also said that this approach helps enterprises with workload health and quality of service management.

DH2i CaaS supports Windows Server 2008R2 through 2016, and can manage any version of SQL Server from 2005 to 2016 (of any edition) in any combination. 

Dan's Take: Find the Right Solution, Rather Than the Most Familiar
Although much of the media hype is directed toward VM software, virtualization is a much broader topic. Using a VM-based approach has become a knee-jerk reaction for many organizations, even though other approaches might perform better and be less costly to implement.

DH2i and RackSpace contend that selecting another approach, such as the use of containers, can be both better and more cost-effective.

As I've often pointed out, there are many layers of technology that virtualize some portion of a computing environment. Each offers a different mix of performance, reliability/availability, scalability, consolidation, agility, a unified management domain or some other goal. It's wise for decision-makers to take the time to understand the needs of each of their workloads and make an informed choice of virtualization technology.

The choice of the appropriate virtualization technology requires a clear understanding of the organization's objectives, its level of expertise and its budget. Suppliers, such as DH2i, suggest enterprises place their SQL Server-based workloads in the most appropriate virtual environment, rather than just blindly seeing VMs as the answer to every question. It's good advice.

About the Author

Daniel Kusnetzky, a reformed software engineer and product manager, founded Kusnetzky Group LLC in 2006. He's literally written the book on virtualization and often comments on cloud computing, mobility and systems software. He has been a business unit manager at a hardware company and head of corporate marketing and strategy at a software company.

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