Will Microsoft Windows / Hyper-V Container Users Really See the Same Benefits That Docker & Linux Container Users Do?

Despite its imperfections, some of which we’ll flag later on, DH2i’s DxEnterprise is increasingly validating itself as a competitor to Microsoft’s own tools for managing its relatively new container offerings.

Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder, DH2i asserts that his company’s DxEnterprise is analogous to Docker in that both solutions decouple the application from the infrastructure and the OS. Enterprises using containers from Microsoft can shrink the system count for the systems they administrate because they can stack multiple workloads on and across fewer OSes. “The MSFT professional saves hard money in terms of licensing fees, and soft costs in terms of managing less systems (it’s a lot easier to manage 10 systems than 100),” says Boxley.

Does DxEnterprise Defeat Docker On The Existing Application Front?

Boxley claims that DxEnterprise adds existing applications that are already running in the enterprise to containers in a way that Docker cannot. “With Docker, you need to write the app from scratch. With DxEnterprise, you can manage existing and/or new apps,” says Boxley.

According to Boxley, DH2i’s DxEnterprise container management software for Microsoft Windows Server environments enables workload and data portability and high availability for Windows Server applications and services. “Our pioneering container technology creates a framework for orchestrating datacenter management, high availability/disaster tolerance, and policy-based SLA management,” says Boxley.

“Windows Server management professionals need to be able to move an enterprise Windows app or workload from one host to another host, anywhere in their environment, at any time, within seconds to ensure data availability, protection, disaster recovery, and security, while lowering associated infrastructure and management costs by 30- to 60- percent,” says Boxley. (I have not verified this cost savings percentage data outside of Boxley’s statement.)

DxEnterprise Technical / Compatibility Strengths

According to Boxley, DxEnterprise leverages the native Windows file system (NTFS, an acronym for the New Technology File System) and shared or replicated storage technology to coordinate access to a pool of disk resources in the cluster, for consistent disk presentation no matter which host the container is active on. “DxEnterprise can support any current version or edition of SQL Server and OS across any physical, virtual or hybrid infrastructure,” touts Boxley. DH2i has broadly published a media release enumerating the Microsoft certifications it has received for DxEnterprise on platforms including Windows Server 2012, 2012 R2, each of those with Hyper-V, and SQL Server 2012 and 2014.

This next claim sounds too much like a 100-percent uptime promise to me, and I hold DH2i to it if I were you. Boxley boasts that business organizations can now assure “uninterrupted access” to their most business critical information and services using DH2i and DxEnterprise because DxEnterprise enables customers to containerize a workload/business service to ensure its high availability. “Once containerized, the business can move the workload from any host, to any host, anywhere, at any time,” says Boxley.

Savvy developers can already use Microsoft containers, with or without DH2i or DxEnterprise. The case here is for simplified usage and application agility. “The enterprise can move apps around to open-up/optimize system capacity in order to support/capitalize on an expected seasonal requirement or respond to an unexpected, immediate opportunity. When the burst need passes, you can move the apps back on-premise, to tier two storage, or to archiving, for example,” explains Boxley.

DH2i On Balance: Good, Not Perfect

Speaking of brand touting and horn tooting, lest we attribute all this fanfare to magic cool-aid freely doled out at a DH2i love-in, we find that sober-minded, vendor-neutral voices support the company and its accomplishments. Gartner named DH2i a Cool Vendor for 2015.
RedHerring recognized DH2i as a 2015 Top 100 Global Winner. DH2i received other recognition in 2015.

There are blemishes with any solution. For one user’s view into DH2i deployment realities, consider this review posted to ITCentralStation, which points up DxEnterprise setup issues and issues with DH2i products that were precursors / stepping stones to DxEnterprise.

David Geer

David Geer’s work has appeared in ScientificAmerican, The Economist Technology Quarterly, CSO & CSOonline, FierceMarkets, TechTarget, InformationWeek, Computerworld, Byte.com, ITWorld.com, IEEE Computer Society’s Computer magazine, IEEE Distributed Systems Online, Government Security News, Laptop, Smart Computing, Technical Support, The Hosting Standard (Canada), TechWorld.com (UK), SIGnature, Processor, and the Engineering News-Record. David served as a technician at CoreComm in Cleveland, OH prior venturing into writing.

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