Windocks started as an independent port of Docker’s source to Windows, and in early 2017 became the first container engine with integrated database cloning. The combination of SQL Server containers with database cloning allows the delivery of Terabyte class data environments in seconds, with full read/write support. The combination is proving itself as a means to modernize enterprise data delivery and software development.

Our progress has drawn the attention of forward thinking CIOs, and a number have asked us to provide an economical, modern, open, data delivery alternative to Delphix. Windocks has taken a significant step with the release of Windocks 2.5. In this article we look at how Windocks is evolving, how organizations benefit, and why so many are asking for a new Windows-based approach.

Application driven vs storage appliances for data delivery

Windocks is the first container engine to incorporate database cloning, and automates the creation, management, and delivery of data for development, test, QA, and reporting and BI. Originally released in March of 2016 as an independent port of Docker’s source to Windows, Windocks runs wherever Windows Servers are supported, both on the public cloud and on premises. The Windocks 2.5 release adds a Management Server that simplifies sourcing, managing, and delivery of data within the enterprise.

End-users access data images, sourced from the enterprise SAN or Windows based SQL Server clones, with delivery to workstations and servers, or to Microsoft Docker SQL Server containers. A new web interface is popular, allowing users to select data images with delivery to their workstation, shared server, or container. Automation for Continuous Integration, and compute intensive ETL and reporting jobs is also expanding rapidly. In an era of increasingly automated infrastructure, we believe that applications should automate the underlying infrastructure (of storage and ultimately data delivery).

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Legacy data delivery platforms are storage appliances with bolted on UI to simplify data access. UNIX solutions feature decade’s old architecture, with high prices and dedicated admins that requires client-side applications for application aware service. Adoption is a tops-down IT and infrastructure-led decision, complete with big budgets and timelines, and high failure rates.

A modern cloud-native solution should be simple to adopt and scale, and should generate immediate returns through more efficient infrastructure use. Windocks is a simple addition to existing servers or workstations, and a DBA can be build and deliver SQL Server clones in the first hour of use. Windocks pays-its-way, with an immediate reduction in VMs (average 5:1 or more). Fewer VMs means lower license, operating, and maintenance costs.

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In addition to the advantages already listed, Windocks enhances data security with immutable, auditable data images. Security is incorporated into data images by default and by design, by including user/group permissions, data masking, encryption, and other enterprise data policies. Windocks also provides enterprise wide reporting on data usage, with rich metadata for corporate data catalogs and metadata strategies.

Open to enterprise infrastructure, but not tied to it

One measure of a modern data delivery platform should be the option to be free of existing enterprise infrastructure. While Windocks integrates with storage arrays, including NetApp, Pure Storage, EqualLogic, and others, Windocks also enable SQL Server DBAs to build data images with Windows based database clones. Delphix, and other legacy platforms, support integration with enterprise infrastructure or support UNX ZFS based clones, but don’t offer Windows-native cloning.

Windocks is also leading the way by supporting data delivery to the broadest range of SQL Server targets, including Microsoft Docker SQL Server containers (both Windows and Linux), as well as SQL Server instances (on premise and any public cloud), along with Windocks SQL Server containers (for Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2016). New solutions will soon be available for Kubernetes and other cloud native instances.

It's time for Windows-native data delivery!

It’s a curious fact that while Windows and Linux are dominant platforms for enterprise and cloud computing, that the storage industry features high-priced proprietary file, object, and block storage systems. Delphix is one of many, with stratospheric prices, and antiquated business model. Delphix was an early pioneer in the field, with ZFS based snapshots, but now carries the technical debt and is forced to pursue a high-priced enterprise sale.

Windocks is pleased to be forging ahead with a Windows-native approach for data delivery. For those interested in modernizing SQL Server workflows, with containers and database cloning, start today by downloading the free Windocks Community Edition.

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