Access to enterprise relational data is a challenge. Surveys consistently indicate that slow delivery of relational database environments is blocking software development and test. The problem is compounded with Storage Array Networks (SANs) that are limited to on premise use, hindering Cloud migration. SANs also contribute to silo’d IT operations, with outdated UNIX file systems that lack end-user support.

Delphix stands out for work in enterprise delivery of Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and other environments. Delphix has built a solid reputation, but is hindered with an aging Solaris based design, burdensome complexity (2,300 page User Guide), and high cost. Delphix requires dedicated Admins and carries “mainframe” pricing that can exceed a million dollars.

It’s not surprising that a number of current and prospective Delphix customers have approached Windocks for a simpler, affordable, modern solution. Windocks led the market as the first port of Docker’s source to Windows in April of 2016, with support for the full SQL Server product family. Earlier this year Windocks became the first container engine to incorporate database cloning. Containers with database cloning are emerging as an ideal platform for implementing, securing, and delivering enterprise data environments. Windocks runs on Windows servers, for support of public cloud or on premise use, with a simple, affordable solution.

Containers + SAN = Automated Workflow

Containers provide significant benefits over VMs, being provisioned in seconds with teams working on containers on a shared server. Time is saved previously spent in maintaining application environments, and new team members can be immediately productive. Teams reduce Virtual Machines usage on average by 5:1.

Containers are not only fast and more efficient, but also simplify integration with SAN hosted data. Windocks SQL Server containers are built on-demand, and include SAN based snapshot provisioning and mounting during the container build. Many Windocks customers use NetApp, EqualLogic, and other SANs with Dockerfiles that automate use of snapshots, and delivery of mounted data.

This same automation is available with a new class of SAN, referred to as Copy Data Management (CDM) systems. Rubrik, Actifio, and others host database snapshots that are accessible via restful APIs and PowerShell to support container integration and delivery.

Windows based database clones

Businesses without Storage Array Networks can use Windocks built-in SQL Server database cloning. SQL Server clones utilize the same storage virtualization techniques employed by SANs, and deliver writable Terabyte class environments in seconds, with each clone requiring less than 40 MB. Windocks cloning can be done on the Windocks server, or SMB or NFS attached Windows file shares. The result is a simple to implement and affordable option for database environment delivery.

Windocks: a modern, open approach to delivery of enterprise data

In addition to integration with NetApp and other Storage Array Networks, Windocks is expanding support for delivery of data to any container or conventional application environment. In a few weeks Windocks will add support for delivery of data to Microsoft’s native containers, with improved support for conventional SQL Server instances. Windocks will also deliver Linux hosted data, for MySQL, DB2, and other environments driven by customer need.

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As a platform for dynamic data delivery Windocks provides database cloning on Windows hosts, integrates with SANs and CDM systems, and delivers data environments to Linux and Windows hosted application environments (both containers and conventional).

Managing data environments while delivering end-user self-service

Windocks data images can include scores of databases, with data masking implemented during the image build. Data images are stored in the Windocks registry, versioned and auditable, and provide benefits for improved data governance and regulatory compliance.

Windocks includes a web based application that will be enhanced to define, implement, and control access to approved images. DBAs will be able to automate delivery of environments to servers or workstations, and update environments as needed. Developers and Testers can self-service environments with pre-defined connection strings (ports and SQL Server credentials), simplifying their daily work. The workflow also integrates with Jenkins, Git, and other CI tooling, making it ideal for automated testing support.

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Windocks includes automates cleanup of volumes and mount points. Windocks will also support defining and implementing scheduled jobs and tasks, or implementing backup and image updating policies, utilizing log backups.

Support for Development and Test are the most popular use for relational data environments, but analytics and reporting is another strong use case, as well as data governance and regulatory compliance. Finally, Windocks dashboards will deliver insight on system usage, and help assess test coverage for various projects.

A new approach to enterprise data management and delivery

Customer feedback is enthusiastic for a Windows and container based solution that is open to SAN hosted data, with delivery to Windocks or Microsoft containers, and conventional application instances. We’re excited by the opportunity and hard at work and expect to release early versions in the coming weeks.

The only fair summary is we intend to compete and supplant Delphix with a superior solution. For those of you interested in a modern, affordable, Windows based approach to enterprise data delivery give us a call and get started! Now is the time to get onboard with SQL Server based containers and database clones! Register for your free evaluation of Windocks here.

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