DH2i Blog Article

The DH2i Story: A Commitment to Cross-Platform SQL Server Innovation

Josh Achtemeier
March 18, 2024

DH2i has accrued a diverse portfolio of timely innovations over the years, promptly answering the call of our customers and the industry to support and enhance the latest and greatest technologies released within the SQL Server ecosystem. In this blog: 

  • Discover how it all started for DH2i and some of the key technical capabilities added to our solution stack over time 
  • Understand what innovations drove the evolution of the DH2i brand over the last 14 years 
  • Learn how DH2i has sustained the ability to engineer solutions on a case-by-case basis for our customers, all while maintaining an ambitious pursuit of futureproof IT innovation that keeps your environment ‘Always-Secure and Always-On.’ 

The DH2i Origin Story

DH2i Company’s formal establishment in 2010 was partly the result of another software product, PolyServe, entering the end-of-life (EOL) path. Despite being acquired by Hewlett-Packard just a few years prior and having a satisfied customer base, the decision was made by HP to discontinue support for PolyServe. 

While HP’s acquisition did not bode well for PolyServe’s longevity as a technology, it did bring DH2i’s co-founders together to create something great. Don Boxley, a Senior Product Marketing Manager at the time, and OJ Ngo, Chief Software Architect of PolyServe SQL, saw a gaping opportunity in the market for this soon-to-be-removed technology. More importantly, they saw critical ways in which the solution could be improved upon, and created a brand-new software solution and IP stack that they coined, DxConsole (the 1st iteration of today’s DxEnterprise). The new solution introduced capabilities like automatic load-balancing, VSS/snapshot support, and many more. 

Keeping Our Footing at the Forefront of the Industry 

From the get-go, our management team has always plotted out a forward-thinking roadmap for our software products as far in advance as they can. By keeping close tabs on existing industry trends and an inquisitive attention to what might be “next,” DH2i has maintained an industry-leading product offering to fit the needs of SQL Server users around the globe with perpetuity. 

One of the beauties of the DH2i roadmap is that it is incredibly flexible and dynamic. Our co-founders’ commitment to keeping the company an entirely self-funded endeavor means they’ve maintained total flexibility to innovate in real time with the needs of the SQL Server industry. There are no outside investors to appease, no time-consuming board-approval processes, just a highly skilled and adaptive engineering team that has showed with regularity that it can deliver new product capabilities and support for SQL Server just as quickly as Microsoft can release it. 

Take SQL Server on Linux for example. This announcement caught the entire industry by surprise, but DH2i was able to adapt and launch DxEnterprise V17 with full support for Linux and Docker over a month before SQL Server 2017 went GA.  

March 7, 2016 – Microsoft announces SQL Server 2017 will support Linux and Docker  

August 29, 2017 – DH2i releases DxE v17 with full support for Linux and Docker containers 

October 2, 2017 – Microsoft officially releases SQL Server 2017 

It’s important to note that we didn’t just release a Linux-based DxEnterprise in this instance either. Staying committed to the pursuit of infrastructure agnostic and cross-platform technology, DxEnterprise V17 introduced unified smart high availability clustering for SQL Server on Windows and Linux, and for databases or stateful Docker containers. 

In a more recent example, DH2i was still able to achieve comprehensive SQL Server 2022 support prior to Microsoft’s GA announcement—integrating brand new features like Contained Availability Groups harmoniously with our unique mixed-platform cluster (Windows, Linux, and K8s) capabilities. 

November 2, 2021 – SQL Server 2022 announced at Microsoft Ignite 

November 14, 2022 – DH2i releases DxE v22 with full support for SQL Server 2022 

November 16, 2022 – SQL Server 2022 goes GA 

These are just a couple examples, but the following graphic shows many more of the technical capabilities that DH2i has added over the last several years to evolve with the needs of our customers and the industry. 

Check out this timeline of DH2i's timely SQL Server innovations with our Smart High Availability Clustering technology.

Adapting to the Needs of Our Customer Base 

DH2i customer experiences and insights using DxEnterprise are invaluable to the ongoing evolution of our products. That’s why we’ve often included the individual needs of our customers in our product roadmap, as well as the demands of the greater industry. Just recently we’ve introduced brand new functionality to our DxOperator tool to simultaneously deploy two SQL Server Kubernetes clusters in two isolated subnets, and automatically tie them together for HA/DR and unified management. 

Whether it be service packs, cumulative updates, or integrating a previously requested feature in a new software release, DH2i has kept our customers front-of-mind as we evolve our products to better meet the needs of the industry. 

Getting Ahead of the Industry with Exclusive SQL Server Kubernetes Capabilities 

Now, fast forward 14 years and you’ll see that DH2i has accomplished some incredible milestones:  

  • A customer portfolio spanning 5 continents 
  • A multitude of enterprise customers on the Fortune Global 500 list 
  • Innovative collaborations with high-profile partners like Microsoft and SUSE 

However, the industry traction that DxEnterprise’s SQL Server Kubernetes-centric features are now getting suggests this might be our most impactful technology to-date. Some of the key features that have been added to DxEnterprise (DxE) to enable the industry’s easiest path to highly available SQL Server in Kubernetes are: 

Fully Automatic Failover for SQL Server Availability Groups in Kubernetes – This exclusive capability enables DH2i to unambiguously offer the lowest possible downtime for SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs) in Kubernetes. This makes failover possible in seconds, rather than having to tolerate the default 5-minute outage window of Kubernetes’ pod-level failover. 

SQL Server Sidecar Containers – This exclusive technology allows users to deploy SQL Server AGs in Kubernetes in a sidecar container configuration. This means a separate SQL Server container image and DxEnterprise clusterware container image are deployed in the same pod. This application isolation drastically simplifies ongoing support for containerized SQL Server and entirely mitigates the headaches associated with custom container images. 

DxOperator – This newly released feature of DxE is a software extension to Kubernetes that uses custom resource definitions to automate the deployment of DxEnterprise clusters, and it provides all instrumentation to create, configure, and manage SQL Server Availability Groups. DxOperator unlocks maximum deployment speed and customizability, including exclusive capabilities like the ability to set up pod replication however you like—synchronous or asynchronous. 

Don Boxley, our CEO, expressed his vision for our technology stack by saying, “Since the founding of our company, we’ve been steadily integrating components into our system to create the ultimate high availability solution for SQL Server. We identified containers as a groundbreaking technology for SQL Server, potentially even more transformative than virtual machines. Our goal has always been to lead the way into the future with a solution that exceeds customer expectations.” 

CTO, OJ Ngo, added, “One of the most substantial obstacles to adopting SQL Server containers is grappling with intricate orchestration tools like Kubernetes. Our engineering team has been diligently working on creating user-friendly solutions. Although Helm chart deployment was a step forward, the enhanced configuration and automation capabilities in DxOperator represent a major advancement in SQL Server containerization.” 

The SQL Server industry is catching up to the container-centric capabilities offered by DH2i, and they are eager to harness the scalability, flexibility, and cost savings benefits that containerization promises. So eager in fact, that DH2i is currently on track to achieve 10x growth in 2024—just from SQL Server container projects alone. 

If you’re intrigued by what you heard about DxEnterpise, get registered for a short demo with a member of our team or download your own free software license to take it for a test drive in your own environment. 

If you have any questions about the content of this blog, the timeline graphic, or anything else DH2i related, please reach out to us at [email protected]. 

If you’re interested in learning more about DH2i’s approach to smart high availability technology, get signed up for a one-on-one demo today.

The author
Josh Achtemeier

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