Last year, I had the chance to interview Paul Stanton, the co-founder of Windocks, a company that delivers solutions that provide on-demand containerized database environments for enterprises. In that article, Paul and I talked about the challenges of containerizing Microsoft SQL Server databases in Windows Containers on Windows Server and how Windocks overcame those challenges to become the provider of Windows SQL Server containers and database cloning. Windocks is widely seen as a leader in on-demand database environments for development and test, DevOps, and other lower-level environment needs. Recognized by Gartner as a Cool Vendor in Cloud Infrastructure, Windocks is relied on by leading SaaS operators and enterprises around the globe. Windocks runs on any Windows servers on any premise infrastructure or in the public cloud, with monthly subscriptions that start at $499 per month. Supported no-cost evaluations and pilots are also available for customers who require them.
Just recently, Paul reached out to me to let me know that Windocks has now been expanded to support both Postgres and MySQL. These two free and open-source relational database platforms are highly popular in enterprise environments, and having them supported on Windows Containers is a big plus for companies that base their infrastructure on the Windows Server platform. This was exciting news to me, so I asked Paul if he could give us a taste of their solution’s newly expanded relational database platform support.
“I just wanted to give you a heads up,” Paul told me, “as I knew you’re really interested in this area. We’ve just released the first commercially supported Windows Postgres and MySQL containers, and also the only containers with built-in database cloning. I think it’s newsworthy as anyone who wants to work with Docker containers on Postgres and MySQL have been limited to Linux up until now, so we’re excited about making these capabilities available to Windows admins and DBAs.”
I asked Paul for more details about their newly added Postgres and MySQL support, and he responded like this: “Basically, our company noted a lack of commercially supported Windows Postgres and MySQL container and database cloning support, and is responding to customer demand for Postgres and MySQL support. Windocks launched publicly in 2016 as an independent port of Docker’s open source to Windows and has focused on SQL server containers and database cloning. Windocks containers are created and managed with standard Docker client software and commands and include a web UI for user self-service of environments.
“Windocks database cloning is not limited to local Windows containers, but also supports the delivery of cloned database environments to Linux and Windows Postgres and MySQL containers and conventional instances on the LAN. Database cloning is popular for on-demand delivery of production databases for development, testing, and DevOps. Each database clone requires only 40MB of storage and supports delivery of complex database environments that can include dozens of databases. A single server supports up to 50 or more simultaneous database environments, resulting in a 99 percent reduction in storage consumption. Windocks reports that customers moving from fixed instances and VMs typically reduce lower-level environment costs by 50 percent to 70 percent.
“Let’s look at a few screenshots to illustrate. This first figure shows how the Windocks web UI abstracts the Docker CLI for user self-service access to images that can include delivery of cloned databases:
“This second figure shows how standard Docker commands support building custom images that include cloned databases. Here a custom Postgres 12.3 image is built to deliver a customer’s database. A create command then delivers the Postgres container with the customers’ database:
“Windocks runs wherever Windows servers are supported, including any on-premises infrastructure or cloud. The company reports that growth has accelerated in 2020, driven by the ongoing shift to cloud-native containers, and enterprise interest in improved #WFH support.”
That last comment from Paul struck me as incisive as the trend toward cloud-native computing has been accelerating in recent times as more enterprises switch to containers from virtual machines and are using Kubernetes to automate the deployment, operation, and scaling of application containers. In fact, containers plus Kubernetes equals cloud-native, at least in its current incarnation.
Who knows where it will all head in the future? Stay in touch with our TechGenix website if you want to keep abreast of the latest developments in this area as we focus a lot of our content on this subject. Here are five recent articles on this topic on our website, you may want to check them out to learn more about what’s happening in the containerization world:
Virtual machines to containers: How to make a seamless transition: Migrating virtual machine-based applications to containers can be a daunting process. But if you take the time and plan it out, you will be rewarded.
Creating Docker images for the IT professional: Initial steps: In this two-part series, you will learn how to create and manage Docker images, an essential skill for every modern IT professional.
Get started with Kubernetes — whether you’re an IT pro or newbie: A number of tools with different functionalities can help you get started with Kubernetes. Here’s how to identify the best tool for your development needs.
Kubernetes for IT pros: Components and building blocks: IT pros must know about Kubernetes. This Kubernetes for IT pros primer shows you the components that are the backbone of the Kubernetes architecture.
5 ways to automate Kubernetes cluster management: While there are several tools and platforms to automate Kubernetes cluster management, it’s important to know how deep you can go before you drown.