DH2i is adding support for Linux-based containers to its traditionally Windows-centric container management platform, citing increased demand from enterprise customers.
The company’s software is basically a container-as-a-service (CaaS) platform that now includes support for a broader range of container hosts. That expanded platform uses a unified interface to support various Linux-based permutations along with Microsoft container services.
Don Boxley, CEO and co-founder of DH2i, said the new software uses virtual host technology that decouples databases and containers from their underlying infrastructures. This allow for workloads to be migrated across hosts, and for DH2i to manage the connection needs.
“Customers think they need to migrate those workloads if they want to move from Windows to Linux or Docker, which they think is very complex,” Boxley said. “With our ability to manage the connections to the outside world transparently, we can support moving workloads without needing to migrate. It’s really simple for customers.”
Boxley said the platform supports Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Ubuntu, CentOS, and Windows Server.
“Once the workloads are in our environment, we don’t care where it’s hosted,” Boxley said.
“Last year, we were more of a Windows company,” Boxley said. “Our customers were mostly in that environment, so that was our focus.”
Boxley said the company has since seen strong demand from customers looking to expand outside the Microsoft ecosystem. That demand in turn allowed for the move to integrate Linux into DH2i’s DxEnterprise platform.
“Linux has always been on our road map, but it didn’t have a compelling business case,” Boxley explained. “But, our customers have begun asking for support, so we made the move.”
Boxley added that many of its customers are dependent on Windows, but felt they were not being supported by their legacy vendor if they wanted to move to Linux or Docker.
Analysts noted the multiplatform support caters to the evolving container ecosystem, which continues to challenge enterprises.
“DH2i’s support for high availability using containers on Windows and Linux matches the challenges and mixed-use reality facing many enterprise organizations today,” said Jay Lyman, principal analyst at 451 Research. The analyst firm predicts the enterprise software market to be worth more than $3 billion within the next four years.
Piece of the Pie
In terms of getting a piece of the financial pie, DH2i licenses its software through either a perpetual model or a subscription model. Boxley said companies have traditionally gone with the subscription model, but after a few years of using the software realized they probably should have gone with the perpetual license.
More forcefully, Boxley said the company was not interested in “developers or hobbyists looking to play with our technology. They don’t buy anything. We are not giving away anything for free. That’s a trap that’s difficult to get out of.”
Boxley cited Docker Inc. as an example of that challenge.
“They are trying to make money now, but most developers are using [Docker Consumer Edition] and finding that it’s good enough,” Boxley said. “You need to get in there early and show the customer the value in what you are offering.”
DH2i was founded in 2010, and has so far not reached out for funding. Boxley and DH2i Co-Founder OJ Ngo came out of Hewlett Packard.
As for the broader market, Boxley said that many of its smaller customers are only interested in using containers if their software vendor comes to them with a platform that can show a return on investment.
“A lot of companies we talk to are looking at containers, but we have not seen a lot kick-off projects yet,” Boxley explained. “The customers that we have talked to and that are getting involved are on the high end, with big budgets and big teams that can afford to knock things off.”