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VMblog's Expert Interviews: DH2i Talks Overcoming the Obstacles Preventing Digital Transformation


Virtually every day, new and innovative technologies and methodologies are being introduced with the promise of enabling digital transformation nirvana.  However, most IT professionals will tell you that this transformation cannot be achieved before decisions are made, and actions taken, regarding existing infrastructure.  The question for many remains, how do you wrangle everything you already have in place (sometimes in places you have forgotten about)?  Today, we speak with Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder, DH2i ( on this timely and important topic. 

VMblog:  In speaking with your end customers and strategic channel partners, what are the top challenges being faced by today's IT management - especially in terms of taking the next steps towards digital transformation?

Don Boxley:  The top challenge is a slow digital transformation process due primarily to a lack of adaptability. The most forward looking and innovative companies have recognized that the biggest barrier to digital business transformation is legacy IT infrastructure. Hundreds of millions of operating systems have been installed for Windows and Linux, and an operating system doesn't exist in a vacuum-every OS is on some kind of server, whether physical, virtual or cloud. Also, every server has a whole host of other components that go with it, from power and cooling, to storage and networking. Traditional HA have added to this legacy by forcing companies to create constrained, application specific HA solutions. So it crucial for companies to target solving the dichotomous issue of having a ton of disparate infrastructure that needs to undergo transformation, but needing to do so in a way that minimizes business impact. Failure to solve this problem will be existential for companies. CB Insights recently published a list of 40 Bankruptcies In The Retail Apocalypse And Why They Failed. One of the key reasons was a "lack of adaptability".

VMblog:  How has this changed from what you were hearing 5-10 years ago, and why do you think that is? 

Boxley:  5-10 years the focus was on using virtualization to consolidate bare metal servers. But now that roughly 75%-80% of server workloads have been virtualized, IT has realized they've created an explosion of virtual operating system environments that have to be managed at great expense.

VMblog:  There are those in the industry, including DH2i, that feel there should be a progression away from seeking "high availability" in one's datacenter, to instead striving for "smart availability" - can you explain the difference, and why should business and IT professionals care?

Boxley:  The difference between Smart Availability and high availability as embodying both a significant difference in mindset and a bigger difference in the technology. Many IT pros are stuck in the mindset that high availability software only includes is a solution for mitigating unplanned outages-and their schema for the technology is that it will always be complex to manage and cost a fortune to license. A "smart" approach to availability turns these paradigms upside down. Generally, it encompasses the confidence that availability technology isn't an inconvenient, hard-to-manage necessity in your environment. Instead it is an invaluable tool that cannot only minimize planned and unplanned downtime, but also help facilitate the optimization of your environment as a whole-from a total downtime perspective, a utilization perspective and cost perspective.

From a technical standpoint, Smart Availability software blows traditional HA solutions out of the water. Built-in, intelligent automation goes past just making sure that virtual machines are replicated and up and running. Smart Availability focuses at that the workload -level to ensure that all native and containerized workloads are running at their best execution venues-performing at an optimal level on the infrastructure at which it makes the most sense. Smart Availability also employs easy modernization capability in which you can failover workloads into OS or application updates in just a matter of seconds. Lastly, Smart Availability technology mitigates growing complexity and simplifies future growth by unifying the management of Windows, Linux and Docker workloads in a single highly available, management environment.

VMblog:  How does smart availability better prepare organizations for digital transformation?

Boxley:  Smart Availability helps companies to simplify their existing chaotic environment, allowing them to encapsulate their existing workloads on the fly. It's about the ability to move workloads from any host, to any host, anywhere in their environment, at any point in time by supporting a mixed operating system environment. This approach optimizes enterprise operations by unlocking the freedom to dynamically move workloads to always run on their best execution venues.

Here's the bigger reason why this approach is a game-changer: when companies have the ability to encapsulate workloads and move them around, they can start to think differently about how they manage their applications. Instead of thinking, "I've got it here, running on this old box, and I've got to migrate it to this new box," migration is no longer the conversation piece. Instead, it becomes about moving each workload where it makes the most sense. Because it may be that the old box does some things pretty well, but for a certain time during the month, it would be nice to be able to take advantage of another capability on more suitable infrastructure.

VMblog:  You recently announced DxEnterprise version 17.5 - can you explain how it delivers on the promise of smart availability?

Boxley:  DxE 17.5 is Smart Availability software helps companies speed their digital business transformation by enabling them to create a distributed data management framework that enables their Windows and Linux databases, application services and containers to dynamically find their best execution venue (BEV).  That means all their databases, workloads and containers become portable from any host, to any host, anywhere with near-zero downtime. Intelligent automation ensures that those databases, workloads and containers only come online where they can perform at an optimal level, compliant with business requirements and SLAs.

The great advantage of DH2i software is that it does not force companies to switch from their legacy platforms. It helps companies to drastically reduce the IT management complexity of their legacy environments, enables nearest-to-zero planned and unplanned downtime, unlocks 30-60% cost savings by reducing the number of OSes under management by 3-10x.

VMblog:  What should our readers be thinking about as they plan for the next stage of their datacenter evolution?

Boxley:  That there are solutions that will help them speed their digital transformation projects without forcing them to switch from their legacy platforms. Solutions that will drastically reduce the IT management complexity of those legacy environments, improve availability and unlock substantial cost savings.


Published Thursday, May 24, 2018 7:27 AM by David Marshall
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