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IT Briefcase Exclusive Interview: Better to be Smart than High, When it Comes to Availability

May 4, 2018 No Comments

I recently had the chance to sit down with Don Boxley, CEO and Co-Founder of DH2i (, to talk about the discussion transition going on in enterprise IT datacenters around the world – that is, why it is critical to the longevity and future success of an organization to stop thinking about availability in terms of how “high” it is, but rather instead, how “smart.”

  • Q: Do you feel that traditional options for high availability (HA) have reached their uppermost limit of benefit – and now deliver more problems than answers? If so, why?

A: Yes. I believe this is due primarily to 2 reasons: 1. Lack of adaptability; 2. They don’t create a clear path for digital transformation. The most successful companies in this area 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 catastrophic 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.”

  • Q: The need to reduce or eliminate downtime isn’t going away — if anything, its gaining in criticality. If traditional HA is no longer the answer, what is?

A: We think is Smart Availability is the right approach. The difference between Smart Availability and high availability (HA) embodies 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 is a solution for mitigating unplanned outages—and their schema for the technology is one that 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 a 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 the workload-level to ensure that all native and containerized workloads are running at their best execution venues (BEVs) —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.

  • Q: Digital transformation is also at the top of IT’s priority list, how do/does alternate availability option(s) address it?

A: 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 (BEVs).

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 from a business, IT and budgetary standpoint. 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.

  • Q: You recently announced v17.5 of your DxEnterprise software. Can you tell us about it — how does it address new paradigms in availability, and how does it assist with digital transformation (or if not today, is it on the roadmap to do so soon)?

A: DxEnterprise (DxE) version 17.5 is Smart Availability software that 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, and unlocks 30-60% cost savings by reducing the number of OSes under management by 3-10x

  • Q: Where can people go to learn more about DxEnteprise?

A: We would encourage people to visit: To request a demo, please visit:

Don Boxley (1)

Don Boxley Jr is a DH2i co-founder and CEO. Prior to DH2i, Don held senior marketing roles at Hewlett-Packard where he was instrumental in sales and marketing strategies that resulted in significant revenue growth in the scale-out NAS business. Don has spent more than 20 years in management positions for leading technology companies, including Hewlett-Packard, CoCreate Software, Iomega, TapeWorks Data Storage Systems and Colorado Memory Systems.  Don earned his MBA from the Johnson School of Management, Cornell University.



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