Cloud-native Workloads: Data-driven Applications

Stateful cloud-native apps need a database. We tested Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Containers on Dell Technologies APEX with VMware Tanzu.

There is nothing like a demo to make a concept real in the IT world. This blog describes one of a series of specific examples illustrating the use of APEX Cloud Services with VMware Tanzu, the platform for open-source-based cloud-native applications leveraging containers with Kubernetes orchestration.

While cloud-native patterns may encourage stateless applications, that doesn’t mean they don’t produce and use data. Most business-critical applications create, process or interact with data in many forms so databases are a key part of application transformation. Three tier architectures that segregate presentation, business logic and data services are the accepted pattern for these applications. Usually, transaction processing systems and data warehouses are a key building block that is not developed in-house. Commercial relational database management system (RDBMS) products enable developers to create many applications that they otherwise could not.

The use of Microsoft SQL Server 2019 in containers orchestrated with Kubernetes helps transform the development and delivery process for modern applications. Using orchestration and automation, developers can self-provision a Microsoft SQL Server database, increasing productivity and saving substantial time. This can be the foundation for your in-house developed applications as well as third-party applications that will be part of your future application portfolio.

Agile operations need speed. This has often led DevOps teams to go around IT operations by using public cloud to get self-service access to a modern applications environment. But not all applications are appropriate for public cloud deployment. DevOps teams can have a full self-service modern applications environment in their private infrastructure with VMware Tanzu running on APEX Private Cloud Service. APEX Private Cloud simplifies VMware cloud adoption as a platform for application modernization. It is based on Dell EMC VxRail with VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and vSAN Enterprise and is available as a 1- or 3-year subscription with hardware, software and services (deployment, rack integration, support and asset recovery) components included in a single monthly price. VMware Tanzu Basic Edition was added post-deployment to create the Container-as-a-Service platform with Kubernetes running integrated in the vSphere hypervisor.

Diagram of Microservices architecture compared to Monolithic architecture database design

Also leveraged is persistent storage for the database based on APEX Data Storage Services. This is part of an as-a-Service portfolio of scalable and elastic storage resources built on our industry-leading technologies. Our Storage as-a-Service model simplifies the storage process giving you complete oversight of your storage resources, while freeing you from the hassles of day-to-day data storage management.

This whitepaper and demo show:

    • The benefits of containerized MS SQL Server as a data layer for modern applications.
    • The setup of Microsoft SQL Server 2019 in containers with Kubernetes orchestration on APEX Private cloud with VMware Tanzu.
    • The setup of external storage for data persistence using APEX Data Storage Services.
    • The running of an example data-driven application using the configuration.
    • The simulation of a catastrophic outage and automated recovery through Kubernetes.

In the whitepaper, you will also find the link to a video of a recorded demonstration showing the steps documented in the whitepaper in action.

Demos and whitepapers like these are a great way to see how the components can be combined to create a modern application environment. Please provide us some feedback on other whitepapers and demos you would like to see in the future.

For more information on Dell Technologies solutions with VMware Tanzu, please see our Tanzu solutions page.

Bob Ganley

About the Author: Bob Ganley

Bob Ganley works for Dell Technologies where he is responsible for Modern Applications Solutions including Kubernetes and DevOps automation tooling. Bob started as a software engineer and has worked in the evolving ecosystem of enterprise IT architectures from mainframes to distributed systems and application frameworks. That background gives him a unique perspective centered on enabling human progress with technology solutions that help organizations deliver compelling services with applications and data.