Monday, 7 March 2011

Virtual Strategy Magazine: Q&A with George Teixeira of DataCore Software,0

"SANsymphony-V lets you do more with what you already have. Playing off of our musical theme – it orchestrates, tunes, and harmonizes your inflexible storage devices into a dynamic symphony."

VSM: How is DataCore solving this “Big Problem” in server and desktop virtualization projects?

GT: DataCore is all about storage virtualization, and virtualization is all about applying the advantages of software to cut costs and insulate applications and users from disruptive changes and business risks. Unless the storage assets are virtualized, no server or desktop virtualization project can be considered complete. The business benefits of a stable software infrastructure spanning multiple manufacturers and models across generations of hardware are as compelling for storage environments as they are for servers and desktops. In fact, we think every virtualization strategy must be three dimensional, considering and planning for each server, storage, and desktop virtualization.

The storage problem – its high cost, inadequate performance, inflexibility, vendor lock in – is and remains the “Big Problem” in server and desktop virtualization projects. DataCore solves that problem. We’ve built a software platform that’s open and “future-proof.” It adapts over time, endures over generations of hardware, and enables customers to virtualize their entire storage infrastructure. Customers can repurpose and use existing resources more efficiently and choose lower-cost alternatives when adding or purchasing new resources. They get a stronger, more flexible infrastructure with far greater performance, availability, and redundancy. DataCore is the critical storage virtualization software layer that solves the “Big Problem,” making server and desktop virtualization projects successful.

VSM: Tell us about your new product, SANsymphony-V.

GT: Today we’re launching our SANsymphony-V product, a next-generation storage virtualization software solution. SANsymphony-V eliminates the difficult and costly storage-related barriers to desktop and server customers’ virtualization initiatives. It allows customers to use existing equipment and conventional storage devices to achieve the robust and responsive shared storage environment necessary to support highly dynamic virtual IT environments. This contrasts sharply with the budget busting “rip and replace” approaches traditionally being proposed by storage hardware vendors to support desktop and server virtualization projects.

SANsymphony-V lets you do more with what you already have. Playing off of our musical theme – it orchestrates, tunes, and harmonizes your inflexible storage devices into a dynamic symphony. The “V”, by the way, in SANsymphony-V stands for virtualization.

VSM: What are the most compelling user benefits for SANsymphony-V?

GT: The most important benefit of a software-based approach to storage infrastructure is that it enables customers toget more from whatever storage they use, repurpose existing equipment, and extend its useful life. Therefore, SANsymphony-V helps businesses maximize ROI, minimize costs, and mitigate their risks. Just as importantly, it boosts productivity through its modern and intuitive storage management making it much easier to automate tasks and manage storage resources efficiently within any virtual infrastructure (server and/or desktop).

SANsymphony-V also includes a number of advances to better safeguard workloads and avoid disruptions, including integrated continuous data protection (CDP), multi-site recovery, and high-speed and traffic compressing replication.

VSM: What are the differentiating elements of the DataCore model/approach compared to other solutions on the market? For example, what are the differentiating factors in SANsymphony-V?

GT: In addition to what I have already stated, the main difference arises because DataCore is virtualization software for storage. Unlike vendors who claim to offer “virtualization” from within their storage arrays, DataCore permits users to leverage their existing storage that they have already deployed, while enhancing it with infrastructure-wide features that span many different storage devices from many different vendors. Most importantly, the virtual software infrastructure lives beyond the life of these storage devices which come and go over time.

No one would ever dream of throwing away Exchange or VMware because the server on which it was running became obsolete. Yet, this is what the storage industry has been forcing customers to do with their storage for years – junking their entire investment each time they need to replace, grow or upgrade their storage solutions. DataCore gives customers the power to reject this costly approach by offering both the shared storage required to implement virtual infrastructures and the comfort of knowing that their storage investments will continue to work for them for many years to come.

VSM: What are the future challenges in this market and how does DataCore intend to respond?

GT: For storage virtualization, I see three driving forces: the move to greater commoditization of hardware, the need to better consolidate the use of resources, and the need to drive down people costs. Every CIO I have visited recently is focused on the cost equation and getting higher productivity. DataCore makes commoditization practical, while providing performance and functionality. We allow multiple storage types and existing storage to be consolidated to maximize storage asset utilization. Our software greatly automates storage management and the administrative tasks associated with storing information across many systems.

Another key driver for storage virtualization is the increase in server and desktop virtualization products like those from VMware, Citrix, and Microsoft. They drive the need for a lot more storage. When you only had individual servers, you would use the attached captive disks installed in the server. With server virtualization products, you need virtual infrastructure storage, which can be provided to one server, many servers, or a farm of servers. A lot more capacity and flexibility is required, and there’s typically a lot more performance load on those virtualized servers. Because of DataCore’s scalability and performance, our storage virtualization may help foster an even faster rate of adoption of combined, large-scale server and storage virtualization infrastructures. It’s an interesting cycle; server virtualization drives more storage and performance requirements, thereby driving the need for powerful storage virtualization.

We’ve done a great job of virtualizing storage and companies like VMware and Microsoft have done a great job of virtualizing servers, but there’s a lot more to be gained by building an infrastructure that includes both. Many of our customers have already combined these two technologies, and I see this trend continuing. We work with our partners and vendors like VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix so that our combined virtual capabilities work well together within end-user environments.

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