Friday 29 July 2011

DataCore Software Adds Device-Independent Auto-Tiering to Its Storage Virtualisation Software

DataCore Software today announced a state of the art advance in automated tiering of disks. The new option for its comprehensive SANsymphony-V product automatically relocates disk blocks among pools of different storage devices, keeping the most demanding workloads operating at peak speeds. Less critical and infrequently accessed disk blocks naturally gravitate towards lower cost disks.

New Infrastructure-Wide Advance Opens up Customer ‘Purchasing Power’ for Greater Cost Savings

Unlike hardware-embedded schemes that confine tiers to premium-priced trays within a single storage enclosure or frame, DataCore’s infrastructure-wide software spans multiple storage systems from potentially different suppliers. This expanded choice gives customers the opportunity to shop for the best value at each tier from competing sources without having to discard what they purchased last year.

“SANsymphony-V customers can immediately take advantage of auto-tiering using whatever equipment they have on the floor,” notes Augie Gonzalez, director of product marketing at DataCore. “We apply the same device-independent approach to auto-tiering as we do with all our high-value services, including thin provisioning, caching, synchronous mirroring, asynchronous replication, snapshots and CDP. Let’s just say it arms you with a lot more bargaining muscle when the next disk hardware purchase comes around.”

For example, tiers may consist of high-capacity, low-priced Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) drives from one vendor, a set ofSerial Attached SCSI (SAS) midrange disk systems from another, and a new collection of high-speed Solid State Disk (SSD) cards from yet a third vendor. DataCore manages these independent racks as a diverse virtual pool under a common administrative interface. Of course, the software works just as well if all tiers happen to carry the same brand.

Addressing the Cost Optimization Challenge through Automation and Transparency

The drivers, challenges and trends impacting tiered storage management are well known:

  • Data Growth: The amount of data in most organisations is doubling every 12 to 24 months.
  • Cost Deltas: Performance and high-availability oriented storage devices and SSDs typically cost 3 to 10 times more than lower tier capacity oriented storage.
  • Access Frequency: Over 50 percent of stored data becomes inactive within 60 days of creation.
  • Hidden Costs: The effort to constantly classify tiers by access frequency rates and manually move data between tiers can quickly add up to costs that eliminate any potential savings.

DataCore customers have reported up to 60 percent cost savings with SANsymphony-V alone, and now with the ability to automate and dynamically optimise tiered storage capacity, incremental savings of 20 percent or more are now possible. The final result is an extremely cost effecting, self-tuning system.

“Device independent auto-tiering is a major addition to SANsymphony-V,” said Randy Kerns, senior strategist at Evaluator Group. “Beyond the obvious cost savings, it also simplifiesinfrastructure-wide storage management by optimising the promotion and demotion of disk blocks transparently in background operations. Automation eases theadministration tasks and allows users to benefit from the performance gained with tiering.”

Choice of Auto-Tiering Policies
Customers govern DataCore’s auto-tiering behavior by choosing among a set of pre-defined rules. For simple, hands-off operations, the software tracks which disk blocks are most active and promotes them to the top-performing tier. The most frequently used blocks gravitate towards the faster, higher-performing devices. By auto-tiering at the disk block level, rather than at the file level, hot spots on file systems enjoy the best response compared to seldom-used areas.

System administrators can be more selective as well. They may designate from which tier a virtual disk is allocated. This option ensures that the most pressing information can be retrieved and updated faster, regardless of access frequency. Similarly, less important volumes may be relegated to lower cost, slower performing tiers, to prevent them from competing for more precious disks.

Still other virtual disks may bypass auto-tiering altogether. They can just as easily be allocated from pools with devices ofsimilar price/performance attributes.

Infrastructure-wide caching extends high-performance tiers
The quick ascent of SSDs into mainstream IT hasmade auto-tiering a necessity. Specifically, it helps reserve these premium storage resources for the most demanding applications.

In addition, DataCore adaptive caching techniques boost the native performance of SSDs and conventional hard drives, while reducing the duty cycle on these more costly resources. That translates into better utilisation and a longer life for these exceptional assets.

Pricing and Availability
Auto-tiering is included at no charge for SANsymphony-V node licenses supporting over 100TBs or can be added as an optional feature for the midrange of the SANsymphony-V product line, priced at $2,200 U.S.D. per DataCore node.

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