Friday 28 May 2010

New Paper: Virtualisation – Did You Overlook Storage?

“With the spotlight on server, desktop and application virtualization, it is easy to forget that your approach to data storage must also change.” Download: Virtualization – Did You Overlook Storage?

Tuesday 25 May 2010

American Health Network Adds DataCore Storage Virtualisation Software; Provides Business Continuity For Citrix Clients –
"We were intrigued by the ability to apply virtualization to our storage and the possibility of getting high-end data protection for the disk farms behind our Citrix infrastructure, without incurring the high costs generally associated with such functions or sacrificing security. If DataCore can save us $100,000 to $200,000 during this modernization, then we have really struck gold." - Stuart Donnelson, data center server manager, American Health Network.

Donnelson is quick to point out that DataCore has provided American Health Network with a stable and robust environment. "We have been nothing but pleased with DataCore. The DataCore software is rock-solid. We really haven't had to do anything to it. And to me every time I don't have to worry about a platform or a piece of technology, I sleep a little better every night."

American Health Network "Strikes Gold" With DataCore Storage Virtualization Software Providing Business Continuity For Citrix XenServer And XenApp Clients
American Health Network (AHN) has completed the 3rd part of their virtualization project by adding DataCore storage virtualization software to their Citrix environment. The integration has been tested in production and proven failsafe. "The success that people in the IT industry are having with virtualization speaks for itself," comments Stuart Donnelson, data center server manager, American Health Network. "In looking at the technologies we had available to accomplish this project, it was clear to us that Citrix XenServer was the right choice, since our primary concern was to virtualize XenApp systems and provide a secure, highly-available environment for our physicians. And the reason we chose DataCore for our virtual storage infrastructure came at the recommendation of Citrix and DataCore partner Hogan Consulting Group."

All of the physicians within American Health Network use a centralized medical record known as a EHR (Electronic Health Record) and billing software called NextGen. AHN publishes NextGen and the rest of the company's production applications through Citrix XenApp - sending these out to AHN's 80 sites throughout Indiana and Ohio. The focus of American Health Network's virtualization project was straightforward enough - to modernize their existing Citrix environment.

AHN's immediate requirements were to replace five-year old servers and in the process, take strategic advantage of server and storage virtualization software.

System Already Fail-safe Tested
DataCore proved particularly vital to AHN's operations recently when system administrators noticed that AHN lost a major component of their storage infrastructure due to a firmware problems, yet the DataCore software automatically and non-disruptively failed over to its high-availability partner and kept the storage access 'live' to application servers. In fact according to Donnelson, "Not a single user or individual even noticed this failure - except for the few, select people in IT who were previously set up to monitor systems and receive such notices. "It was then that we said - this DataCore product is really pretty darn great."

Right now, American Health Network has 1,400 users connected to 55 XenApp servers. They expect to grow to 100 servers by the time they get to the next version of their medical records software.

Tuesday 18 May 2010

Solution resilience: What is DataCore High Availability with Synchronous Mirroring?

Check out the posts on SANmelody Tunes:
High Availability - Where is your weakest link?
It surprises me how often I see companies spending money (large amounts) on technology to make their core business applications resilient to infrastructure failure, but fail to build redundancy into all critical infrastructure components. See complete post and diagrams at:

So, what is DataCore High Availability with Synchronous Mirroring?
In simple terms, DataCore HA with Synchronous Mirroring protects and ensures data from ANY single component failure in the storage solution, including environmental, back-end disks, DataCore storage controllers and IO channels.

Not only that, but additional levels of redundancy can be achieved at each layer of the storage the full post and examine a number of failure scenarios at:

Failure resilience scenario's
A Healthy Solution:
Two node configuration, redundant mirror channels, redundant disk channels, redundant app channels.
Can be geographically separated - Whether racks, rooms, building, states.

Tuesday 11 May 2010

DataCore Virtualisation Ensures Uptime and Makes Metro Clusters Possible for Continuum Health Partners – One of the Largest Health Care Providers in the U.S.

For a more in-depth Case Study on Continuum Health Partners and Metro Clusters, please visit:

DataCore Virtualization Ensures Uptime and Makes Metro Clusters Possible for Continuum Health Partners – One of the Largest Health Care Providers in the U.S.

DataCore virtualization software has been deployed in two metro clusters at Continuum Health Partners, Inc. (“Continuum”), whereby it affords multi-site data protection and failover. Continuum, like many health networks, was faced with the challenge of making their diverse storage infrastructure available around the clock, across multiple locations. “Our goal here was to deploy a system that would allow us to achieve high availability and business continuity for all of our clinical systems,” states Jill Wojcik, IT Director, Continuum Health Partners. “With DataCore in place and with hardware in two different locations, this has allowed us to make our mission-critical, clinical imaging – along with other systems – highly available.”

Overcoming Downtime and Unavailability of Data
Beth Israel Medical Center and Roosevelt Hospital, two hospitals in Continuum’s network, were faced with the challenge of downtime and data availability. Thanks to metro-wide storage virtualization from DataCore Software, Continuum now has many of their imaging systems and three of their principal IT facilities running on metro-clusters.

The metro-clustered IT infrastructure at the two Continuum hospitals ensures business continuity, with DataCore storage virtualization software at the center of it. DataCore synchronously mirrors the PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications Systems) images from Beth Israel Medical Center and Roosevelt Hospital in New York to Continuum’s data center in Secaucus, New Jersey. “With specific reference to the PACS images, before this metro-clustering initiative these systems had their own support people at the various hospitals and were pretty much autonomous systems,” explained Wojcik. “We have brought this in and have centralized the systems now in our central data center – using DataCore software running on top of the various hardware solutions.”

The overarching benefit of this implementation, however, has been unprecedented high availability. The key to this is that the data resides on geographically separated 100% mirrored systems – where one set of disks resides at the data center and one set resides in a “remote” hospital. Continuum has effectively eliminated the need to do traditional disaster recovery should a calamity happen. Whereas many IT organizations normally go through a painful process of assembling resources to recover data following a site-wide outage, the metro clusters at Continuum Health Partners allow them to take over operations from their hot site uninterrupted.

Additionally, a very tangible benefit of this metro cluster environment has to do with system maintenance. System maintenance can now be done without any interruption to the user community. Wojcik commented, “Since we have implemented this, we have not experienced any downtime – even for system maintenance.”

Hospitals use DataCore storage virtualization,289142,sid5_gci1510119,00.html

Monday 10 May 2010

European IT Service Provider MATERNA GmbH Benefits From The Power and Flexibility Of DataCore SAN Virtualization Software
European IT service provider MATERNA GmbH, after successfully deploying DataCore in house, has now signed-on to resell DataCore SANmelody™ and SANsymphony™ solutions in Central Europe. MATERNA started with DataCore SANsymphony as its in-house virtualization solution then decided to implement VMware server virtualization; the virtual infrastructure combination has added a new level of flexibility to its in-house data center. The DataCore software-based storage area network (SAN) provides a dynamic, scalable and shared storage solution that allows hardware generations to be changed or expanded on-the-fly.

"We reorganized and overhauled our storage environment before we started to consolidate our servers," says Uwe Hoch, IT Manager at MATERNA GmbH. "With DataCore we finally found a solution to manage our heterogeneous architecture in a homogeneous manner. SANsymphony offers high-availability features, increased our storage resource utilization and best of all can be changed and expanded as needed easily."

Sunday 9 May 2010

Storage Insights: Virtualizing Storage Along with Servers and Desktops - New Paper

When considering the potential benefits that typically drive server and desktop virtualization projects, questions about the underlying storage may never come up. They should. If we look at these benefits; maximizing hardware utilization, insulating the software environment from hardware configuration variables and ensuring that applications keep running, despite system outages, the state of the storage system is, indeed, of primary concern. It’s a fact that virtual infrastructures are completely dependent on the behavior of their underlying shared disks.

It’s well known how easily hypervisors migrate workloads from one physical server to another when one goes down. But what’s not as obvious is what happens when the shared storage device that both of those servers rely on is taken out of service. Taking storage systems down for a routine firmware upgrade, a water leak in the computer room, or just capacity expansion can cause major data outages for numerous virtual machines and the hundreds of desktops that they support. This is true regardless of how reliable a particular disk subsystem has proven to be. Fortunately, there are reasonable solutions available to eliminate this risk.

Companies such as DataCore offer the necessary storage virtualization software to:

a) maximize the utilization of existing storage devices,

b) insulate the software environment from hardware differences, and

c) ensure that applications keep running while storage devices are taken out of service.

Similar to server and desktop virtualization products, SANSymphony storage virtualization software abstracts most commonly used storage hardware devices into idealized, virtual disks. In the process, it automatically mirrors the information between physically segregated devices so that complete disk subsystems can be taken out of service without impacting applications.

Basically, this device-independent, virtualization technology allows normal changes that regularly occur in the storage infrastructure to go on without impacting the servers and desktops that depend on it. And storage virtualization software can repurpose existing disk systems attached to servers for use as part of a broader tiered storage pool. This enables the ‘mixing and matching’ of different models and different vendors, swapping these systems out or growing them in the background without affecting business processing.

The same software can also stretch the storage pool across a campus or a metropolitan area to provide additional safeguards against site problems, allowing it to be managed as one centralized resource. Look for built-in capabilities like cross-device snapshots, remote replication and thin provisioning to get the fullest use from all existing disk assets, despite their mutual incompatibilities.

Server and desktop virtualization initiatives promise significant benefits, like asset optimization, simplified operations and improved application uptime. However, the storage infrastructure that supports this compute environment must be up to the task. Layering in storage virtualization software at the outset as a crucial part of the overall virtualization strategy will ensure that you realize the benefits that first justified the move to a virtual infrastructure.