Wednesday 23 March 2011

DataCore Adds NAS Head, High-Availability

More tunes for SANsymphony-V

DataCore has added NAS acceleration and high-availability to its SANsymphony-V product.

The basic configuration is two mirrored servers. SANsymphony-V software runs in each server with Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 and its built-in NAS services, Hyper-V, and Microsoft's Clustered File Share functions, and provides a thinly-provisioned virtual block storage pool underneath them.

The storage media can be the server's own, direct-attached storage (DAS) or an external array. Hyper-V apps access files through the Cluster File Share subsystem and SANsymphony provides the block storage underpinnings of this.

Because the two servers are mirrored, one can act as the the failover target for the other. In normal operations both servers handle file requests through the clustered file system. SANsymphony-V's adaptive caching, with a virtual disk copy, provides a degree of NAS acceleration. This is not filer acceleration in the Avere or Alacritech senses though, as we understand it.

In larger systems the SANSymphony-V software can run in separate servers connected by iSCSI or Fibre Channel. DataCore says its NAS acceleration and high-availability features are cost-effective and scalable, and don't require "enterprise NAS hardware". Nor is expensive hardware required to provide the level of high availability offered by SANsymphony-V.

Existing DataCore SANsymphony-V customers, running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V, do not need to buy any extra software to support the clustered NAS file-sharing features. Snaphots and Continuous Data Protection are optionally available.

Monday 21 March 2011

DataCore Adds NAS Performance Acceleration and High-Availability File Sharing Support to SANsymphony-V Storage Virtualization Software

See full announcement at:

Announcement Background

DataCore Software is announcing that its SANsymphony™-V software addresses the three major roadblocks – cost, performance and business continuity – that have made it impractical for critical virtualization projects to utilize Network Attached Storage (NAS).

Why It Matters?

DataCore SANsymphony-V software can now address customer NAS requirements in addition to meeting their SAN needs.

Enterprise NAS hardware (High Performance, Highly Available, Highly Scalable) systems such as NetApp filers and EMC Isilon have been successful in larger data centers but due to their very expensive price points are not able to meet the needs of small and mid-size businesses. DataCore has addressed this dilemma with its SANsymphony-V storage virtualization software. The new development announced today employs standard Windows servers with off-the-shelf disks to achieve the required levels of uninterrupted shared file services at a reasonable price. Moreover, these systems now scale to performance levels once achieved only by “enterprise” NAS hardware.

Quotes --

Jeff Boles, senior analyst and director of validation services, Taneja Group:
“SANsymphony-V can be easily configured to significantly accelerate performance and add a new level of data protection to Microsoft’s Clustered File Shares. This resulting combination of SANsymphony-V and Microsoft is additive; it is simple to set up, requires no additional purchases and best of all it allows organizations to meet both their NAS and SAN requirements from one virtual infrastructure.”

John Bocskor, vice president of product management, DataCore Software:
“Unlike other attempts at converged SAN/NAS, the DataCore approach optimizes each layer for what it does best, yet both are managed from the familiar Windows Server administration console via a user-friendly interface with self-guided wizards.”

Key points --
  • SANsymphony-V overcomes shared storage shortcomings and makes it feasible to employ the widely used NAS services already built into the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 platform in those environments.

  • DataCore’s powerful feature set can be easily configured to enhance these Microsoft services. The integrated combination cost-effectively speeds up performance and adds a new level of fault tolerance to clustered network file system (NFS) and common Internet file system (CIFS) sharing.

  • The new solution is particularly well-suited for IT organizations that prefer to store their VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix XenDesktop virtual machine images under NFS or CIFS. Many of them are eager to eliminate bottlenecks and disruptions in their underlying storage systems, but not willing to spend a lot of money doing it. 

Existing DataCore SANsymphony-V customers running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V do not need to buy additional software to support the clustered NAS file sharing features. For those new to DataCore, SANsymphony-V software, including the NAS capabilities, can be professionally installed through DataCore-authorized solution providers across the globe.

More info at:

Or: See DataCore at Microsoft Management Summit 2011

Microsoft Management Summit 2011 runs March 21-25 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Please visit DataCore in Booth 529.

Economical NAS extensions to its comprehensive SAN software target non-stop NFS/CIFS requirements in server and desktop virtualization rollouts

Enterprise-class NAS with No Premium-priced Specialty NAS Hardware Required

Prior to DataCore’s breakthrough, virtual data center managers concerned with single points of failures in their vital NFS/CIFS files shares had few alternatives. They could either pick from a few specialty devices that provided the needed redundancy at a steep price, or take the risk that a storage-related disruption would cripple their entire virtual infrastructure. Those without the required funding have little choice but to postpone virtualizing their more important applications.

The new development announced today employs standard Windows servers with off-the-shelf disks to achieve the required levels of uninterrupted shared file services at a reasonable price. Moreover, these systems now scale to performance levels once achieved only by ‘enterprise” NAS hardware.

DataCore’s novel design employs mirrored copies of the SANsymphony-V software layered beneath clustered file shares (NAS) integral to Windows Servers 2008 Enterprise. Any standard storage device can be used for disk space, ranging from the basic internal hard drives packaged by the server manufacturers, to bigger external disk arrays offered by the popular storage systems vendors.

Two High Availability/High Performance Configurations to Choose From

The versatile software combination can be fielded in two high availability arrangements based on the scale of the file shares.

  • In the smallest configuration, the DataCore software co-resides with the clustered file share functions on each of two (2) redundant Windows Enterprise servers. SANsymphony-V performs adaptive I/O caching directly on top of Hyper-V to speed up block disk access while mirroring updates to the other server’s virtual disk copy. All disk space is thin provisioned to maximize utilization. Snapshots and Continuous Data Protection (CDP) can be turned on for added protection helping customers recover from events like ‘virus attacks’ and inadvertent deletions.

    During normal operation both servers actively handle file requests. Should one of the two systems fail or temporarily be removed from service, the surviving machine transparently takes over all duties using the mirrored disk copy. Then when the idle machine is put back into action, the system automatically returns to its original active-active state.

  • For larger environments, the file share cluster remains split across two machines, while the DataCore software runs on two separate servers dedicated to block storage virtualization. The cluster then accesses the DataCore virtual storage pool over an iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN.

Customers who start small and later outgrow the two servers can simply reassign their DataCore software licenses to the two additional servers. Incremental capacity licenses may also be added at any time to cover expansion.

Available Now

Existing DataCore SANsymphony-V customers running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V do not need to buy additional software to support the clustered NAS file sharing features. For those new to DataCore, SANsymphony-V software, including the NAS capabilities, can be professionally installed through DataCore-authorized solution providers across the globe.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Channel EMEA: Resellers acknowledge DataCore’s SANsymphony-V virtualisation solution

John Greenwood, Solution Sales Director of UK based Gold Partner, NCE Group, explains more: “We have been selling DataCore for over seven years to customers spanning across many verticals. The launch of SANsymphony-V is very exciting and offers a different story for us to promote, it focuses on automation and simplicity and provides new features, opening up new opportunities and new customers for us to capitalize on and take forward.”

“Few firms can afford the unanticipated expense of the storage ‘rip and replace’ that they believe their server or desktop virtualisation projects will require. The good news is that an affordable solution is available in the form of storage virtualisation, as demonstrated by industry leader DataCore Software. Their flagship technology, SANsymphony-V, is just what the doctor ordered for simplifying capacity management, performance management and data protection management behind virtual server infrastructure,” says Jon Toigo, CEO of Toigo Partners International.

To help new resellers get started on how they can accelerate their virtualization deals and extend their virtualization practices, visit: .

Friday 18 March 2011

DataCore SANsymphony™-V software ushers in a new era for virtualization solution providers

"The good news is that an affordable solution is available in the form of storage virtualization, as demonstrated by industry leader DataCore Software. Their flagship technology, SANsymphony-V, is just what the doctor ordered for simplifying capacity management, performance management and data protection management behind virtual server infrastructure.” -Jon Toigo

Resellers Proclaim: DataCore’s Virtualization Software Makes it Profitable to Leverage Existing Virtualization Practices and Software Advantages to Capture a ‘Bigger Share’ of Storage Deals

Value-added resellers and virtualization solution providers who are now offering SANsymphony-V software are able to address all the dimensions of infrastructure virtualization by:
  • Taking their virtualization practices beyond server and desktops to include the storage dimension;
  • Growing VMware, Microsoft and Citrix deals by leveraging their sales and services teams with a similar virtualization software approach delivering equally compelling benefits to storage; 
  • Overcoming the major storage-related obstacles stalling virtual server and desktop deals; and 
  • Empowering customers with the economic advantages of a software-based storage infrastructure.

“With DataCore SANsymphony-V, the user interface is significantly improved and things are more intuitive,”
notes Andy Judge, founder and CEO, Grove Networks. “Essentially what used to take three steps now takes one. It is far easier to use and far easier to manage. Apart from the ease-of-use, of great interest to our customers will be the high-availability SANsymphony-V delivers as well as the ability to choose whatever type of hardware they would like to use in the back-end. The fact that customers have the freedom to use whatever hardware is efficient for their company is a significant benefit – enabling them to avoid vendor lock-in.”

Thursday 10 March 2011

Taneja Group: Building the Virtual Infrastructure with DataCore SANsymphony-V

There's a ball and chain hanging on your virtualization projects - and it's that pesky storage stuff. Storage that isn't flexible, can't adapt to changes, is wrapped with poor provisioning practices, and where sheer physicality and lack of abstraction seem to get in the way of every virtual server task. There's no secret in the fact we think storage virtualization can set the virtual infrastructure free, but let's take a look at one vendor's product, and how it tackles some of those issues in the Hyper-V infrastructure.

Tuesday 8 March 2011

A Virtual Reality Check by Jon Toigo

Hate to say it, but I told you so. According to several surveys of businesses that have crossed my transom over the past few weeks, it would appear that a disproportionate number of server virtualization projects have stalled when they were less than 20% complete. The problem is simple and consistent: filled with the hype of the hypervisor vendors, planners leapt into the virtual abyss before they looked at the real costs associated with the strategy.

We were all told that all that this virtualization thing was going to cost was a basic hypervisor software license – a cost readily offset by reductions in the numbers of physical servers and their associated labor and energy expense. Then, it became evident that we needed the other licenses – those providing all of the cool features that were described in the brochure but not included on the Dell, HP or other server we bought. Then, we needed to get our staff trained as “vSphere Engineers” or something – an additional expense. Then, we discovered that consolidating all of those guests onto fewer servers required significant changes to our network cable infrastructure…and, ultimately, to our storage infrastructure.

Storage is the big part of the cost iceberg, submerged beneath the waterline of our virtualization vision, out of view and ready to sink our most unsinkable project plans. When the costs to reinvent storage became evident, especially the requirement to “forklift upgrade” our fibre channel fabrics, the captain called a “full stop” to our virtualization journey. In the aftermath, there was much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth as the reality of virtualization collided with the business case.

The story probably won’t stop here, of course. Most firms are hiring in the consultants and pouring over their budgets to determine what can be salvaged to realize the gains of server – and later desktop – virtualization without becoming the next James Cameron epic in the process.

One solution worth considering carefully comes in the form of storage virtualization technology recently announced by DataCore Software: a product by the unassuming name of SANsymphony-V. DataCore already enjoys a broad install base in Europe, where firms seemed to cotton to the ideas of abstracting software from array controllers as a cost-containment measure years before the idea caught on in the US market. SANsympony-V, however, is more than a new version of a DataCore product – it is a comprehensive reworking of both the underlying platform and the presentation layer that has succeeded in elevating the product from “nice-to-have” to “must-have” status, especially for companies confronting the big stall in their server and desktop virtualization projects.

The original case for storage virtualization remains just as valid and compelling as ever. SANsymphony-V enables you to pool your storage rigs then serve up volumes to any application that requires them. The interface for allocating volumes is much improved. Wizard-driven and resembling more than anything else the latest Microsoft Office software GUI, you discover your storage and servers, then simply drag volume icons onto servers (or guest machines) to establish the connection between them. Since all I/O is serviced from a cache memory layer, storage response is 3 to 5 times faster. Plus, I/O paths are remembered by SANsymphony-V and traffic is load-balanced across available connections automatically.

Plus, thin provisioning (a concept invented by DataCore) is provided to ease the burden of capacity management. Logical volumes reflect maximum available capacity (or any capacity you choose), but actual resources aren’t provided from the storage pool until they are needed. That’s across all disk in the pool, not just a stand of spindles attached to a proprietary array controller featuring thin provisioning software. Big difference that, both in terms of efficacy and cost.

Data protection services are also universal. If you want continuous data protection in the form of write logging, to protect against a data corruption event, simply tick a box next to the virtual volume you have allocated. You have a granular log of writes that you can rewind to before a corruption event has occurred to back out any bad data.

And, of course, DataCore continues to provide synchronous mirroring and snap shots to protect against localized equipment or facility disasters. The key difference is that their mirrors and snaps can be done amongst and between any hardware regardless of brand! For regional disasters, SANsymphony-V provides a robust asynchronous replication capability over distance – with full failover and fail back capabilities.

DataCore also rescues stalled virtualization projects by delivering the means to synchronously replicate guest machine data behind any host server, which solves the problem of hypervisor clustering that shares nothing…except storage. And you don’t need to wait for your storage vendor to getting around to supporting the new APIs from the hypervisor vendor, including vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI). The primitives for offloading functions like replication are built in to the volumes your provision via SANsymphony-V.

Bottom line: the big problem stalling server virtualization projects is storage. The fix is SANsymphony-V. Check it out.

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.