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.

Thursday 28 July 2011

Borough’s School Network Achieves Disaster Recovery Protection, High Availability and New Levels of Efficiency with Auto-Provisioning’s-school-network-achieves-disaster-recovery-protection,-high-availability-and-new-levels-of-efficiency-...

The London Borough of Sutton has adopted DataCore’s storage vitualisation software to safeguard data. Considered as one of London’s most desirable residential areas, the Borough is a popular choice for families wishing to enjoy the leafy suburbs, safe environment and well maintained public services. Schools are generally therefore popular and oversubscribed.

“We have been using DataCore now for some years, so we have a great track record with the product. However what the new enhanced environment actually gives us is total peace of mind whether we want add, maintain or recover, it simply gets on with job and remains totally bullet proof. That equates to total confidence.”

Centrally supporting the Borough’s 45 primary, special and 12 high schools IT environment, is Daniel Gale, Schools Network Manager, London Borough of Sutton, responsible for providing an effective and secure network and central administration services for over 60,000 pupils and staff. Central infrastructure services that the Team provide include the protection, backup and business continuity of all data relating to schools, pupils, coursework and email.

Previously, the Borough had, been running a SAN (Storage Area Network). The configuration consisted of two administration Microsoft Cluster Server nodes together with a pair of Active Directory Servers, all of which provided failover for the local pool of data. This configuration was great for storage provisioning and adequate for business continuity but to achieve complete disaster recovery, Daniel knew that he needed to employ DataCore’s dual node storage virtualisation software running outside of the local cluster. This would provide the redundant mirroring configuration to avoid a single point of failure and achieve a highly available, highly resilient, stable SAN solution with true disaster recovery. Of further concern was that the existing MS Cluster configuration was over five years old and therefore slow and less reliable than the Team would have liked. With little budget to spend on additional hardware and keen to reutilise what was already in the data centre, Vcentral reassuringly confirmed that they could expand the environment by simply adding DataCore virtualisation software to empower their existing HP MSA 1000 hardware together with deployment of two HP DL380 G5 to house the two DataCore powered nodes to manage their storage across separate sites.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Dethleffs Triples its SAN Performance and Speeds up ERP applications with DataCore, HP and FusionIO

DataCore performance acceleration software in combination with HP servers and Fusion-IO SSDs puts Dethleff’s ERP system into the fast lane

“The combination of HP hardware and DataCore software was ideal; the cost / performance ratio met our needs and since we have implemented, we are not looking back we do not regret this decision at all.”

"In comparison to the previous systems we have seen a significant enhancement in performance with the combination of standard HP hardware and DataCore’s virtualization software for storage. With DataCore installed, the phone calls to our IT department complaining about slow response times have suddenly stopped”, confirms IT-director Michael Fleschhut.

Read the full case study: Dethleffs Triples its SAN Performance and Speeds up ERP applications with DataCore, HP and FusionIO

Tuesday 26 July 2011

ISCO Industries Utilizes DataCore Software and Xiotech to Take Its Virtualization Infrastructure and VDI to the Next Level

Blazing Fast Performance

“Our performance has gone through the roof,” continued Duncan. “It was not unusual to see 10, 15, or 20 milliseconds of latency on a read prior to DataCore and Xiotech. And that was on volumes that were dedicated to Tier 1 storage only. Now it is one or two milliseconds, tops, on most of our transactions. Moreover, reports from the ERP system are literally blazing through – they hardly take any time at all compared to what we were used to.”

With DataCore’s caching software and the high-speed Xiotech running in tandem, system administrators have seen more than a 35 percent increase in speed and responsiveness from the company’s terminal and mail servers.

ISCO Industries, a worldwide polyethylene pipe distributor, has implemented DataCore’s newest software release, SANsymphony-V. The company is running nearly fully virtual after implementing DataCore and VMware to virtualize the majority of its desktops, servers and storage infrastructure. Deployed in combination with Xiotech storage, DataCore’s SANsymphony-V added a new level of flexibility and productivity and most importantly it addressed the persistent performance problems as well as the capacity management issues that ISCO Industries faced with its previously existing storage area network (SAN).

“Prior to implementing SANsymphony-V, the performance and latency issues we faced were hurting our efficiency in many different areas,” stated Kim Byram, director of business and information systems at ISCO Industries. “Now, with DataCore and Xiotech running in tandem, we have seen our latency issues completely disappear. Plus our speed of backups and response time in generating reports has been cut drastically. More efficiency means more systems uptime and no more systems slowdown because you no longer have processes and backups running during somebody’s working hours.”

Four years ago, ISCO deployed a SAN from Compellent (acquired by Dell) to cope with the storage growth the company was experiencing as it virtualized its entire network. However, ISCO kept hitting a proverbial performance “wall” and system administrators would have to scramble to add storage space because the Compellent SAN was falsely reporting that it had maxed-out its capacity.

When DataCore was deployed on Xiotech, the IT team migrated data over to the new system, which was thin-provisioned through DataCore storage virtualization software. “We went from nine or ten terabytes of used space down to six terabytes of available space just by doing the migration,” notes T.J. Duncan, system administrator at ISCO. “In terms of capacity management and higher utilization rates, we have seen enormous benefits and now we have means of recovering disk space without having to create new volumes all the time.”

Today, DataCore’s SANsymphony-V serves as ISCO’s de facto SAN, and is responsible for managing and serving storage across the entire infrastructure. This enables the company to get the most out of its infrastructure with its software-based storage virtualization approach. “With our existing SAN, things were coming to a creeping halt on our network,” explained Byram. “And when we moved everything over to the very reliable Xiotech platform, we learned that we actually had a lot less data than what was being reported by our previous SAN.”

Blazing Fast Performance
“Our performance has gone through the roof,” continued Duncan. “It was not unusual to see 10, 15, or 20 milliseconds of latency on a read prior to DataCore and Xiotech. And that was on volumes that were dedicated to Tier 1 storage only. Now it is one or two milliseconds, tops, on most of our transactions. Moreover, reports from the ERP system are literally blazing through – they hardly take any time at all compared to what we were used to.”

With DataCore’s caching software and the high-speed Xiotech running in tandem, system administrators have seen more than a 35 percent increase in speed and responsiveness from the company’s terminal and mail servers. Now that the DataCore-Xiotech solution now manages 13 terabytes of total data, ISCO started seeing the following benefits:

  • Cost containment – DataCore has saved ISCO at least $100,000 because they were able to re-purpose six existing servers supporting VMware ESX and use them to create the DataCore disaster recovery SAN server, as well as ESX servers for disaster recovery, and the DataCore VDI server.
  • Risk reduction – For the first time, the UNIX system which is the company’s “bread and butter,” is now fully redundant. The entire system and all of the data is synchronized in real-time to the disaster recovery site, where a second UNIX server is maintained. Before, if ISCO lost its data, it would have taken the company 16-24 hours to get the main accounting and sales system back up and running. Now, the company can do this in minutes.
  • Improved productivity – Productivity improvements are tied to the better responsiveness of the terminal servers and virtual desktops being supported. All servers have had 10-20 percent improvement in performance just by putting in the SANsymphony-V and Xiotech solution.

VDI, Servers, and Storage: End-to-End Virtualization Reduces Costs and Risks

According to ISCO, the company is nearly fully virtualized. It uses terminal servers as well as a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), depending on the users and their needs. VMware vSphere is used both for servers and desktops. Four VMware hosts run VMware ESX 4.1 at the production data center. There are 32 VMs running from that. The VMs comprise servers dealing with ISCO’s phone system, terminal servers, a web monitoring server (NIMBUS), and file sharing servers.

DataCore storage virtualization software runs both on both the production SAN and the disaster recovery SAN. Asynchronous replication is used to replicate UNIX system data remotely, and the company plans to embrace synchronous replication in the near future for added business continuity. DataCore’s newest release, SANsymphony-V, is deployed on another server to support the VDI environment. VDI consists of two hosts and 20 VMs. Ten virtual desktops are supported as well as 8 terminal servers in a load-balanced pool. Between 15 and 18 people per server are using VDI at any given point in time.

New Case Study additions: n|Frame, Harting Technology Group, The WIŚNIOWSKI Company and Municipality of Casalecchio di Reno

n|Frame and DataCore: Empowering Cloud and IT services for Web and mission-critical applications to perform without fail

Harting Technology Group: DataCore Storage Virtualization Software Lowers Cost of Ownership and Accelerates Performance for SAP and Critical Enterprise Applications

For the SAP environment specifically, this meant up to 30 percent faster server response times.

Additionally, the DataCore environment enabled the integrity testing of the SAP R3 databases, which once took eight hours, to now be completed in just two hours –a 400% speed-up.

The WIŚNIOWSKI Company: Large manufacturer of garage doors and fences selects DataCore SANsymphony-V

"Thanks to DataCore’s SANsymphony-V software our production is more efficient. The malfunction of a disk array does not disrupt or cause a stoppage of the whole company."

Municipality of Casalecchio di Reno Deploys DataCore’s Virtualization Sofware

“The DataCore solution fully answered all our needs, offering features and performance that were beyond our expectations. The DataCore virtualization software helped us cut down considerably both our hardware and energy costs,” states Andrea Ventura, IT manager for the Casalecchio di Reno Municipality.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

HP and DataCore Alliance Solution Brief

Check out the recently released Solution Brief which highlights how the combination of DataCore and HP can "Accelerate your virtualization plans"

Monday 18 July 2011

DataCore Software’s Storage Virtualization Webcast Series Continues With Part Three: “Achieving Off-the-Charts Performance Management”

Storage virtualization is becoming a must-have in contemporary IT – Webcast series educates the storage industry on key aspects and challenges of managing storage

DataCore Software announced the upcoming, third installment of its “Storage Virtualization” webcast series with “Storage in the Fast Lane -- Achieving Off-the-Charts Performance Management.” This webcast will take place on Thursday, July 28, 2011 at 11:30 a.m. (EDT). To register, please visit: “Storage in the Fast Lane -- Achieving Off-the-Charts Performance Management.

Part Three: Storage in the Fast Lane -- Achieving Off-the-Charts Performance Management

This third installment of the webcast series will investigate the following:
  • What is performance management?
  • What are the challenges to performance efficiency?
  • How can storage virtualization help you to get the best performance from your infrastructure?

Join host and moderator Jon Toigo for Part Three of the 'Storage Virtualization for Rock Stars' webcast series. To register, please visit: “Storage in the Fast Lane -- Achieving Off-the-Charts Performance Management.


Storage Virtualization WhitePapers and Reference Materials
To access the two previous webcasts and the tutorial guides from Part One and Part Two of the “For Rock Stars” webcast series – “Hitting the Perfect Chord in Storage Efficiency” and “Capacity Management’s Sweet Notes” – please visit: