Thursday 6 September 2012

Software-Defined Storage for Software-Defined Data Centers

“The move to a software-defined virtualization-based model supporting mission-critical business applications has redefined the foundation of architectures at the computing, networking and storage levels from being ‘static’ to ‘dynamic’; software defines the basis for agility, user interactions and for building a long-term virtual infrastructure that adapts to change.”

Software Defined StorageIn my last post on Software-defined Storage, I wrote about the software-defined data center and I anticipated that VMware would be showcasing the theme at VMworld.

VMware is clearly promoting this new “software-centric” concept and made “software-defined data centers” not only their new mantra but their vision statement for the future. The industry conversation on this topic is getting louder.

Since its formation, DataCore has likewise embraced the need for “software-defined storage” as an essential element to software-defined data centers. Virtual storage infrastructures are the foundation for scalable, elastic and efficient cloud computing. While the primary attention is focused on the computing and networking elements, the major challenge continues to be storage. To make the software-defined data center a reality, we need to overcome the hardware-defined mindset that has stalled the redefinition of storage from being software driven.

Three key elements: Computing, Networking and Storage

As users have to deal with the new dynamics and faster pace of today’s business, they can no longer be trapped within yesterday’s more rigid and hard-wired architecture models. Infrastructure is constructed on three pillars – computing, networking and storage – and in each area hardware decisions will take a back seat to a world dictated by software and driven by applications.

Clearly the success of VMware and Microsoft Hyper-V have proven the compelling value proposition that server virtualization delivers. Likewise, the storage hypervisor is the key to unlocking the hardware chains that have made storage an anchor to next generation data centers.

Software-Defined Storage and the Role of the Storage Hypervisor

The storage hypervisor’s main role is to virtualize storage resources and to achieve the same benefits – agility, efficiency and flexibility – that server hypervisor technology brought to processors and memory. To fully achieve this goal, a storage hypervisor must meet certain requirements.

It must improve the utilization of existing storage resources; improve application performance to virtualized storage resources; integrate with heterogeneous hypervisors and popular operating system environments (Windows, Linux, UNIX, etc.); support existing physical and new virtual storage platform resources; and it must automate and simplify storage management. For an overview of the requirements of a storage hypervisor, please view the Storage Hypervisor Checklist: Nine Things to Look for In a Storage Hypervisor.

Software-defined Storage and Tier 1 Applications

The storage hypervisor is intelligent software that abstracts, transforms and optimally manages the many different device types into pools of virtual resources that can be provisioned and mapped to application systems as needed. With a storage hypervisor, all the available resources enterprise-wide can be pooled and also automatically tiered to optimize performance and cost. Automation and intuitive tools make it easier to achieve much greater levels of productivity. The storage hypervisor and the larger virtualization movement are clearly redefining the data center at the infrastructure level.

Infrastructure, however, is simply a means to an end. It is the way that you run applications that ultimately matters. The main goal of the software-defined data center is to optimize the application experience. DataCore understands that in the end, it is all about how the software makes business applications more productive. For more details, please review how DataCore’s storage hypervisor Optimizes Your Application-centric Storage.

Also check out our recent announcement: DataCore Storage Hypervisor Makes Mission-Critical and I/O Intensive Tier 1 Business Applications Run Up to 5X Faster Virtualized.

DataCore SANsymphony™-V 9.0, our newest release, boosts the speed, throughput and availability of virtualized, I/O intensive tier 1 applications. Customers report up to 5x faster response time performance and achieve better than 99.999% uptime after virtualizing their existing storage with SANsymphony-V. To learn more, see how DataCore’s storage hypervisor benefits these popular applications:

SAP   Oracle    Microsoft SQL Server    Microsoft SharePoint    Microsoft Exchange

DataCore fundamentally changes the economics of performance – cost-effectively enabling application overseers/administrators to virtualize their tier 1 applications as they transform into private clouds and software-defined data centers. The DataCore storage hypervisor harnesses the full power of server caches, solid state disks (SSDs) and existing storage assets so that application owners no longer need to “rip and replace” storage infrastructures and pay much higher costs to meet their performance and uptime objectives.

Along with the virtualization of server and network resources, DataCore’s storage hypervisor provides the virtual storage architecture needed to realize the vision and the benefits of the software-defined data center.

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