Thursday 21 August 2014

Virtual SAN Product Review: DataCore versus VMware

DataCore’s Virtual SAN or VMware’s Virtual SAN

DataCore’s Virtual SAN or VMware’s Virtual SAN - this type of comparison and question easily comes to mind whenever the use of storage virtualization is being evaluated. Other important issues to consider is the ease of deployment and ability to  scale these systems in terms of performance and capacity, a key point  highlighted by converged system suppliers such as Nutanix for example. With this backdrop and the introduction of DataCore’s SANsymphony-V10, and the recent release of VMware’s Virtual SAN, we decided there was a need to offer a comparative analysis overviewing the “virtual SANs” and their essential differences.

...When comparing DataCore’s SANsymphony-V10 Virtual SAN  with VMware’s VSAN, one aspect is particularly striking: VSAN is suitable only for ESXi-based hosts which have a directly connected storage device - hard drives and SSDs/flash memory devices.  By contrast, SANsymphony-V is suitable both for physical environments and virtualized infrastructures.... 

Read the NT4Admins: 

Rights Advocacy Agency Depends on a DataCore Virtual SAN and Hyper-V for Disaster Recovery, Greater Agility and Optimal Use of Dell Servers

Software-defined storage architecture benefits non-profit legal rights advocacy agency to achieve greater flexibility and cost-savings.
DataCore announced today that Disability Rights (DRTx), a non-profit legal and protection advocacy agency, has attained a new level of agility and productivity by going virtual and software-defined with DataCore and Microsoft Hyper-V. DRTx started out on its virtualization journey by successfully implementing a redundant pair of DataCore SANsymphony-V software empowered “nodes” (SAN 1 and SAN 2) in the main center. DRTx leveraged the storage virtualization and synchronously mirroring capabilities of DataCore to prevent downtime and ensure continuous data availability for business operations.
Next, the organization added a DataCore Virtual SAN running on a Dell server, which resides in a remote location (SAN 3). Critical data and VMs are now constantly replicated to the remote site for disaster recovery (DR). DataCore and Microsoft Hyper-V now work in tandem to virtualize the physical server and storage environment, and they simplify and speed up recovery in the event of a disaster. Microsoft in effect significantly improved server agility; likewise DataCore did the same for storage.
“We would not have been able to achieve the overall agility, cost-savings and productivity benefits without SANsymphony-V storage virtualization software from DataCore,” said Carlton Whitmore, IT manager, Disability Rights Texas. “The DataCore Virtual SAN and SANsymphony-V storage virtualization platform have combined to enable DRTx to fully use existing investments and significantly increase our flexibility, portability and cost-savings to meet future needs.”
Whitmore is also extremely pleased with the fact that as a Dell user he can use a mix of state-of-the-art Dell servers and older servers with different speeds and types of disk drives.
“The DataCore Virtual SAN software and the ability to use our existing Dell servers made it cost-effective and practical to set up a new disaster recovery site,” he stated, “We can build virtual SANs on lesser systems that don’t cost nearly as much as the main SAN that we are using.”
The flexibility and the portability inherent to DataCore SANsymphony-V enabled DRTx to save money by bringing the price point down on the overall IT infrastructure. In particular, it greatly helps avoid the recurring costs associated with having to “rip and replace” a traditional hardware SAN.
“Before implementing DataCore we got hit pretty hard with maintenance costs – or we would need to buy new equipment to replace what was constantly being phased out,” stated Whitmore. “As far as tangible costs saved with DataCore, we are probably saving at least $7,000 - $8,000 a year, every year as far as maintenance fees and additional hardware costs that we no longer have to pay now that we have virtualized both servers and storage.”
As a legal and protection advocacy agency, DRTx depends heavily on the case management system, Legal Files, as its virtualized case management system. This application and the case information are mission-critical to the firm and therefore it needs a reliable server and storage infrastructure. DataCore’s software has seamlessly increased the speed and response times of these key systems and processes – making them more efficient and productive.
The flexibility and the portability inherent to DataCore has enabled DRTx to cut expenses by allowing the agency to continue utilizing low-cost hardware and bringing the price point down on the overall IT infrastructure. This empowerment in terms of cost containment goes a long way for a non-profit organization.
A complete case study concerning the DataCore deployment at Disability Rights Texas is available here:
About Disability Rights Texas
Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Our mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society. Visit for more information on our scope of services.

Monday 18 August 2014

DataCore: The Solution for Healthcare IT Data Storage Challenges

The Healthcare IT landscape has changed considerably over the last decade. Today, a myriad of challenges exist such as new healthcare regulations, high performance applications, massive data growth, and the need for non-stop data availability. Architecting a storage solution that meets these requirements while remaining financially viable is a daunting task.

Healthcare Solutions from DataCore

...If I was to list out the top three highest priority challenges for Healthcare IT managers to address, they would be: Data Availability, Storage Scalability, and Storage Performance.

Challenge: Data Availability - Achieving Maximum Application Uptime
Data availability is focused on maintaining uninterrupted data accessibility, even in the event of a catastrophic failure, within the storage infrastructure due to user error, hardware malfunction, site failures and/or regional disasters. Uninterrupted data accessibility is an absolute must in the healthcare industry. Failure to sustain uptime could result in a negative impact on patient health, including loss of life, and/or severe financial penalties.

Challenge: Storage Scalability - Expanding Storage Capacity Without Disruption
Storage scalability has a dual focus. The first is how efficiently data is being stored on the existing storage hardware. The second is the presentation of additional capacity, ideally without interruption, to the production systems. With the increasing capacity demands from strict data retention policies and data-intensive healthcare applications such as EHR and PACS, maintaining a scalable storage platform is critical to operations.

Challenge: Storage Performance - Minimizing Application Latency
Storage performance is the main variable affecting  application performance, which directly impacts patient care. Simply introducing high speed storage within the  infrastructure for a particular application is no longer tenable when addressing performance. There are too many applications, too many databases, and too many systems involved to improve performance this way.

Healthcare IT is expected to maximize the return on every investment. But, there is also a great need for high-performance, reliable, enterprise-grade storage systems, which are expensive.

Consider the impact on ROI and TCO with a purpose built solution that allows you to leverage any make and model of storage system, all while providing blazing performance and the most advanced forms of data protection to safeguard your data. And as conditions change over time, expand without interruption, the resources needed to fulfill the demands of the new requirement.

For more information on the solution to these challenges, download our whitepaper: The Solution for Healthcare IT Data Storage Challenges.

Thursday 14 August 2014

DataCore to Showcase Virtual SAN Software, SANsymphony-V10 and New VMware Integration Plans at VMworld 2014

DataCore will be showcasing its new Virtual SAN capabilities and SANsymphony-V10, the latest version of its comprehensive storage services platform at VMworld 2014. The DataCore team will be on site to highlight how its Virtual SAN software federates converged storage with external storage arrays, across any hypervisor. DataCore will also offer a show special SANsymphony-V software license for virtualization and storage experts to test-drive the new capabilities, discuss VMware integrations (e.g., VVOLs, VAAI) and ‘Data Anywhere’ plans, as well as meet with attendees interested in engaging in alliance partnerships. DataCore will be present in booth #1445, next to VMware’s main booth at the conference.
WHO: Meet George Teixeira, CEO of DataCore, and other key senior level executives from DataCore that oversee strategic alliances, technology and product planning, sales and market positioning
WHAT: Showcasing DataCore SANsymphony-V10 and Virtual SAN capabilities
WHERE: VMworld 2014 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, booth #1445
WHEN: August 24 – 28, 2014
Free DataCore Software
DataCore is commemorating its 10th generation release by offering free, non-production version of its SANsymphony-V10 software licenses. Intended primarily for technical specialists, virtualization consultants, certified storage experts, instructors and architects evaluating technologies to manage and optimize storage infrastructures, the software will help organizations evaluate and experience the value of a converged infrastructure. To request a copy and learn more, please visit:
To schedule a meeting, visit the DataCore website or stop by the DataCore booth #1445. For more information on the event, please visit:
DataCore is a leader in software-defined storage. The company’s storage virtualization and virtual SAN solutions empower organizations to seamlessly manage and scale their data storage architectures, delivering massive performance gains at a fraction of the cost of solutions offered by legacy storage hardware vendors. Backed by 10,000 customer sites around the world, DataCore’s adaptive and self-learning and healing technology takes the pain out of manual processes and helps deliver on the promise of the new software defined data center through its hardware agnostic architecture.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Mole Valley District Council Achieves Resilience for Applications Through DataCore Software-defined Storage

"DataCore fulfils our needs. It represents much more than High Availability; DataCore's Software-defined Storage platform is now the foundation for the supply and optimisation of all our critical applications."

DataCore Software Corp. announced that Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) have been using their SANsymphony-V solution for the past five years, ensuring throughout that MVDC's 300 internal council customers retain access to an optimal infrastructure, applications and IT services, in order to fulfill their busy roles from within the Dorking based IT department.
Mole Valley Council Offices 
MVDC's IT service design manager, Saeed Foroughi, comments: "We support over 50 essential applications across the various parts of the Council, most of which are deemed critical to successful civic operations. With such a number of departmental applications, performance and resiliency cannot be compromised. Failover, when it has occurred, remains seamless and automatic, with the other side of the mirror resuming the primary load and no disruption to services."
The process is so seamless that frequently Mole Valley only notice that it has process happened when a visual inspection highlights that the transition has occurred. That's software defined working at its best.

MVDC operates in a virtualised server and storage environment, having gone through the consolidation journey from physical to virtual five years ago, with the assistance and advice of trusted DataCore certified partner, Adapto Ltd. Back then, the landscape looked somewhat different, with over 90 physical servers running alongside HP DAS with frequent hardware refreshes required.

The consolidated server rooms hold just 30 physical servers alongside 100 VMs running VMware ESX server virtualisation platform with SANsymphony-V software defined storage platform supporting the virtual landscape, in a synchronously mirrored configuration across 2 nodes providing non-disruptive and automated failover and failback operations in a HA configuration, with a third asynchronous offsite replication location for DR.

"We have enjoyed a longstanding relationship with DataCore that spans across many years, way before software defined storage became a mainstream term; after we realised that the clever part of storage emanates almost entirely from the software layer. The primary reasons that we selected SANsymphony-V haven't really changed from what we experience today - to ultimately decrease cost and increase scalability and reliability. Adoption of DataCore's SDS platform has certainly kept us away from costly hardware refreshes and endless cycles of appliance purchasing and today we have complete freedom of choice as to which disks and storage we provision, so we select storage that is entirely suited to task and not to incumbent brand."

Running on a pair of rack mounted HP ProLiant DL 380 servers with Windows Server 2008 R2, Mole Valley's core 25TB of data remains protected, assured, and performant. For speed of processing of applications and data reporting, SANsymphony-V continues to enhance the internal user experience by using RAM-based caching to overcome I/O bottlenecks to help applications to run faster.

When MVDC requires additional performance, the organisation can either add more RAM to the storage virtualisation servers, add additional servers, or gain performance through the integration of flash storage to the storage pool by adding cost-effective SSD cards. With DataCore's auto-tiering technology, a real-time mechanism that positions data on the appropriate class of storage based on how frequently the data is accessed, the most intensive applications are processed by the fastest available storage, further improving response times and optimising the efficient usage of available storage resources. The result is application performance and lower TCO across the entire storage architecture.

Other resource gains have been made using the power of SANsymphony-V to help the ICT department make savvy procurement decisions on forward disk purchases through the creation of storage pools that maximise disk usage. All disks are allocated as virtual disks, but when there are demand spikes, spare disk is reassigned from the pool, so over provisioning has become an issue of the past. The inbuilt monitoring of the platform identifies storage usage and allows mapping to document the most appropriate levels of storage to be apportioned.

With MVDC's gruelling Box Hill featuring heavily in the recent London Olympics, a watertight DR plan needed to be operational with the TV cameras of the world upon the area. To achieve this after storage virtualisation adoption, Mole Valley adopted a collaborative DR plan with a neighbouring council to allow a third DataCore node to be housed over 15 miles away in a neighbouring town, asynchronously replicating data across the existing UNICORN network that links all Local Authorities across Surrey.

Bob Thomas, head of ICT, MVDC, explains: "It made sense and brings total peace of mind to work with reciprocal agreements with neighbouring authorities. It alleviates the need to procure commercial space outside of the Mole Valley vicinity successfully replicating data asynchronously through a third DataCore node for DR purposes."

The closing words go to Saeed: "Given we have been running DataCore's software defined storage platform now for five years under Adapto's advice, we are well placed to comment with authority that DataCore fulfils our needs. It represents much more than HA; SDS is now the foundation for the supply and optimisation of all our critical applications."