Wednesday 26 November 2014

DataCore Offers Pre-Tested Software-defined Storage Solutions Based on Dell PowerEdge Servers and is Named a Certified Dell Technology Partner

DataCore, a leader in software-defined storage and converged virtual SAN solutions, is now a certified Dell Technology Partner. The program certification recognises DataCore for successfully passing the rigorous testing process required to validate the integration and interoperability of its software on Dell PowerEdge server platforms. The partnership instills customer confidence and gives enterprise IT greater flexibility and more freedom to choose certified, pre-tested platforms and infrastructures that combine industry-leading Dell PowerEdge servers and storage with DataCore’s software-defined storage software solutions.
DataCore SANsymphony™-V and Virtual SAN software transform Dell PowerEdge servers into fully featured software-defined storage servers that are able to virtualise, enhance and derive the utmost productivity from a company’s present and future storage investments. DataCore’s powerful software solutions enable Dell’s PowerEdge servers and the full range of Dell’s storage products to be easily integrated with all the popular brands and models of installed storage and solid state disk technologies regardless of the original vendor. With DataCore software, it is easy to leverage Dell PowerEdge performance acceleration over the entire infrastructure of storage assets. The combination supports powerful features like metro-wide shared storage for clusters and business continuance, and automates tiering, provisioning and migration of data storage across the diversity of new or installed disk and flash-based technologies.
Dell and DataCore solutions combine to deliver enterprise-class performance and highest levels of availability. In addition, Dell PowerEdge servers and DataCore Virtual SAN software make an ideal solution for the mid-market, especially for Microsoft virtualisation projects and mixed Hyper-V and VMware environments running business critical applications such as SQL, SharePoint, Exchange, Dynamics, SAP, Oracle and VDI. In these use cases, DataCore users report nearly a 100 percent reduction in storage-related downtime, storage costs decreased by up to 75 percent and I/O performance improvements of virtualized applications by up to 10x.
DataCore is showcasing its DataCore Ready Software-Defined Storage (SDS) software  running on Dell PowerEdge servers at the Dell World 2014 conference this week in Austin, Texas. Attendees, please stop by DataCore’s Booth, #3E20A, to meet the DataCore team and learn more about the newest DataCore and Dell solutions.
For more information on the DataCore and Dell partnership, please see:

Sunday 16 November 2014

eWeek: DataCore Ready Software-Defined Storage Servers Running on Dell PowerEdge Debut

DataCore’s SANsymphony-V software works with Dell’s PowerEdge servers and a range of Dell Storage MD Series, SC Series and PS Series arrays.

Software-defined storage specialist DataCore announced the launch of its Ready Software-Defined Storage (SDS) software, running on Dell PowerEdge servers. 

DataCore’s SANsymphony-V software works with Dell’s PowerEdge servers and a range of Dell Storage MD Series, SC Series and PS Series arrays. 

The DataCore software makes it possible to add PowerEdge performance acceleration to the pool of heterogeneous storage systems, support features such as metrowide stretch mirroring for business continuance, as well as simplified migration and workload mobility from traditional storage systems to new platforms. 

DataCore software solutions enable once-isolated storage systems--from flash and disks located within servers, to external SAN arrays and public cloud storage--to become part of an enterprisewide accessible virtual pool, classified into tiers according to their unique characteristics. 

Different brands of storage, standalone converged systems and hypervisor-dependent Virtual SANs and external storage systems no longer need to exist as islands.

Instead, they can be integrated within an overall storage infrastructure. The system administrator can provision capacity, maximize utilization and set high-level policies to allow the software to select the most appropriate storage tier and paths to achieve the desired levels of performance and availability.

"Enterprises are experiencing significant challenges associated with storage, including increasing pressure to maintain uninterrupted service, the need to scale with increasing capacity demands, and more onerous IT data retention policies," George Teixeira, president and CEO of DataCore, told eWEEK. "In addition, the cost and performance of where data is stored matters, especially when we consider what storage we put in the cloud, and how we use more expensive flash storage–this all adds to the growing complexity. To top it all off, IT managers need to work within ever-diminishing IT budgets."

...The company’s Virtual SAN also works with all major hypervisors (including VMware vSphere and Microsoft Hyper-V) and many popular storage offerings, Teixeira noted.

"While technical alternatives exist from competitors, they often prove prohibitively expensive except for the most affluent of IT organizations, and suffer from large recurring costs," he said. "DataCore offers affordable solutions that take full advantages of resources already in use. Furthermore, the advanced software services endure as underlying storage hardware is replaced, to eliminate the wasteful rip-and-replace processes which drive up costs." 

Wednesday 5 November 2014

DataCore at Dell World Unveils Software-Defined Storage Powered by Dell PowerEdge Servers

Combination to deliver storage flexibility, performance across enterprises

DataCore is showcasing its DataCore Ready Software-Defined Storage (SDS) software  running on Dell PowerEdge servers at the Dell World conference in Austin, Texas.
DataCore’s SANsymphony-V is a comprehensive and scalable storage services platform designed to maximize the performance, availability and utilization of IT assets.
Different brands of storage, standalone converged systems and hypervisor dependent Virtual SANs and external storage systems no longer need to exist as ‘islands’ — with DataCore, they can be integrated within an overall storage infrastructure.
DataCore’s Virtual SAN solution enables enterprises to virtualize and empower locally converged systems as well as go beyond other approaches in the market by providing a growth path to incorporate external storage and avoid the sprawl of storage islands.
“The combination of Dell’s advanced PowerEdge servers and our proven software-defined storage platform can empower storage to whole new price performance levels,” said Steve HouckCOO of DataCore. “While we work with all the popular hypervisors, the price performance of Dell PowerEdge servers lets us target a largely unfulfilled segment of the marketplace – that is, fast, affordable and simple-to-use Virtual SANs that support Microsoft virtualization and Hyper-V projects and mixed VMware environments running critical applications such as SQL, SharePoint, Exchange, SAP, Oracle and VDI.
DataCore’s users report nearly a 100 percent reduction in storage-related downtime, storage costs decreased by up to 75 percent and I/O performance improvements of virtualized applications by up to 10x.
The newest enhancements to DataCore’s Virtual SAN, available this month, will further boost I/O performance and enterprise class scaling, doubling the amount of nodes supported up to 64 and providing the capability to deploy larger-scale 64 petabyte configurations with the power to drive over 100 million IOPs.

Monday 3 November 2014

DataCore’s Answer to Accelerating the Performance of Random Write Workloads: Sequential Storage

by Jeffrey Slapp Technical Product Specialist / Systems Engineer

DataCore Software has developed another exciting new feature extending the arsenal of enterprise features already present within SANsymphony-V. This new feature serves to enhance the performance of random write workloads which are among the most costly operations that can be performed against a storage system. The new Sequential Storage feature will be available in SANsymphony™-V10 PSP1 scheduled for release this month.
Internal testing with the Sequential Storage feature and 100% random write workloads yielded significant performance improvements for spinning disks (>30x improvement) and even noteworthy improvements for SSDs (>3x improvement) under these conditions. The specific performance numbers will be covered later in this article.
The actual performance benefits will vary greatly depending on the percentage of random writes that make up the application’s I/O profile and the types of storage devices participating within the storage pool. Additionally, the feature is enabled on a per-virtual disk basis, allowing you to be very selective about when to apply the optimization.
Basis For Development
As applications drive storage system I/O, DataCore’s high-speed caching engine improves virtual disk read performance. The cache also improves write performance, but its flexibility is limited due to the need to destage data to persistent storage. In many environments the need to synchronize write I/O with back-end storage becomes the limiting factor to the performance that can be realized at the application level; hence the purpose of this development.
With certain types of storage devices, there are significant performance limitations associated with non-sequential writes compared with sequential writes. These limitations occur due to:
  • Physical head movement across the surface of the rotating disk
  • RAID-5 reads to calculate parity data
  • Write amplification inherent to Flash and SSD devices
DataCore SANsymphony-V software presents an abstraction to the application — a virtual SCSI disk. The way that SANsymphony-V stores the data associated with these virtual disks is an implementation detail hidden from the application. Data may be placed invisibly across storage devices in different tiers to take advantage of their distinct price/performance/capacity characteristics. The data may also be mirrored between devices in separate locations to safeguard against equipment and site failures. The SANsymphony-V software can use different ways to store application data to mitigate the aforementioned limitations, while not changing the abstraction presented to the applications.
Functional Details
Sequential Storage changes the way SANsymphony-V stores data written to the virtual disks by:
  • Storing all writes sequentially
  • Coalescing writes to reduce the number of I/Os to back-end storage
  • Indexing the sequential structure to identify the latest data for any given logical block address
  • Directing reads to the latest data for a block using this index
  • Compacting data by copying it and removing blocks that have been rewritten
Performance Details
Now the part everyone is waiting for – the performance numbers. There are three main states to consider from a performance perspective:
  • Base – the underlying level of performance that can be achieved with a 100% random write workload, without Sequential Storage enabled.
  • Maximum – the performance that can be achieved with a 100% random write workload, with Sequential Storage enabled but without compaction active.
  • Sustained – the performance that can be sustained with a 100% random write workload, with Sequential Storage enabled and with compaction active.
The greatest performance is achieved during the Maximum state. When the virtual disk is idle, a background level of compaction will occur to prepare the system to absorb another burst of random write activity. That is, the background compaction will prepare the virtual disks to deliver performance associated with the Maximum state.
The following performance has been observed using IOmeter running a 100% write, 100% random workload with a 4K block size and 64 outstanding I/Os:
  Base IOPS  Maximum IOPSSustained IOPS  
Linear 20 GB volume, SATA WDC 1 TB drive    327  19,500  11,000
Linear 20 GB volume, SSD 840 EVO 250 GB Pool  10,000  62,000  36,000
Mirrored 100 GB volume, PERC H-800 RAID-5 Pool  860  67,000  40,000

Interesting Observations
The above results highlight 3 key observations:
  • Significant acceleration (>30x improvement) of low-cost SATA disks for random write loads is possible. In fact in this particular test with DataCore, the resulting sustained performance of 11,000 IOPS actually exceeded that of a conventional Solid State Disk which ran at 10,000 IOPS.
  • The Solid State Disk also displayed improved performance going from 10,000 IOPS to 36,000 IOPS (>3x improvement).
  • Write intensive RAID-5 workloads displayed the greatest amount of improvement from 860 IOPS to 40,000 IOPS (>45x improvement).
DataCore’s Sequential Storage capability aims to address a limitation every storage system experiences to some extent. Random writes not only severely impact application performance within mechanical systems such as magnetic disks, they can also drastically reduce the performance and shorten the lifespan of SSD/flash based devices because of the write amplification effects produced from the write I/O pattern (see this publication for more detail). You can expect this feature along with many others in SANsymphony™-V10 PSP1 due out later this month.