Saturday, 31 October 2009

Computer Technology Review: Homecare Homebase deploys DataCore storage virtualization solutions

Homecare Homebase [HCHB] deploys DataCore storage virtualization solutions
...HCHB empowers the homecare and hospice industry to be more effective in providing healthcare to patients. Currently 4,375 office workers and over 11,000 field agents rely on applications running on HCHB’s IT systems infrastructure. Everything HCHB customers do is mobile and all of the applications HCHB offers these agents in the homecare industry are both mobile and real-time.

“The combination of the VMware platform along with the DataCore SAN has really given us a lot of flexibility to more rapidly deploy consistent images of systems – especially in the Citrix farm,” explained Chris Kane, director of technical operations, Homecare Homebase. “In addition, the VMware-DataCore combination has given us much improved VMotion capability – where the SAN enables us to do maintenance on the host in the middle of the day, if we have to.”

...“We quickly outgrew the storage we had – both in terms of the amount of space presented by those units as well as the performance of those units,” noted Kane.
HCHB has a big Microsoft SQL Server shop and tended to back-up its customer information using these snap units at each site to replicate for disaster recovery purposes. According to Kane, the units were just not able to keep up with the back-up planning and also the synchronization of the data. “The storage we had before DataCore became troublesome,” commented Kane. “We were in desperate need, not only of space, but also of reliable storage.”

...On its own, HCHB looked at EqualLogic from Dell, LeftHand from HP, as well as EMC and NetApp.
Noted Kane, “The DataCore SAN solution suits our IT administrative style better than the other solutions we saw. The more we looked at traditional SAN solutions – encompassing hardware, software and professional services – for us, these weren’t the type of solutions that we have typically dealt with. We have a lot of skilled technology people in house and we like to be able to get our hands on every piece of technology we bring in. The fact that DataCore is Windows-based gives us a little more control – particularly being able to manage the hardware ourselves. Moreover, DataCore gave us a full, high availability solution. Not to mention that DataCore is very competitive price-wise – so all of this made DataCore the best choice for us.”

...Virtualizing the Citrix environment with VMware and DataCore running in tandem has provided a real, tangible benefit in terms of system maintenance and administration. Before – with the physical, Citrix environment, the IT team at HCHB was very limited in terms of what they could do with those systems during the working day.
“Just the patch management aspect of keeping up with all the physical boxes has been greatly improved in the virtual environment because we can deploy patch templates versus having to constantly update from Microsoft or other vendors,” added Kane.
With the SAN in place, the virtual environment at HCHB has delivered real benefits to customers and system administrators alike. These benefits are a direct result of the improvements made possible through these new virtualization capabilities. For instance, HCHB as a whole is able to roll out new services more rapidly and consistently. The current databases and applications that HCHB uses internally to run its business, such as file servers (documentation that support internal needs) or Microsoft Office Sharepoint (that supports customers), have benefited, either directly or indirectly, from the VMware virtual infrastructure and the DataCore storage virtualization SAN.

...“It has been very rapid growth for us recently,” summarized Kane. “And I am very, very happy with the performance we are getting both out of VMware and the DataCore SAN at this point. The SAN has made a world of difference to us. There were many choices for a SAN – from a variety of SAN vendors. For us, DataCore was the right fit. DataCore gives us the ability to select and maintain the hardware of our own choice. It gives us the ability to have a fully redundant, highly available SAN – not just at the controller-level, but at the storage-level itself. That, combined with the price point DataCore’s portable SAN software offers – even when having to purchase hardware and licensing – is still much more effective than anything else we found on the market.”

Saturday, 24 October 2009

New Capabilities for DataCore SANmelody

New Capabilities for DataCore SANmelody
Aimed at SMBs eager to upgrade their disk subsystems and storage network infrastructure

Friday, 23 October 2009

DataCore Video - 6 years old - content applies

DataCore Video - 6 years old - content applies
Take a look at the following video from DataCore Software created over 6 years ago, the content in this clip is more relevant today that ever. It demonstrates how far ahead DataCore Software was at that time and shows that their core ...DataCore SANmelody tunes -

DataCore Piles on Resources for VARs

DataCore Piles on Resources for VARs;jsessionid=BF7AD2B261245AC04F57A62E1A43EC16
In the last several months, storage virtualization and recovery innovator DataCore Software has initiated new services and support as well as new products to help SMBs optimize storage solutions.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Powerful new capabilities in latest virtualization release from DataCore Software.

...The new features are aimed at small and mid-size businesses (SMBs) that are eager to upgrade their disk subsystems and storage network infrastructure, but fear the broad business disruptions that such changes typically bring.
The new features, now shipping, in SANmelody 3.0 enable:

Non-disruptive Substitution - Replace storage arrays in the background.
Copies the contents of a designated storage array (or individual drive) to the unit that will replace it while applications continue to use the logical volumes. The new array (or drive) transparently takes over once it matches the contents of the original drives so that the older drives can be taken offline without impacting users.

Redundant Pathing - Configure network paths between storage virtualization nodes.
These paths may be diversely routed to ensure that if one primary network connection is broken or taken offline, synchronous mirroring between nodes will continue uninterrupted over the alternate connection.

Prioritized Recovery - Prioritize resynchronization of mirrored disks.
Ensures that the most critical, volumes are resynchronized first when a node or its storage is taken off-line during an upgrade or unplanned outage.

Group Snapshot and Clone Command - Synchronize online snapshots across inter-dependent volumes.
Coordinates multiple snapshots to occur at the same time across a group of related volumes. This ensures point-time synchronization of file systems and application data that reside on different disks. It ensures that clones created on new equipment are an exact replica of their predecessor.

Content Migration - Relocate Active Drives into Virtual Storage Pool.
Enables existing drives formatted with NTFS, Unix, Linux and other file systems to be incorporated into the SANmelody storage pool. These physical drives are first un-mounted from the application servers where they were once active, and reconnected behind a SANmelody node. The SANmelody node will then act as an intermediary between the application server and these drives. To take full advantage of SANmelody advanced virtualisation features, their contents may be copied to virtual disks using snapshots or synchronous mirroring. The relocated drives can then be wiped clean and included in the physical storage pool as additional capacity, or they may be decommissioned.

FCoE Connectivity - Access Fibre Channel storage pool via the LAN switching infrastructure.
Application servers and other storage consumers can access SANmelody nodes equipped with Fibre Channel SAN connections using their Ethernet Network Interface Cards (NICs). This capability takes advantage of the new Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) protocol and FCoE-compliant switches.

New Features: SANmelody 3.0 PSP 2 Released

New Features: SANmelody 3.0 PSP 2 Released

Good Screenshots and Overview Highlights:

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

VMware, Hyper-V virtualization leave others in the dust

Interesting post:
The data derives from TechTarget's "Virtualization Decisions 2009 Purchasing Intentions Survey" of 666 IT professionals that have deployed or are evaluating virtualization. Data was collected between June and September 2009.

To no one's surprise, survey respondents reported using VMware Inc. over other virtualization software by a wide margin: 72.4% identified some VMware edition as their primary virtualization platform (ESX 2.x to 4.x or VMware Server), compared with 14.8% that cited a Microsoft offering (Hyper-V or Virtual Server).Blowing away the competition But despite a fair amount of buzz, Citrix XenServer, Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization, Virtual Iron Software Inc. and open source Xen variants barely registered. Each came in at about 1% market share. OS-level and partitioning-based virtualization platforms (HP VSE, IBM mainframe partitions, Solaris Containers, and Parallels Virtuozzo) fared even worse, failing to garner a mention by even 1% of respondents.VMware is the 800-pound gorilla, and everyone wants to vote for the winner...
Read more:,289142,sid94_gci1369150,00.html#

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Virtualization and “the new availability” -John Abbot -The 451 Report

Interesting post:
Long established techniques addressing application resilience, data availability and disaster recovery are being challenged by server virtualization technologies from companies such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft. Where do we go from here? ...

Who’s selling what? So who are the market players? The virtualization infrastructure vendors – VMware, Microsoft and Citrix Systems in particular – continue to build functionality to increase availability into their core products, threatening in some cases to squeeze out competition from third-party vendors. A core part of what they offer is the live migration of virtual machines, which can move workloads to a different server while they are running. This has the potential to eliminate the need for planned downtime altogether.

But there is still plenty of room for other vendors to operate. They range from storage array vendors with their own hardware-specific tools (such as EMC, Hewlett-Packard and NetApp) to software-based replication vendors (such as Double-Take Software and NeverFail).
The storage vendors typically provide the best performance, but require an investment in expensive networked storage resources. Modular, iSCSI-based storage systems such as HP's LeftHand and Dell's EqualLogic are capitalizing on the new demand for availability, attracting customers that have previously been frightened away from shared storage by the complexities and expense of classic fiber channel-based storage networks. A related approach is that of the storage virtualizers, such as DataCore Software...

Monday, 12 October 2009

New SANmelody 3.0 Product Review in Network Computing

New Product Review of SANmelody 3.0 in Network Computing.

FCoE Is Ready, Is It Time to Care?
Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) has been a much-hyped technology, but adoption rates haven't yet lived up to the propaganda.According to Seamus Crehan, an analyst at Dell'Oro Group, only about 10,000 FCoE ports shipped in 2008. While that number is predicted to reach 1 million in 2011, it will still be outgunned by Fibre Channel by a factor of 10 to one. That said, FCoE isn't a technology to ignore...

However, Alexander Nier, product manager for DataCore Software, cautions that an understanding of the underlying technology is a must or implementation headaches will crop up."Don't confuse FCoE with a freshly paved road where everything goes better just because it's new," said Nier. "FCoE is a complementary technology rather than a replacement for existing products. The main prep work is to understand if somebody may or may not benefit from using FCoE."

To his mind, if you are a happy camper today, there is probably no need to switch gear. As FCoE is still in the early stages of adoption, he wouldn't encourage anyone to switch if the technology they have in place is satisfactory. FCoE's primary intention, after all, is to consolidate back-end cabling by using the same physical media (Ethernet cable) for multiple transportation streams in parallel."If the back-end cabling of your server racks looks like a mess, and each server has a bunch of fiber optic and network cables connected to it, you're probably a good candidate," said Nier.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

ComputerWorld Test Center: SANs tuned for virtualization pack nice surprises
Virtualization is moving further into the datacenter all the time, with even critical large-scale applications like Exchange and databases now being virtualized. Whether you're using virtualization to make large applications more manageable or to consolidate many small applications, a server with lots of RAM, lots of processor cores, and lots of I/O is a good thing.

And so is a SAN packed with features that ease the management of storage for virtual machines.From a storage viewpoint, each virtual machine uses a file to simulate a physical hard disk. This file, a VMDK (Virtual Machine Disk Format) under VMware or VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) under Microsoft, can be located on a server's internal drive or on a SAN. There are several advantages to putting the file on a SAN: The file can be duplicated using the storage's snapshot function, the file can be moved easily from one hardware server to another for scalability or fault tolerance, and the storage itself can be more easily made fault tolerant.

I tested five midrange SAN systems that deliver the goods for virtual environments: the Compellent Storage Center 4.0, the Dell EqualLogic PS4000, the HP StorageWorks 2000sa G2 Modular Smart Array, the Pillar Axiom 600 from Pillar Data Systems, and a build-it-yourself pairing of the Promise vTrak E610f hardware and DataCore's SANmelody 3.0 storage software...

The prices (as tested) of these systems range widely, from less than $10,000 for the Promise Technologies and DataCore combination to $130,000 for the Pillar Data system. All the manufacturers have models ranging from inexpensive starters to very high-performance datacenter-ready systems. As you can tell from the range in price, the models I tested don't necessarily compete with each other.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Storage virtualization in Universities and Education around the world

DataCore Software announced new SAN software packages and promotions for academic institutes that deliver price savings of up to 50% and highlighted a host of educational institutions around the world that have already deployed storage virtualisation using its SANmelody and SANsymphony solutions.
“Most educational enterprises want enterprise-class storage networking functionality but have to settle for a lot less, since they do not have the budgets to implement these solutions due to the high costs and complexity that is involved – especially for fault-tolerant, auto recovery storage systems needed to protect and support virtual server environments,” stated George Teixeira, president and CEO, DataCore Software.