Search Storage - Stainless steel provider virtualizes with DataCore, VMware
DataCore Software Corp. said North American Stainless in Ghent, Ky., is deploying its SANmelody storage virtualization software along with VMware vSphere to consolidate servers and storage.
VMware vSphere and DataCore Software's Storage Virtualization Are Making Both Disaster Recovery and "Hands Free" Maintenance Possible at One of North America's Largest Stainless Steel Manufacturers
"It was clear to us that the storage sub-system had to provide extra functionality and it was also clear that any of the hardware-based, appliances were going to be well into six figures in price," added Sigg. "This was not the path that we or the customer sought to take. Instead, what we found in DataCore's portable, software-based, SANmelody SAN solution was that it offered all the functionality needed – including high availability and zero points of failure – all at reasonable cost. For the price point, what you get in functionality with DataCore convinced us and sold the customer."
DataCore Software announced its SANmelody storage virtualization solution has been deployed along with VMware vSphere at one of the world's premiere providers of stainless steel - North American Stainless in Ghent, Kentucky. The company's IT department was trying to cope with an already increasing server spiral that encompassed ten (10) servers - all of which were over five years old. "We felt VMware would give us more options than simply adding more physical servers," stated Judy Pieper-Young, Manager - Information Systems, North American Stainless. "Now with VMware combined with DataCore, we can simply add more virtual machines on-the-fly and it only costs us a new server license - instead of having to purchase a whole new physical box."
A Virtual Infrastructure That Delivers Value as Promised
The IT landscape has gone a diet, so to speak, since the advent of virtualization at North American Stainless. Today, the company relies on four (4) physical servers and 35 virtual machines (VMs). The system supports 1,400 end-users.
"The appeal for us in going virtual in terms of servers was straightforward," explained Pieper-Young. "Knowing that we were facing a situation where we were in need of adding even more servers – we chose to embrace virtualization so that we could actually reduce the number of physical servers. But we did not want to stop at servers. In order to achieve a completely virtual infrastructure, we selected DataCore along with VMware to serve as a total virtual infrastructure spanning both servers and storage."
North American Stainless manufactures stainless steel 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year. Therefore, beyond an initial desire to add more capacity by adding virtual storage to the mix was an overarching objective to have a disaster recovery plan in place. For disaster recovery, the company now has two SANmelody nodes that are mirrored so as to offer synchronous replication. "If for any reason we have a server crash, the virtual infrastructure enables us to get up and running within seconds," noted Pieper-Young.
The two, redundant SANmelody SANs that are mirrored are connected to redundant switches that are in turn connected to four VMware ESX hosts, to remove any single point of failure. Now North American Stainless has redundant, high-availability SANs that are synchronous – connected with a direct-attached fibre link. With this in place, the company can withstand a full hardware failure at a server level, at a switch level as well as a SAN level and still be up and running, in production. Other than a facility failure, North American Stainless now has 100% uptime.
The IT Landscape – Virtualization Powers Mission-Critical Applications
The virtual infrastructure powered by VMware and DataCore supports the company's Oracle ERP system servers (including payroll), several SQL servers, Blackberry® server, fax servers, print servers as well as user data. The ability to add VMs "on-the-fly" was a primary objective in going virtual. This is made possible through the combination of VMware vSphere's live migration functionality and the DataCore SAN. With VMware and DataCore run in tandem, the IT team at North American Stainless is able to do testing on applications and do so in way that the any testing procedures for new applications are segmented from the overall system. This is accomplished with DataCore SANmelody serving as a complete virtual storage infrastructure and storage management system – whereby multiple terabytes of storage can be both partitioned in units for a specific use as well as aggregated for general consumption.
Both SANmelody nodes are running on IBM 3650 servers as are the VMs on the two additional servers.