Friday, 20 August 2010

Stop by and Visit DataCore Booth 1607 at VMworld - DataCore Storage Virtualization Software Makes Clouds Happy.

We look forward to seeing you at VMworld 2010.

Always Stays Up   -  Prevent storage-related disruptions. Keep your clouds running with DataCore's non-disruptive high-availability software.
Never Tied Down - Works across incompatible storage devices. Agile and not tied to specific storage arrays, vendors or devices which 'come and go' over time.
Highly Stretchable - Spans buildings and locations for 'Stretch HA'  high-availability and recovery for VMs and data.
Lightning fast  - Advanced Caching enables electronic memory speeds to accelerate your workloads and overcome I/O bottlenecks that impact virtual server and virtual desktop performance.

If you are attending VMworld and will be available on Sunday evening, please contact your local DataCore contact if you are available to attend the DataCore VMworld Welcome Reception at the Infusion Lounge in San Francisco from 7:00-10:00 PM.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

DataCore virtualizes FusionIO SSDs, HP storage arrays into SAN for NIEDAX GROUP

DataCore Case Study
DataCore Software has enabled the NIEDAX GROUP to combine traditional storage arrays, already installed, with new high-speed Solid State Disks (SSDs) to create a Storage Area Network (SAN) to meet their growing data center needs. DataCore virtualization software, combined with FusionIO NAND flash memory SSD technology, has achieved a new level of performance, high availability and energy efficiency, running in production at 100,000 IOPS and 600 MB/s (megabytes-per-second) of throughput, while consuming 15 Watts of energy versus 4000 Watts with hard disks alone.

The NIEDAX GROUP, an electrical installation manufacturer, needed to upgrade its systems to meet the growing demands of its ERP system which is based on Microsoft Dynamics. In addition they wanted to migrate their base of over 40 VMware VMs onto a more reliable SAN infrastructure. The major requirement, however, driven by the ERP requirements was for a new SAN storage solution that could deliver higher performance, capacity and availability than the existing hardware SAN.

NIEDAX utilized a consultancy firm to calculate and access its data requirements and found out that if it continued to use a traditional hardware SAN it would need to add and invest in at least another two storage systems, each with a minimum of 40 Fibre Channel disk drives, to achieve the required performance and high availability. This would be a significant investment and add to the ongoing space and energy costs – so alternatives were sought.

Having seen the value of using VMware for servers, NIEDAX wanted to know if there was virtualization solution that could do the same for their SAN storage. Additionally, it also had to meet the ERP performance requirements that were critical.

The company understood the value of virtualization – having evaluated the use of VMware ESX to virtualize a number of machines and realizing the benefits of going green by reducing power consumption and heating costs with servers. So, NIEDAX asked what they could do similarly for their storage. DataCore partner S&L Netzwerktechnik GmbH evaluated the requirements and then suggested and developed an alternative plan that could build on the company’s existing investment and reduce their ongoing costs.

The solution consisted of DataCore SANmelody 3.0 software providing virtualization, performance to accelerate caching software and high-availability mirroring across the pool of storage arrays and SSDs, integration of existing HP EVA Storage Array, integration and additional disks to the HP MSA Storage Arrays, and the addition of high-speed FusionIO SSDs with NAND flash memory to boost performance and lower overall energy requirements.

The DataCore SANmelody 3.0 virtualization software runs on standard servers and enables cost-effective high availability through synchronous mirroring to occur between the heterogeneous mix of SAN hardware. The DataCore solution facilitated NIEDAX GROUP using its existing hardware in combination with the required expansion and new SSDs in order to obtain higher performance and to grow capacity. In a similar manner to what VMware had done for their servers, DataCore virtualized and made their storage hardware more efficient and cost-effective.

“We are happy with our DataCore investment and we are benefiting from the many functional and financial benefits of putting it in use,” stated Oliver Bauer, Team Leader Administration / IT at NIEDAX GROUP. “The SAN now enables flexibility in administration, ease of expansion and the ability to dynamically allocate storage where and when we need it. DataCore caching accelerates overall performance and delivers a much higher data throughput. The software approach ensures the ease of transfer and the ability to use SAN-wide features on different hardware arrays and devices. Thus it is a very cost-effective way to mirror data. For our demanding ERP application, the fact that we could run FusionIO Solid State Disks under the DataCore virtualization and management solution was critical. We gained tremendous performance from adding FusionIO SSDs and overall we reduce energy and cooling costs.”

In terms of background, the demanding databases that support ERP systems, especially in manufacturing applications such as at the NIEDAX GROUP, often do not consume very large amounts of storage. Instead, however, they do require extremely high performance. With the Fusion IO NAND SSD flash memory technology in place, the NIEDAX GROUP was able to achieve 100,000 IOPS (Input/Output Operations per Second) and rates of 600 MB/s with only 15 Watt power consumption, when running in production. By comparison, if they had used conventional Fibre Channel storage disks alone to achieve these levels of performance, they would have consumed somewhere around 4,000 Watts.

"With the implementation of DataCore‘s virtualization storage software we were able to meet all of the customers technical requirements,” said Alwin Kohl, consultant at S&L Netzwerktechnik GmbH. “In addition, with the combination of DataCore’s virtualization software and FusionIO‘s SSD NAND flash memory we were able to protect NIEDAX’s current investments in their SAN and extend it – making it green and significantly reducing long-term costs for our customer.”

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Saginaw Intermediate School District Deploys a Flexible, Virtualized Cloud Infrastructure Using DataCore and VMware

DataCore Software announced that Saginaw Intermediate School District (ISD) has replaced a legacy SAN and embraced virtualization in its centralized data center built on DataCore, VMware and Xiotech. Moreover, Saginaw ISD’s VMware- DataCore-based cloud for servers and storage serves as both a centralized data center and a hosting service for the majority of school districts in the county.
Download the Case Study on Saginaw VMware and DataCore Cloud Computing

The implementation at Saginaw ISD is one that incorporates DataCore for storage virtualization, VMware for server virtualization, and Xiotech as the hardware platform providing the actual storage. DataCore’s SANmelody storage virtualization software powers two SANs that comprise DataCore software and Xiotech servers at two separate data centers, five miles apart, which are configured to mirror to each other. The data pool consists of 10 TBs on each end of the remote configuration.

"Our goal was to virtualize everything and have that supported by storage," states Jeff Johnson, Director of Technical Services, Saginaw Intermediate School District.

Saginaw ISD has deployed seven VMware ESX boxes in the VMware farm - all running on HP servers. These hosts service 35-40 VMs, which span everything from a utility machine running Windows XP - to five SQL servers. For replication purposes, the mirrored site has three ESX boxes that also make up the VMware cloud between the two sites. DataCore is at the heart of the virtualized infrastructure, powering the VMware cloud in Saginaw ISD’s virtual, private data center.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Total Wine Taps DataCore Software to Virtualise Storage. Challenge: Leveraging an Existing EMC SAN & Microsoft Hyper-V
Challenge: Leveraging an Existing EMC SAN & Microsoft Hyper-V:
Total Wine has seen enormous success in virtualizing the EMC storage area network (SAN) that was already deployed in its data center with DataCore storage virtualisation software. The impetus for bringing DataCore in to virtualise and manage the SAN was straightforward the SAN was running out of capacity and performance. "It got to the point where performance became an issue; we were out of disk space and could not add more disk array enclosures, unless we bought a new SAN," notes Todd Slan, director of technology, Total Wine. "So, the idea of a storage virtualisation solution like DataCore that enabled us to enhance our existing SAN solution and, at the same time, accelerate performance was the path we started down."

Total Wine evaluated adding to the EMC SAN or going with other storage hardware solutions such as LeftHand Networks, EqualLogic, as well as NetApp. However, in his role as Chairman of the Mid-Atlantic CIO Council for Microsoft, which serves as the executive advisory board, where he sits on the International Board, Slan was swayed to DataCore by another council member, who was a DataCore customer as well as partner. "DataCore and Microsoft partner The Asbury Group Integrated Technologies brought me into their data center and showed me how they solved an 80 terabyte problem with storage virtualization software from DataCore," adds Slan. "That, and the idea of not having to rip and replace our existing investment in storage devices, was enough to sell us on DataCore as the right solution for us as well."

According to David Herr, chief technology and security officer, The Asbury Group Integrated Technologies, "Virtual servers and desktops depend heavily on shared disks. Without them, system administrators cannot migrate virtual machines, fail-over workloads or start up sessions on a completely different desktop. That is where DataCore comes in."

Meeting Business Objectives Accommodating Growth and Meeting Performance Expectations:

The data pool that is now managed by DataCore totals 10 TBs. In terms of the user community, the 10 TBs are divided between 230 users at Total Wines Corporate Headquarters as well as employees working at the retail stores. For the corporate users, DataCore is providing the range of data, databases and servers you would expect to be relied on heavily in an office environment flat files, databases, Exchange, etc. For those working in the stores, the core line-of-business application that runs Total Wines entire business operations "back-ends" to a SQL database that sits on the DataCore SAN.

"For our stores we had two issues," explains Slan. "One was a growth issue. We took a database application that was serving 200 users in the corporate office and extended that to the field bringing an additional 1,500 users under that umbrella. A conventional SAN, not using virtualization, has pretty serious physical size limits and when you hit them, you hit them hard. DataCore solved this problem and we did not have to buy more hardware, re-provision disks or resize LUNs. Apart from the growth issue was the performance one. The performance issues associated with having 1,000 users hit a database as opposed to 200 are significantly different. We had to have a solution that enabled us to crank up the performance of those databases. DataCore virtualisation has delivered for us on the performance front as well."

Total Wine needed a way to grow, simultaneously, in terms of the size of the user community it supported, and in terms of performance. According to Slan, DataCore has given his team the best way to do this as well as the most cost-effective one. "With DataCore we are not wasting space as we had done in conventional SAN models," he explains. "That is what we had relied on before and we were essentially wasting fifty percent of our disk space."

One of the things Slan and his team really love about the storage virtualisation solution from DataCore is that it empowers them with flexibility. Today Total Wine has a mix of storage under management fiber channel, direct-attached and iSCSI. "DataCore does not tie us into any one storage model," Slan notes. "I don't need to buy fiber channel storage for everything, and DataCore accommodates that. I can buy lower cost storage. I can hang direct-attached SAS units off the back of the DataCore SAN and I do not have to pay the fiber channel costs because I dont need it."

The Total Virtualisation Environment Virtual Storage for Hyper-V
Total Wine has a significant investment in Microsoft Hyper-V for virtual servers and has deployed Hyper-V exclusively as its virtual server of choice. Total Wines data center in Maryland is approximately 50% virtualised. Currently, eight major systems or one-third of the virtual machines (VMs) in the virtualised infrastructure are now running on DataCore to virtualise and accelerate their storage. This will grow substantially in the next phase of the virtualisation deployment.

Initially, Total Wine deployed DataCore simply to achieve the inherent benefits of virtualisation for its EMC SAN, including better performance via DataCores mega caching functionality and increased capacity through its infrastructure-wide thin-provisioning technology. Slan and his team at Total Wine are now deploying a second DataCore license, to ensure high-availability and improve uptime. This summer, Total Wines DataCore virtualised-powered storage infrastructure will be fully redundant, whereby two mirrored SANs will safeguard the data guaranteeing uptime and fault-tolerance. This will also lay the groundwork for full disaster recovery (if needed), whereby at a later stage a third DataCore SAN can be added in a remote location and connected via remote or asynchronous replication.

Slan emphasizes that, in the retail world, sales margins are thin and resource utilization is crucial. "If we are under-utilizing our resources, then, in a sense, it is wasted money. In terms of resource utilization, we can get over 80% utilization of our storage investment with DataCore. Make no mistake about it the attraction to DataCore for us was that it is not a hardware device-based SAN solution. The software-based approach of DataCore was absolutely key for us. Hardware is hardware. The bottom-line for us is that DataCore allows us to do a lot of the things we already knew were possible in the virtualisation world, but with storage."

To access the Total Wine & More Case Study on implementing DataCore, EMC and Hyper-V, please go to:  .

About Total Wine & More
Total Wine & More is the largest independent fine wine retailer in the country and is the only major fine wine company to operate in multiple states. As the preeminent fine wine store in each of its markets, Total Wine & More is the independent retailer of fine wine in the United States. For more, visit .