Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Spalding University Reduces the Cost of Storage and Realizes True High Availability with DataCore Software’s SANsymphony-V Storage Hypervisor

Ezra Krumhansl, director of information technology at Spalding University, was looking to increase storage capacity in response to the university’s exponentially increasing amounts of data and to also address a critical flaw in their SAN (storage area network): lack of redundancy/single point of failure. The university was growing quickly and its infrastructure needed to be updated to support this growth.

“We needed to perform significant upgrades to our storage environment and infrastructure so that it could support our growing school,” commented Krumhansl. “In addressing our needs, including introducing redundancy, we weighed many options from the likes of HP and Dell to potentially replace our legacy IBM SAN. DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor gave us the flexibility we required to perform a robust upgrade and accomplish all of our goals, without breaking the bank. Being an institution of higher education, we always need to do more with less, so that Spalding can keep tuitions costs affordable to the communities we serve.”

Preparing for the Exam
During the initial selection process, Spalding University considered solutions by HP’s LeftHand and Dell’s EqualLogic to potentially replace their existing IBM fiber channel SAN. A major point of concern was to avoid two things: vendor lock-in and having to perform a very costly rip-and-replace hardware upgrade in just a few years. Krumhansl determined that Spalding University’s IBM SAN did need to be upgraded from its four terabyte (TB) capacity. It was also a single point of failure and did not have any redundancy built in.

Krumhansl wanted failover capability – both for the purposes of disaster recovery/business continuity and for reasons concerning systems maintenance. Bottom-line: Spalding needed non-stop business operations and high-availability, both for the planned and for the unplanned.

Spalding weighed its options of upgrading to a newer IBM fiber channel SAN, or selecting either LeftHand or EqualLogic. The upfront costs with IBM hardware and SANsymphony-V proved lower, as were the long-term/lifetime costs of support, renewals, etc. The real differentiator for Spalding University was having a software solution that was device independent, making hardware merely a commodity.

Storage Hypervisor Makes the Grade
Spalding University ultimately decided to stay with IBM, purchasing IBM 3650 servers, each running DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor. Krumhansl was able to accomplish his goals of virtualizing Spalding’s infrastructure and increasing storage capacity and redundancy. Spalding relied on The Mirazon Group to put storage virtualization software from DataCore at the heart of its IT infrastructure. The Mirazon Group serves as a trusted IT advisor to Spalding University as well as to approximately 50 other DataCore Software customers.

Spalding’s storage infrastructure is now virtualized and supports 22 TBs of data. It is running 30 virtual machines on 15 physical servers. In addition to DataCore for storage, Krumhansl uses VMware for both server and desktop virtualization.

A co-location facility (called “Peak 10”), located just a mile and a half from the university hosts both the primary and secondary mirrored systems – thereby providing the high-availability required by Spalding. The university is connected to this co-location facility through fiber channel connectivity.

“The biggest benefit we have realized with the DataCore storage hypervisor is replication – meaning synchronous, real-time mirroring and the virtualization of the backend storage environment. The data protection features definitely hit home. We don’t worry about losing a hard drive or data because there is redundancy built in, in so far as our having two nodes and even having redundancy within them,” explained Krumhansl.

Krumhansl continues, “The device independence also enables us to install, mix and match any server combination we choose, allowing us to leverage, where needed, the best features that each brand has to offer. The bottom line is that we have the freedom and flexibility to make investments that best suit our needs, both at the time and into the future. Regardless of whether we need an expensive, high performance server for frequently used resources, a cheaper, lower performing one or if we just want to repurpose and extend the viability of existing hardware, we know the storage hypervisor can manage them all.”
 The full case study may be found here: http://www.datacore.com/Testimonials/Spalding-University.aspx

Thursday, 26 July 2012

DataCore Software Appoints Virtualization, Cloud and Storage Industry Veteran Steve Houck to Newly Created Chief Operating Officer Role

In the Wake of Launching SANsymphony-V 9.0, “The Storage Hypervisor for the Cloud,” DataCore Expands Management Team to Respond to New Market Opportunities and Growth

DataCore Software today announced the appointment of its first Chief Operating Officer (COO), Steve Houck. The new position was created to organize and drive DataCore’s rapid growth and market leadership in storage virtualization. Houck is a highly regarded veteran in virtualization, flash storage, cloud computing and data center technologies. His previous roles included vice president of worldwide channels for VMware, along with various global sales leadership posts at EMC Corporation. Houck has also held executive posts for global field sales and go-to-market strategy development at start-up ventures focused on cloud computing and flash storage, with the most recent executive role at Astute Networks, an innovative SSD technology company.

“DataCore’s industry leadership – combined with a top-notch management team and superb market conditions – presented a perfect scenario for all involved,” stated Steve Houck, COO, DataCore Software. “The momentum toward storage virtualization adoption is palpable and SANsymphony-V 9.0 is head-and-shoulders above any other solution. I look forward to ensuring DataCore builds upon its success and reputation for delivering ‘must have’ technology.”

DataCore Upscales Solutions & Management Team to Capture New Market Opportunities
The appointment comes in the wake of DataCore launching a new version of its leading-edge storage hypervisor, SANsymphony™-V 9.0, which targets larger scale data centers and cloud storage infrastructures. With the success of SANsymphony-V 9.0, as well as the launch of new Cloud Service Provider (CSP) and System Builder programs, DataCore is scaling up to take advantage of new business opportunities and expand routes-to-market in order to keep pace with growing demand for its technology worldwide.

DataCore’s new SANsymphony-V 9.0 – “The Storage Hypervisor for the Cloud” – squarely meets a market need for IT directors and systems administrators seeking to manage enterprise-wide storage and quickly roll out agile, scalable virtualized storage infrastructures. The new capabilities are driven by:
  • Organizations planning private cloud deployments.
  • Large data centers seeking responsive, cloud-like services.
  • CSPs developing public, private and hybrid cloud offerings.
A guided tour video of SANsymphony-V and additional “at-a-glance” information is available here: http://www.datacore.com/Software/Products/SANsymphony-V.aspx

The Next Level: New Targets and New Routes to Market
“Our pursuit of available market opportunities and the success of SANsymphony-V made it important for DataCore to add an executive of Steve’s caliber to build on our momentum,” said George Teixeira, president and CEO, DataCore Software. “Steve is a proven leader and his market experience, initiative and ability to build and grow successful business partnerships will enable us to seize new market opportunities and scale our company to the next level.”

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Fusion-io Speed and DataCore Software Agility: Evolution Beats Extinction - Big Data Opens New Niches with Fast Flash Memory

Below is the recent Blog post written by DataCore's CEO George Teixeira which was recently featured on the Fusion-io main Blog site.

65 million years ago, a six-mile-wide asteroid ended the reign of the dinosaurs, reopening ecological niches that were promptly filled by members of the class Mammalia, one of which, a long time later, went on to invent things like writing, the wheel, and information technology.

Big Data—ultra large scale data storage and analysis—is the storage market’s equivalent of that big rock, but rather than causing mass extinction, it’s simply opening up a lot of new ecological niches for storage technologies, especially advanced solutions like Fusion ioMemory modules and the new release of DataCore's SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor. The advent of Big Data also offers a unique opportunity to re-architect your storage management infrastructure in a way that can prolong the life of storage “dinosaurs” and make it more adaptable in every respect and more easily aligned to business needs.

As profiled in the New York Times, Big Data is transforming business, government, and education. One researcher reported that a study of 179 large companies showed that those adopting the data-driven decision-making that Big Data makes possible “achieved productivity gains that were 5 percent to 6 percent higher than other factors could explain.”

Big Data is more than just big. It’s restless, too, and best used when hot. Let it cool off, and you lose the situational awareness that can lead to big-time financial rewards. It’s not just a matter of storing a gazillion bytes—you can’t possibly store it all, so your retention policies have to change, and the need to widely share data as quickly as possible means your networking strategies have to change as well.

Fortunately, a storage hypervisor can be a big help in adapting to Big Data. Even better, the benefits of this software layer, which insulates you from all the hardware variables that Big Data can throw your way, kick in long before Big Data arrives. A scalable and comprehensive storage hypervisor like DataCore’s SANsymphony-V is an agent of change: you get the pay-off today and a future-proof storage infrastructure. It also, as we’ll see, can give you an even better return on your Fusion-io ioMemory module investments.

SANsymphony-V provides a complete "storage management stack" and gives you a centralized console that enables you to efficiently pool all your storage resources, mirror and replicate data for high availability, cache data near applications for higher performance, automatically allocate space, and direct traffic to the optimal tier.

Resource pooling has the most immediate impact, because you can aggregate all of your storage capacity, without regard for brand, model, or interface, and easily reclaim unused space. These pooled resources can be easily mirrored locally for high availability, or replicated remotely for disaster recovery. Thin provisioning gives you just-in-time storage allocation for highly efficient use of disk space, and RAM caching speeds up “spindle-based” storage dramatically to turbocharge native disk array performance. The fact that all of these advantages are available to every storage resource managed by SANsymphony-V means that older storage that formerly might have been shuffled off to the dinosaur’s graveyard remains useful longer, leading to a higher ROI for all your storage investments.

Fusion-io Fast Flash Memory and DataCore Auto-tiering Software
When it comes to Big Data, however, it’s probably auto-tiering that’s likely to be of most interest to customers who rely on Fusion-io technology. SANsymphony’s auto-tiering can dynamically direct workloads to the right storage resource based either on access frequency or business rules, so that the hottest data gets the most attention. Older storage can be moved down-tier as new hardware is installed, again prolonging its service life. SANsymphony-V also offers a “cloud gateway” to leverage cloud service providers for both disaster recovery and archival of virtually unlimited capacity—a necessity to keep from getting squashed by Big Data.

This enables SANsymphony-V to put Fusion-io’s server class memory tier at the very top of an agile, easily-managed storage hierarchy that offers unprecedented levels of performance and availability. You can easily balance data value and the need for speed against price/capacity constraints—something that Big Data is going to make ever more necessary—and make sure that you get the utmost benefit from ioMemory modules.

The fallout from Big Data is going to transform business computing at every level, so if you don’t want to end up a data dinosaur, now’s the time to transform your infrastructure with a storage hypervisor. A good place to start is Jon Toigo’s Storage Virtualization for Rock Stars series, starting with Hitting the Perfect Chord in Storage Efficiency, which will give you a good overview of how a storage hypervisor can help you increase engineering, operational, and financial efficiency.

Friday, 20 July 2012

DataCore Software Storage Hypervisor Empowers Enterprises to Fully Realize the Benefits of Microsoft SQL Server 2012; Boosts Performance and Resiliency

SANsymphony-V Optimizes Resources, Accelerates Performance and Adds Business Continuity to Fulfill Storage Needs of Enterprises Deploying Microsoft SQL Server 

Computer Technology review: http://www.wwpi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=14863:datacore-sansymphony-v-enables-enterprises-to-realize-benefits-of-microsoft-sql-server-2012&catid=320:breaking-news&Itemid=2701739

DataCore Software today announced that Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is verified “DataCore Ready” and integrates easily with SANsymphony-V. DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor helps boost performance of underlying and often diverse storage resources and enhances the business continuity and data protection of databases. As a result, it provides an agile storage infrastructure that is perfectly suited for resource intensive database applications supported by Microsoft SQL Server 2012. 

Databases are one of the most demanding applications in terms of their need for performance and high-availability due to the enormous volumes of data and transactions they typically store and use. DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor includes critical features which make it an ideal storage platform to leverage the benefits of Microsoft SQL Server 2012, including:

  • Powerful centralized storage management under a single pane of control with an intuitive graphical user interface and automated wizards that implement best practices 
  • Automated storage tiering to maximize price/performance of available storage assets 
  • Adaptive caching for performance acceleration 
  • Thin provisioning for space efficiency 
  • Synchronous mirroring for high-availability 
  • Low-impact online snapshots for high-speed disk to disk backup 
  • Pass through disks for non-disruptive migrations 
  • Continuous data protection (CDP) for any point in time backup and recovery 
  • Unified storage for managing file shares (NAS) and SANs
Microsoft SQL Server 2012 helps address the challenges of increasing data volumes by rapidly turning data into actionable business insights. It expands on Microsoft’s commitment to help customers manage any data, regardless of size, both on-premise and in the cloud. Customers choosing SQL Server 2012 enjoy the benefit of a rich hardware and software partner ecosystem that enables solutions for the most unique and demanding data management needs.

An Ideal Platform for SQL Server 2012
DataCore’s SANsymphony-V abstracts and presents disk storage from different devices to applications as a shared pool of resources. With an ability to process multiple database requests in tandem, the system can absorb random I/O spikes. Built-in adaptive caching fully leverages available memory to boost I/O performance of both read and write traffic. Database administrators (DBAs) have the option of using flash memory/SSDs, high-speed arrays, capacity disks or even cloud storage, all of which can be managed and auto-tiered efficiently by the storage hypervisor. Automated tiering also ensures highly active data files don’t compete with inactive blocks of data for I/O cycles. Additionally, transaction logs and other active data can remain on Tier 1, while backups and other inactive read-only data move to lower tiers.

DataCore also empowers high performance flash and SSD-based storage systems from alliance partners Fusion-IO, Texas Memory Systems, Violin, Savage IO, X-IO Technologies and other SSD vendors to deliver the very best price/performance to meet the needs of demanding SQL application workloads.

For SQL database protection, DBAs can schedule ongoing space-efficient snapshots with application-aware recovery points, or utilize DataCore’s CDP feature to capture and log all changes and allow recovery back to any point in time versus to a specific snapshot image. 

Key Benefits for Database Applications
DataCore’s intelligent storage hypervisor software enables enterprises to radically improve the efficiency, performance and availability of their storage infrastructure through virtualization, transforming disparate storage resources into a unified and efficient infrastructure that is flexible, fast, reliable and scalable.

Key benefits include the ability to:

  • Optimize performance and create a high-performance pool of virtualized storage for SQL databases, eliminating most storage-related I/O bottlenecks for business-critical applications. 
  • Provision virtually any size volumes for SQL applications upfront, and increase utilization and I/O capacity on the fly. 
  • Balance cost and performance by storing transaction logs and active data files on higher performance storage devices, while moving backups and inactive data files to lower cost higher capacity drives or cloud storage. 
  • Continuously protect databases against downtime and disaster with stretch high-availability design to maximize business continuity. 
  • Scale storage for throughput, transactions and capacity that meet the needs of applications. 
  • Automate and simplify storage management that has been integrated and tested “DataCore Ready” with SQL Server.
DataCore and Microsoft
DataCore has been developing innovative storage virtualization solutions designed specifically to work on Microsoft platforms for nearly 15 years. It is a longtime and active member of both the Microsoft Partner Solutions Center and theMicrosoft System Center Alliance.

“DataCore remains committed to creating solutions designed to enhance the capabilities of Microsoft platforms and can virtualize and manage enterprise-class storage environments with ease and efficiency,” said Carlos Carreras, vice president of alliances and business development for DataCore Software. “SANsymphony-V’s rich capabilities, such as auto-tiering and thin provisioning, efficiently handle extensive demands placed on storage environments by intensive database applications. Together with SQL Server 2012, DataCore is enabling enterprises to have the robust storage infrastructure critical to attaining maximum returns on their virtualization, cloud and database investments.”

DataCore has worked with Microsoft technologies since it was founded in 1998. The company has deployed over 20,000 systems around the world leveraging the technology, many with highly intensive database applications. DataCore users are also already experiencing some of the benefits of Microsoft SQL Server platforms because Express Local Edition is integrated into SANsymphony-V to store historical performance data

DataCore customers represent a broad spectrum of IT organizations, spanning all major vertical industries, and ranging from large enterprises to small and midsize business. Their physical environments consists of systems from all the major storage manufacturers, including Dell, EMC, Fujitsu-Siemens, Hitachi, HP, IBM, NetApp, and many others.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

DataCore Software Named Top Finalists for the 2012 Microsoft Private Cloud Partner of the Year Award

DataCore Software Corporation announced it has been selected as a finalist for the Microsoft Private Cloud Partner of the Year Award. 

“We are proud to recognize our 2012 Partner Award finalists for their outstanding commitments to solving customer challenges”

“DataCore is proud and honored to be recognized by Microsoft,” said George Teixeira, president and CEO of DataCore. “For more than a decade, DataCore has developed innovative storage virtualization solutions designed specifically to work on Microsoft platforms. Our newest product, SANsymphony-V 9.0, is a 'storage hypervisor for the cloud' that seamlessly integrates with Microsoft’s virtualization infrastructure products, including Windows Server, Hyper-V, and System Center. Working collaboratively with Microsoft has enabled us to provide the best storage virtualization solution available to our partners and customers alike.”

Awards were presented in multiple categories, with winners chosen from a set of nearly 3,000 entrants worldwide. The Private Cloud Partner of the Year Award recognizes the partner that excelled in offering innovative private cloud solutions for their customers based on Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V, Microsoft System Center, and related products.

“We are proud to recognize our 2012 Partner Award finalists for their outstanding commitments to solving customer challenges,” said Jon Roskill, corporate vice president, Worldwide Partner Group, Microsoft Corp. “Our partners are critical to our success as a company, and it is their creativity and innovative thinking in solving the unique needs of our customers that serves as the foundation for mutual, long-term success. We congratulate this year’s finalists on their achievements and look forward to following their continued success in the future.”

DataCore’s storage hypervisor innovations enable enterprises of all sizes to quickly roll out agile, scalable cloud storage infrastructures customized to their specific needs. DataCore’s SANsymphony-V 9.0 storage hypervisor excels at pooling distributed storage assets regardless of vendor make or model, whether co-located or many miles away. In large scale scenarios, SANsymphony-V 9.0 uses N+1 redundant grids to ensure necessary and flexible performance expansion and to make cloud storage continuously available.

The Microsoft Partner Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

DataCore Software Rolls Out SANsymphony-V 9.0 Storage Hypervisor for the Cloud


The latest version of SANsymphony provides a number of new capabilities to help organizations that are planning private cloud deployments. The solution is also suitable for large data centers that are seeking cloud-like services, and cloud service providers (CSPs) may also benefit in developing public, private and hybrid cloud offerings.
The company has also introduced a new program designed for CSPs, who wish to create cloud storage infrastructure using the SANsymphony solution. The latest version of SANsymphony enables CSPs to call IaaS functions in order to satisfy each of their clients' individual storage needs. DataCore's storage hypervisor offers a wide range of capabilities that may be centrally managed to work throughout an infrastructure.
Storage devices may be profiled and organized into different tiers and optimized dynamically to maximize the use of more expensive or higher performance assets. Virtual disks are also set up and taken down on cue, reclaiming space when the process is finished. The solution offers complete control and visibility of infrastructure via IaaS modules that may be integrated with server hypervisors from VMware and Microsoft, as well as a number of systems and management products like Microsoft Systems Center Operations Manager and VMware vCenter.
SANsymphony-V 9.0 may also be scaled up and out, automatically adapting quickly to new requirements without any disruption. Key storage elements beyond disk space are enabled, including the horsepower to multiply IOPS, throughput and caches. And the solution's central management console also scales according to needs to support operations on large groups of related objects while also enabling experts to troubleshoot and fine-tune on a granular basis.
Additional capabilities include pooling of distributed storage assets, agnostic to vendor make or model or whether they are co-located or situated far away. This design harnesses the value of purpose-built storage devices and also eliminates management confusion and complexity. Other features include automatic storage tiering and automatic load balancing, which leads to optimal use of disk space and maximum I/O performance.
"DataCore's latest storage hypervisor innovations, together with both its pricing and rental models, are extremely well tailored for building out cloud storage infrastructures, whether a user is starting out with a modest trial or is well on their way to a full-blown, large scale rollout," said Mark Peters, senior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group (News - Alert). "It has succeeded in abstracting the storage-related aspects of the Infrastructure-as-a-Service layer so that cloud-storage is easy to drop into place, and can be flexed or expanded at will. It makes perfect sense -- even for contemporary data centers that don't yet have cloud on the brain."
"IaaS modules supported by SANsymphony-V 9.0 orchestrate the dynamic coordination between the catalog choices subscribers see and the storage devices enlisted to meet their needs," said George Teixeira, president and CEO, DataCore Software. "It's what makes cloud storage work unattended."
"We're fast approaching 1,000 days of 100 percent uptime thanks largely to the DataCore platform -- and we continue to check off days on the calendar without a hitch," added Jeff Slapp, chief technology officer at Host.net (News - Alert). "All this while we expand, upgrade, change out storage devices and even reconfigure networks in the background. It offers flexibility and interchangeability at its best."