Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Harvest The Benefits Of Storage Virtualization; IT departments that don't are wasting money

IT departments that do not enthusiastically embrace storage virtualization are essentially wasting money.

By Mark Peters, ESG Senior Storage Analyst

At a recent industry conference, a senior manager from a very sizeable IT organization took me to one side to ask -- quietly! -- whether I thought thin provisioning "is okay? It safe to try?" Really? Maybe you're surprised -- but I can tell you that every time we research such tools at ESG we are amazed at how far the adoption (perhaps I should say "active use") is behind what operational and financial logic would seem to dictate.
Read the full article at:
URL: http://www.informationweek.com/harvest-the-benefits-of-storage-virtuali/240151123

 Harvesting The Benefits of Storage Virtualization

Storage virtualization offers benefits to the storage infrastructure that are similar to those that server virtualization delivers on the compute side. In other words, storage virtualization is breaking the mold so that the true value of data services is no longer limited by hardware characteristics. Instead of dedicated pools of storage capacity that cannot be shared, a virtualized storage pool can enable:

-- Reclamation of stranded storage capacity: This makes unused capacity available to any servers, users or applications accessing the (now) general pool. In addition, when storage is no longer needed, it becomes part of the pool again and can be used elsewhere.

-- Consolidated storage management: Applying to all storage resources, this can eliminate multiple tools and processes for different types of storage arrays and media. Consolidating storage management under one umbrella makes the environment easier to manage and provides less opportunity for both human and administrative errors.

-- Advanced storage management features: These can extend the useful life of storage devices, as well as maximize the return on investment and potentially prevent, or at least delay, additional storage purchases. For example, in a virtualized storage environment, functions such as snapshots, remote replication and thin provisioning, which may come bundled with a storage system, can be shared across arrays that don't have those features.

-- More energy-efficient operations: This can be achieved by using storage virtualization to improve disk utilization, which in turn reduces the number of physical machines while simultaneously reducing data center floor space, power and cooling requirements.

-- Non-disruptive data migration: While data migration is a core concept in executing a pragmatic and sensible tiered storage strategy, it has also long been seen as one of the most common and disruptive storage tasks. In traditional storage environments, it's not at all uncommon for users to decide that the pain is enough to prevent them from enjoying the gain! But with storage virtualization, data can be moved non-disruptively (and often even automatically) between storage tiers, further optimizing hardware infrastructure costs.

-- Reduced capital expense and total cost of ownership for storage: This is all-but guaranteed with the implementation of storage virtualization. A virtualized storage environment replaces the fragmented, dedicated DAS, SAN and NAS topologies (which -- in traditional storage worlds -- invariably operate with separate storage resources and often a unique set of management tools) with a centralized and more flexible storage pool.

Virtualized storage is essentially accomplished in the same way as the virtualization of servers: The physical controller hardware and disk resources are logically separated from the data services. With virtualized storage, a pool of flexible, consolidated resources with a common management interface is built using capacity from multiple arrays that can have different specifications and software features, and may even have come from different vendors. Because storage is not dedicated to any specific server or application, it creates a much more flexible and responsive environment while also permitting increased utilization rates.

In addition, while users may be able (using VMware vMotion or some such tool) to move a running application between servers, traditional, fixed storage won't automatically go along with the change, thus rendering it all-but pointless. Virtualizing the computing element without virtualizing the storage as well precludes the complete agility and true utility-like resource provisioning that most IT shops are looking for; if the storage cannot match what the servers can do, then the anticipated service levels cannot be met.

The economic and operational value of virtualizing storage is clear. For decades, most organizations have had a fairly cavalier attitude towards storage. It's not that IT wasn't aware of its rising costs -- it's more that it didn't see any other ways to address the problems with which it was faced. But virtualization has changed all that, demonstrating a way to operate with greater efficiency. Users that do not enthusiastically embrace it are essentially wasting money, while at the same time missing out on operational improvements that can only be gained in fully virtualized environments.
It's worth a few minutes to check that you're maximizing your potential storage virtualization benefits and not falling into the adoption gap.

Friday, 8 March 2013

New Zealand Reseller News: DataCore takes ‘spotlight’ approach to recruiting partners

Storage virtualisation vendor hopes to develop business in complex enterprise datacentres


Storage virtualisation specialist DataCore sees increasing complexity in data storage architecture as a primary business driver as it looks to selectively expand its partner footprint in New Zealand.

The company, whose SANSymphony software product provides a services layer that is “agnostic to the hypervisor and backend” hardware, says the need for managing complex data is leading to major growth globally.

DataCore has been doing business in New Zealand for eight years, working through distributor Westcon, but is on a quiet campaign to do business with more than its current resller partner, Datacom.

“First and most importantly we are looking for partners that underestand what’s going on in the market, especially with software defined datacentres,” says DataCore COO Steve Houck. “They have to have a storage virtualsiation practice and that’s important becuase not everyone has gotten that that is going to be fundamental change in being a solution provider.”

DataCore’s business in New Zealand has largely been within government, health and education sector datacentres. But the company says it expects growth in complex storage networks — including servers with SSD and flash technologies — to spread to the private sector.

The company last year appointed Houck and Manish Sharma, general manager and vice president for Asia Pacific, to drive the growth of its channel. Houck previously ran worldwide channels for VMware, and SMB sales for EMC, and helped to build channels for VMware in the ANZ markets. Sharma also helped manage channels for VMware in ANZ.

Sharma says New Zealand has provided more growth for DataCore than other markets in the APAC region. Both say the SANsymphony-V technology scales from small implementations to very large, Fortune 500 implementations. The company provides resources for its partners from Australia.

The company will hold three customer events sessions in New Zealand during March, and is working with WestCon to identify potential new reseller partners.

“What we are looking for is whether they have the vendor alliances, technical proficiency, service capacity, and the credibility in the trusted advisor status in this category,” says Houck. “Are they virtualising Tier 1 applications? Are they implementing SSD and flash technologies? And do they have customers where they're scaling out hybrid cloud architectures?”

SANsymphony-V resides on Windows servers and will support Windows Server 2012. The company has partnerships with VMWare and Citrix at the development level. The technology ‘abstracts’ controller layers across hardware devices to provide a single management point.

Houck says the company is preparing additional support resources to accommodate a wider channel.
“The partner engagement is very deep,” says Houck. “From joint selling to technical enablement even to a partner advisory council being implenented this year, and to feedback to our product development.”