Customers Realize Software, Not Hardware, Key to Increasing Performance, Reducing Cost and Simplifying Management
DataCore has experienced significant customer adoption of its ninth-generation SANsymphony-V platform in 2013. As the company surpassed 10,000 customer sites globally, new trends have materialized around the need for businesses to rethink their storage infrastructures with software architecture becoming the real blueprint for the next wave of data centers.
“The remarkable increase in infrastructure-wide deployments that DataCore experienced throughout 2013 reflects an irreversible market shift from tactical, device-centric acquisitions to strategic software-defined storage decisions. Its significance is clear when even EMC concedes the rapid commoditization of hardware is underway. Their ViPR announcement acknowledges the ‘sea change’ in customer attitudes and the fact that the traditional storage model is broken,” said George Teixeira, president and CEO at DataCore. “We are clearly in the age of software defined data centers, where virtualization, automation and across-the-board efficiencies must be driven through software. Businesses can no longer afford yearly ‘rip-and-replace’ cycles, and require a cost-effective approach to managing storage growth that allows them to innovate while getting the most out of existing investments.”
In addition to the mass customer adoption. DataCore’s software was recently selected as a software-defined storage vendor in Gartner’s “IT Market Clock for Storage, 2013,” published September 6, 2013. The report, by analysts Valdis Filks, Dave Russell, Arun Chandrasekan et al., identifies software-defined storage vendors in the Advantage Phase, and recognizes two main benefits of software-defined storage:
“First, in the storage domain, the notion of optimizing, perhaps often lowering, storage expenses via the broad deployment of commodity components under the direction of robust, policy-managed software has great potential value. Second, in the data center as a whole, enabling multitenant data and workload mobility among servers, data centers and cloud providers without disrupting application and data services would be transformational.”
Three major themes in 2013 shaped the software-defined storage market and defined the use cases of DataCore’s new customers:
Adoption and Appropriate Use of Flash Storage in the Data Center
As more companies rely on flash to achieve greater performance, a unique challenge is arising when it comes to redesigning storage architectures. While the rule of thumb is five percent of workloads require top tier performance, flash vendors are doing their best to convince customers to go all flash despite the low ROI. Instead, businesses have turned to auto-tiering software to make sure applications are sharing flash and spinning disk, based on the need to optimize performance and investment. Going beyond other implementations, DataCore has redefined automation and mobility of data storage with a new policy-managed paradigm that makes auto-tiering a true ‘enterprise wide’ capability that works across multiple vendor offerings and the many levels and varied mix of flash devices and spinning disks.
Host.net is a multinational provider of managed infrastructure services focusing on cloud computing and storage, colocation, connectivity and business continuity for enterprise organizations.
“Flash gives us the greatest levels of performance for our mission critical applications,” said Jeffrey Slapp, CTO of Host.net. “While integral, flash is only a small piece of our storage architecture. In order to help ensure our applications are using the right type of storage for peak performance, we use DataCore's SANsymphony-V platform. The software's intelligence makes sure the more demanding applications use flash and less demanding applications use hard disk. We’ve been able to reduce operational expenses by 35% because of the software’s intelligence capabilities, which allows us to tackle other key business initiatives by leveraging the time we never had previously.”
Virtualizing Storage while Accelerating Performance for Tier-One Applications
Demanding business applications like databases, ERP and mail systems create bottlenecks in any storage architecture due to their rapid activity and intensive I/O and transactional requirements. To offset this, many companies buy high-end storage systems while leaving terabytes of storage unused. Now, though, businesses are able to combine all of their available storage and virtualize it, independent of vendor – creating a single storage pool. Beyond virtualization and pooling, DataCore customers report faster application response times and significant performance increases – accelerating I/O speeds up to five times.
Pee Dee Electric Cooperative is a non-profit, electric cooperative located in Darlington, South Carolina that supplies electricity and other services to more than 30,000 consumers.
“Tier-one applications demand high performance and in the past this translated directly into expensive and overprovisioned storage,” said Robbie Howle, IT Manager at Pee Dee Electric Cooperative. “To help allocate the necessary storage that meets the performance demands of the application, without buying new storage, we leverage the SANsymphony-V platform as it accelerates and virtualizes all of the available storage within the organization. In fact, DataCore’s software-based approach to storage virtualization has drastically reduced costs by enabling us to virtualize storage devices we already had – eliminating the need to pay upwards of $500,000 for a traditional, hardware-based SAN. Moreover, the benefits of the DataCore virtualized storage infrastructure continue to manifest themselves perpetually and we have been able to get twice as much storage, better performance and achieve high availability in going with DataCore.”
Software Management of Incompatible Storage Devices and Models
Many data centers feature a wide variety of storage arrays, devices and product models from a number of different vendors – including EMC, NetApp, IBM, Dell and HP – none of which are directly compatible. Interestingly, DataCore customers report that the issue of incompatibility generally surfaces more when dealing with different hardware models from the same vendor than between different vendors, and thus have turned to management tools that treat all hardware the same.
Maimonides Medical Center, based in Brooklyn, N.Y., is the third-largest independent teaching hospital in the U.S. The hospital has more than 800 physicians relying on its information systems to care for patients around-the-clock.
“Over the past 12 years, our data center has featured eight different storage arrays and various other storage devices from three different vendors,” said Gabriel Sandu, chief technology officer at Maimonides Medical Center. “By using DataCore’s SANsymphony software and currently with its latest iteration of SANsymphony-V R9, we have been able to seamlessly go from one storage array to the next with no downtime to our users. We are able to manage our SAN infrastructure without having to worry or be committed to any particular storage vendor. DataCore’s technology has also allowed us to use midrange storage arrays to get great performance – thereby not needing to go with the more expensive enterprise-class arrays from our preferred manufacturers. DataCore’s thin provisioning has also allowed us to save on storage costs as it allows us to be very efficient with our storage allocation and makes sure no storage goes unused.”