DataCore is storage software company which has remained steadfastly focused on storage virtualisation since its inception in 1998. The main proposition is that different vendors’ storage arrays can be virtualised and managed behind commodity servers, (these days x64 servers). A couple of key reasons why customers consider this approach are the desire for a uniform management suite and acquiring features and functions that are more open than a proprietary array vendor’s solution. The array market has got plenty of competition in it, but once a customer selects a particular vendor’s storage platform it can be argued that there is an element of customer lock-in.
DataCore’s SANsymphony has by virtue been a storage hypervisor from the outset and by name some 12 months when the marketing term was fully adopted. With a mature software core, SANsymphony has evolved into embracing the key features of the array vendors and SANsymphony has also been qualified to embrace a wide variety of those very arrays. The use cases quoted range from customers acquiring commodity arrays to the more sophisticated high QOS array types. At the commodity end DataCore has the potential to add features that would otherwise be costly, while at the other, customers can apply the data management techniques which they are familiar with across their entire storage estate. Another justification for a multivendor solution lies in storage specialists’ on-going challenge of data migration. The ability to efficiently migrate data non-disruptively is not trivial.
It is interestingly the emergence and maturity of server hypervisors that is making storage hypervision more apt. We anticipate that more tools will emerge that bridge and orchestrate workloads across servers and storage. DataCore is supporting VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V and Citrix Xenserver, and we speculate that the integration into server hypervisors will be strengthened. SANsymphony is as mentioned the core proposition of DataCore and its customer prospects choose the appropriate licensing scope in terms of nodes & capacity.
IT professionals should first of all evaluate how a unified approach to storage management can benefit them. The ability to extend different storage tiers behind a storage hypervisor has the potential to simplify storage provision & data protection, but also the performance of the entire storage pool. A larger storage tier exploiting commodity storage may also be attractive.
IT industry decision makers ought to explore how the storage hypervisor proposition is adapting itself to a world of high server virtualisation penetration. Workloads will be deployed and orchestrated differently in the years ahead and customers may well adopt some important lessons from service providers’ experiences with cost effective multi-tenancy implementations.