DataCore, a leader in software-defined storage, today announced that the company 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 nominated 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 centre as a whole, enabling multi-tenant 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 Centre
As more companies rely on flash to achieve greater performance, a unique challenge is arising when it comes to re-designing 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.
The IT Manager of the world’s largest construction project, Tim Olssen, of the Femern Tunnel connecting Scandinavia to Germany, is one such intelligent flash advocate:
“What we have achieved here with DataCore storage virtualization software sets us on the road to affordable, flexible growth with synchronous mirroring to eliminate storage related downtime. Add the blistering speed of Fusion-io acceleration and we have created a super performing, auto tiered storage network, that does as the tunnel itself will do; connects others reliably, super fast and without stoppages”, Tim Olsson, IT Manager Femern A/S Denmark.
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 storage pooling, DataCore customers report faster application response times and significant performance increases – accelerating I/O speeds up to five times.
One such company is Quorn Foods, part of the Marlow Foods giant, who experience significant performance increases bringing peak data mining times down from 20 minutes to 20 seconds using DataCore’s SANsymphony-V platform.
Fred Holmes is the head of IT, Quorn Foods summarizes, “Like all things in IT, dramatic improvements to the infrastructure remain invisible to the user who only notices when things go wrong. But in this instance, no one could fail to notice the dramatic leaps in performance that was now afforded. This is in no small part down to the way that DataCore’s SANsymphony-V leverages disk resources, assigning I/O tasks to very fast server RAM and CPU to accelerate throughput and to speed up response when reading and writing to disk.”
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.
Take the US’s third largest independent teaching hospital, the Maimonides Medical Centre in New York, with more than 800 doctors relying on its information systems to care for patients around-the-clock.
“Over the past 12 years, our data centre 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.”