Uptime, Flexibility and Seamless Maintenance Win the Day for DataCore’s SANmelody; DataCore Storage Virtualization Software Now Supports an Entire Virtual Infrastructure for Barren County Schools.
GLASGOW, Kentucky and FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida – December 1, 2009 – DataCore Software, a leading provider of storage virtualization, business continuity and disaster recovery software solutions, today announced that yet another school system, in this case Barren County Schools in Kentucky, has deployed its SANmelody storage virtualization solution to serve as the cornerstone of its entire virtual infrastructure. DataCore SANmelody works in tandem with Xiotech and VMware vSphere 4 in this total enterprise virtualization deployment. Currently, the virtual storage powered by DataCore serves a user community of 5,500 users – comprising 4,800 students and 700 faculty members.
“The biggest benefit for us was realizing a virtualized data infrastructure,” stated Steve Gumm, IT director, Barren County Schools. “Because we adopted storage virtualization, we now have a front-end piece whereby we can deploy any hardware behind it that we want. We can bring in an additional SAN if we want – whatever vendor we choose – and still use the DataCore product. We can just fold those SANs into our infrastructure and it would be seamless to the end user. Beyond this – with DataCore we were able to repurpose old equipment.”
The IT infrastructure that supports Barren County Schools went from 30 physical servers to four (4) physical servers running 30 VMs. Two DataCore SANmelody SANs each now run on DELL 2850 servers that became available from being decommissioned during the drive to virtualize. The data pool SANmelody is responsible for managing and keeping highly available is currently 16 TBs.
The Drive to Embrace Server Virtualization Leads to an Appreciation for Storage Virtualization for the Same Reasons
Barren County Schools’ interest in DataCore started with a simple, short-term need. The IT department for the county school system thought it needed more “one-off servers” – according Gumm. Rather than adding to its existing server sprawl, this situation prompted the IT team to look more closely at virtualization. “In addition to needing to get more out of our existing servers, we had a need for increased uptime,” added Gumm. “We also wanted more flexibility in terms of managing our server environment so that if we needed to do maintenance, we could do maintenance at any time.”
The team chose VMware vSphere on the virtual server-side. “We chose VMware because it was the only solution we saw that offered clustering,” noted Gumm. To support the virtual machines (VMs), the IT team looked at various SAN solutions on the market to be deployed as a backbone for its virtual infrastructure, supporting the VMware server virtualization software. According to Gumm, “We had looked into a couple of different SAN solutions. We already had an EMC SAN. But we also looked at the DELL EqualLogic solution – and did not like some of the features that were brought to the table, particularly in terms of failover.”
Enter DataCore SANmelody – Providing V-Power to any Storage System
DataCore partner The Mirazon Group demonstrated DataCore’s SANmelody to Gumm and his team – highlighting its key features. “What was particularly relevant to Barren County Schools was exactly what makes DataCore storage virtualization a ‘pure’ virtualization solution – and that is portability,” explained Craig Stein, systems architect, The Mirazon Group. “What I mean by that is that with SANmelody, users can deploy it as a front-end to any back-end hardware SAN that they choose – thereby virtualizing the data storage.
It was this flexibility that was most appealing to the IT team at Barren County Schools. Of equal importance was the fact that with DataCore, the customer owns the software. It does not get thrown out with the next generation of the hardware it is tied to – like some solutions. On the contrary, users can swap out newer hardware whenever they want. When decision time came, it was clear to Barren County’s IT team that this flexibility/portability characteristic gave them a vital piece of the virtualization puzzle.
In the end, DataCore SANmelody was paired with Xiotech hardware because it did bring “so much to the table,” according to Gumm. Among the features he highlights as “hard to pass up” are the ability to thin-provision clients, the ability to migrate data seamlessly to users, and the ability to do upgrades to the school system’s SAN infrastructure (the data structure) without truly having to do a forklift upgrade.
Complete Virtualization Environment Based on DataCore, Xiotech and VMware vSphere 4
“For all intents and purposes, we are 100% virtual,” commented Gumm. Barren County Schools has two data centers – one primary and one secondary. VMware vSphere is currently running on two, new PowerEdge servers. The Xiotech storage arrays are in both data center locations – the primary one and the “offsite,” or secondary, data center. The two locations contain a similar, mirrored, environment which includes two DELL vSphere servers and a Xiotech array which are attached to the SANmelody SAN server. To get to this, Barren County Schools migrated everything it had on an existing EMC SAN to the DataCore and Xiotech based SAN in a live environment using SANmelody to do so. The IT team mapped LUNs from the old SAN to the new SAN and while in production migrated all of the data to the new location.
“This is not one of those products where we were sold more than we bought,” concluded Gumm. “With DataCore SANmelody, we bought more than we were sold. We are getting far more out of it than I thought we would, which is a wonderful thing.”
See the complete Barren County Schools case study here: https://www.datacore.com/BarrenCounty
About Barren County Schools
Barren County Schools is a school system in Glasgow, Kentucky that comprises a high school, a middle school and seven elementary schools, among other entities. Visit www.barren.kyschools.us.
About The Mirazon Group
The Mirazon Group was formed to provide networking infrastructure assistance to business big or small. Our staff is made up of Microsoft Certified Systems Engineers, Microsoft Certified Trainers, Certified VMware and SAN Engineers and Certified Cisco professionals. The team of professionals Mirazon employs has been providing state of the art technical services for over 20 years. Architectural designers and project managers alike are skilled in being able to reduce implementation time of projects and lower the total cost of applying new technology. For more, go to www.mirazon.com.
About DataCore Software
DataCore Software, a leading provider of storage virtualization software solutions, fundamentally changes the economics of managing storage with innovative software that combines advanced functions and services with the agility and savings of hardware independence. DataCore lowers the cost and complexity of IT by making storage efficient, fast, flexible, fail-safe and virtual. For more information, call (877) 780-5111 or visit www.datacore.com.
DataCore, SANmelody and the DataCore logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. Other DataCore product or service names or logos referenced herein are trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. All other products, services and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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