Customer opts for DataCore’s enterprise solution to serve as its virtualization superstructure – providing performance, replication, virtualization and enduring storage services for its EMC and HP arrays
FORT LAUDERDALE, Florida and FRUITLAND, IDAHO – April 30, 2008 – DataCore Software, the leading provider of storage virtualization SAN software, today announced that Woodgrain Millwork, Inc. has purchased and deployed its flagship SANsymphony software from DataCore authorized partner Right! Systems Inc. (RSI). RSI is a leading solution provider of virtualization solutions. Woodgrain Millwork is one of the nation’s top producers of mouldings and windows, and it is the largest manufacturer of interior pine doors in the United States. “SANsymphony allowed us to add a new EMC array and make it work effectively with our existing HP EVA storage, improving and harnessing the combination to run in tandem and support our mix of database, ERP and VMware server systems,” said Chip Olsen, senior systems engineer, Woodgrain Millwork, Inc. “With SANsymphony now in place, we have been able to significantly improve performance and address the uptime and availability issue for our SQL servers and ERP application – something mission-critical to our operations.”
Performance and the Three “R’s” – Repurpose, Replication and Redundancy
Woodgrain was faced with a problem and needed to fix it. The problem was that the company had all of its storage on an EVA 5000 array, which was a little over three years old. Apart from knowing they could get better performance from a newer system, the IT team at Woodgrain was most interested in achieving data duplication. Woodgrain’s Unidata ERP system runs on a single platform (HP 9000) and that was a potential point of failure. The goal that the IT team had was to solve the issue of the EVA and the HP 9000 becoming single points of failure. To overcome potential calamity, they realized that the solution was to duplicate the data to a second array.
When the decision was made to duplicate the data to a second SAN array, Woodgrain started talking to various vendors, including HP, EMC and IBM. As Olsen and others dug into things, they realized that they had more issues to deal with than they originally thought – some on their side and some on the SAN side. On the Woodgrain side, with the Unidata system it was going to be hard to quiesce the database and maintain the integrity of the data. “We know this would cause issues, but we have worked through it,” Olsen said. “We recognize that this is something we will have to address long-term, but for the time being and some years into the future we can work around the issue.”
The SAN vendors all explained that they did not want to work with the existing array Woodgrain had and that the company would have to buy two new similar arrays and replicate between those. Woodgrain, however, did not want to discard its HP storage investment. In order to solve the dilemma as well as to maintain the performance levels that the company wanted and in order to be able to replicate between the multiple arrays, the IT team came up with a solution using both EMC and DataCore, deciding on EMC’s Clarion CX3-40 and DataCore’s SANsymphony.
“We ended up purchasing an EMC array for performance mostly,” said Olsen. “To virtualize the storage, further enhance performance across both arrays and for data replication, we use DataCore SANsymphony. Very importantly, DataCore allowed us to use dissimilar storage arrays and protect our existing investment; it let us do the replication between our old EVA 5000 and new EMC array.” Woodgrain has 14 terabytes (TBs) of data in their EVA array and it was essential for them to be able to use that array and not throw it away. “SANsymphony allows us to use our existing equipment,” said Rem Fox, CIO, Woodgrain Millwork, Inc. “That was one of our key requirements as we embarked on this. We wanted to leverage our investment in the array we had, but still wanted to be able to move forward with the data replication design that we had in mind.”
According to the IT team at Woodgrain, there are not a lot of solutions on the market that would allow them to deliver the required data replication and still keep their existing array. “SANsymphony was one of the only solutions we found that would allow us to meet our needs,” said Olsen. “Plus, it accelerates performance of the underlying storage arrays and has a lot of other features even over and above what we were looking for.” Woodgrain moved SANsymphony into a live production environment at the end of February 2008. The IT team has now moved a number of key systems to run off of the new SAN, including its VM environment and all of their SQL servers. “Overall we have seen some pretty good performance benefits,” commented Olsen. “The SQL servers running through SANsymphony are running very well and are giving us good performance numbers – a lot better than what we were seeing before.”
Just having the SANsymphony system in place between Woodgrain’s old array and the application servers has given the company performance benefits. “We took performance metrics before and after and we have been pleasantly surprised that we have seen notable performance gains since our transition to SANsymphony,” Olsen added. SANsymphony supports both virtual and physical machines at Woodgrain. All SQL servers are physical. In addition, Woodgrain has a couple of VM server “pools” that have consolidated storage running on a SAN. Each of those VM server pools host about 25 servers each. Within those pools, they all talk to a common, backend storage system that runs through SANsymphony. SANsymphony is actually replicating data between the two arrays that Woodgrain maintains for the VM environment. With SANsymphony, the company has provided data redundancy for the VM environment as well as the performance caching.
Apart from leveraging the existing EVA 5000, Woodgrain was looking to provide redundancy and data duplication within their data center. Performance was something the company was also hoping for – and received. According to Olsen, even beyond all of that SANsymphony also supports a lot of great features. “Thin provisioning across EMC and HP arrays is something that we are certainly taking advantage of and something we considered a real bonus with SANsymphony,” explained Olsen.
The Enduring Value of Virtualization – Testimonials
“We had a real desire to leverage our older storage with a newer storage management system that encompassed a virtualization approach,” said Fox. “DataCore fit the bill in terms of enabling us to add performance and to not throw away what we had already invested in.”
Storage today is much less about physical storage devices (EMC, HP, etc) than it is about “storage services” – an arena in which intelligence and flexibility are paramount and, thus, software and its flexibility, not hardware, is the star. DataCore (like Exchange, SQL, VMware, Citrix, etc.) is hardware-independent software that runs on any standard server. As a result, DataCore’s software and the storage services it delivers can work across many different vendors’ storage as well as endure hardware changes by surviving many generations of replacements and upgrades.
According to Chris Culig, vice president of business development, Right! Systems Inc., “What we have seen recently is that IT managers have grown increasingly comfortable with ‘virtualization.’ Because of this comfort level, our storage practice has really grown based on the demand for virtualization.” With offices throughout the Northwestern US, RSI is an IT technology management services company that provides business-driven, multi-vendor IT solutions to clients worldwide.
About Woodgrain Millwork
Woodgrain Millwork is a leading producer of mouldings and windows, and is the largest manufacturer of interior pine doors in the United States. With five divisions and more than 29 manufacturing and warehouse facilities in the United States and South America, the company serves markets throughout North America. For the nearest distributor of Woodgrain Millwork products, visit www.woodgrain.com or call 1.800.452.3801.
About Right! Systems Inc. (RSI)
Since 1993, Right! Systems Inc. (RSI) has provided business-driven, multi-vendor IT solutions to clients worldwide. RSI is a leading Information & Communications Technology (ICT) provider – delivering infrastructure solutions, services and products. Its solutions and capabilities embrace all areas of an organization’s technology requirements. Partners include DataCore, EMC (Velocity Partner), VMware (VMware Authorized Consultant), Microsoft (Gold Certified Partner), Citrix (Platinum Solutions Provider) and Cisco (Gold Certified Partner). For more, visit www.rightsys.com.
About DataCore Software
DataCore Software, the leading provider of storage virtualization SAN software, 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. DataCore’s portable storage server software simplifies and automates capacity expansion and centralizes storage management for Windows, UNIX, Linux, MacOS, NetWare, VMware and other leading open system and virtual server platforms. DataCore is privately held and its corporate headquarters are in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. For more information, call (877) 780-5111 or visit www.datacore.com.
DataCore, the DataCore logo and SANsymphony 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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