READING, UK, 25 July, 2011 – DataCore Software, a leading provider virtualization software for storage is pleased to announce that the London Borough of Sutton has adopted DataCore’s storage vitualization software to safeguard data. Considered as one of London’s most desirable residential areas, the Borough is a popular choice for families wishing to enjoy the leafy suburbs, safe environment and well maintained public services. Schools are generally therefore popular and oversubscribed.
Centrally supporting the Borough’s 45 primary, special and 12 high schools IT environment, is Daniel Gale, Schools Network Manager, London Borough of Sutton, responsible for providing an effective and secure network and central administration services for over 60,000 pupils and staff. Central infrastructure services that the Team provide include the protection, backup and business continuity of all data relating to schools, pupils, coursework and email.
Daniel’s was introduced to DataCore at a seminar run by Vcentral, a DataCore re-seller in all areas of virtualization, who showed DataCore running in conjunction with VMware, highlighting the full benefits a total virtualized infrastructure could bring. Design of a full virtualized solution followed including recommendations for ongoing training, support and re-utilization of hardware. Previously, the Borough had, been running a SAN (Storage Area Network). The configuration consisted of two administration Microsoft Cluster Server nodes together with a pair of Active Directory Servers, all of which provided fail over for the local pool of data. This configuration was great for storage provisioning and adequate for business continuity but to achieve complete disaster recovery, Daniel knew that he needed to employ DataCore’s dual node storage virtualization software running outside of the local cluster. This would provide the redundant mirroring configuration to avoid a single point of failure and achieve a highly available, highly resilient, stable SAN solution with true disaster recovery. Of further concern was that the existing MS Cluster configuration was over five years old and therefore slow and less reliable than the Team would have liked. With little budget to spend on additional hardware and keen to re-utilize what was already in the data centre, Vcentral reassuringly confirmed that they could expand the environment by simply adding DataCore virtualization software to empower their existing HP MSA 1000 hardware together with deployment of two HP DL380 G5 to house the two DataCore powered nodes to manage their storage across separate sites.
The DataCore solution: Reutilisation brings Recovery
Without delay, Vcentral began work on replacing the ageing cluster. The team factored in extra capacity to allow for the increase in student and network usage and recommended a three virtual host solution across the data centre – two in the Borough’s secondary education offices in Carshalton and one in the civic offices in central Sutton empowering Disaster Recovery, all connected by fibre. VMware’s VSphere was selected as the server virtualisation platform, along with VMware Advanced Acceleration kit running on the six VMs. The existing HP MSA 1000 SATA enclosures were redeployed to hold the mirror volumes from the remote site together with two HP DL380 G5 to house the DataCore software. Whilst at the Sutton Disaster Recovery site, the Borough opted for the purchase of a HP ML370.
Results: Straight talking storage allocation
One of the direct results of deployment means that the central administration team’s procurement of additional disk has significantly decreased. Previously the Borough had to speculate up front how much disk was required – hard to predict across such a large environment, hence the ability to upscale disk ‘as and when required’ was a key buying criteria for the Borough. Impressively, DataCore did not care at all which type of disk was in place; from SAS to external iSCSI arrays to SATA, (even a test USB device was put through its paces and strained to the maximum!).This acceptance of any type of disk allows the Borough to literally add as they go and not have to over estimate how much disk is required each year. Valuable when you think how the cost of disk is driven down over time. Equally valuable is the way DataCore’s thin provisioning means you never run out of disk – all disk is in actual fact allocated, but through thin provisioning, even if there is unprecedented demand spike, Daniel knows that he can quickly reallocate and assign spare disk as and when required from the central storage pool so there is no need to load up-front. “In the past we had no choice but to over-allocate disk space and partitions; with the dual DataCore configuration, we no longer needed to factor in the ‘what if’ scenario, now we simply plug in cheap additional disk when it’s needed.”
Adding new volumes in minutes and maintenance of servers online:
Now provisioning new storage, adding new machines and maintaining servers is a relatively seamless process avoiding downtime. DataCore adds one new network managed volume that creates instant appearances across all hosts. Maintenance can also be done without interference. The system is paused then resynchronised, but there is no disruption as the DataCore software controls and routes the flow of data between the two, providing fault tolerance and resilience to the servers’ applications.
Failures are no longer Failures, but mere ‘glitches’:
Across a weekend, a power outage breached the UPS window, yet when power was reconnected, the DataCore virtualization server simply resumed and automatically re-synced with its partner with no disruption to users or inevitable loss of pupil data. DataCore’s software automatically resumed the job of rebuilding applications. Daniel concludes. “We have been using DataCore now for some years, so we have a great track record with the product. However what the new enhanced environment actually gives us is total peace of mind whether we want add, maintain or recover, it simply gets on with job and remains totally bullet proof. That equates to total confidence.”
About DataCore Software
DataCore Software is the industry’s premier provider of storage virtualization software. Its software-as infrastructure platform solves the big problem stalling virtualization initiatives by eliminating the storage-related barriers that make virtualization too difficult and too expensive. For additional information, visit the DataCore website at www.datacore.com or call 44 (0) 118 949 7024.
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.
Vcentral specialize in the design and delivery of innovative business solutions which help organisations streamline processes, optimize existing assets and save money. For more information visit us at http://www.vcentral.co.uk.
+44 (0) 7787 566382