Press Release

Paper Manufacturer Felix Schoeller Group Implements High-Performance Storage for VMware Using DataCore SAN Software

DataCore’s auto-failover/failback SAN software proves itself – saving VMware in a real-life scenario.

Munich, Germany – December 22, 2008 – DataCore Software, the leading provider of storage virtualization software, today announced that IT service provider ISO Datentechnik has completed a successful server and storage virtualization project at Felix Schoeller Group. With six locations in Germany and Canada, Felix Schoeller Group is one of the largest manufacturers of specialty papers worldwide. Schoeller selected DataCore virtual storage area network (SAN) technology to complement its VMware ESX Server systems. SANmelody(tm) was initially deployed since it increased SAN performance compared to the previous hardware solution. The system also provided high availability protection and then was subsequently further enhanced by way of upgrading to DataCore’s SANsymphony(tm), which provides the company with the unlimited storage capacity that it requires.

“To migrate the consolidated VMware server workloads into the production environment, we needed a high-performance, failsafe SAN,” explained Michael Mohlmann, IT department director, Felix Schoeller Group. “We searched for a technically mature and affordable solution, which we found in DataCore. The DataCore solution fulfills our requirements in terms of performance and high availability – and, in addition, we have a very flexible and reliable SAN platform that gives us hardware independence and long-term costs savings.”

Performing in a Crisis: Proven Business Continuity

The VMware and DataCore combination already has been proven to failover properly in a real life emergency case when a power loss paralyzed three ESX servers and the disk systems. Automatic failover of both systems functioned as they should in test scenarios and shifted the virtual machines, including the corresponding virtual drives, without any interruption of business. After restarting the system, SANmelody’s auto failback reassigned the drives to the corresponding virtual machines.

“In our old architecture we might have had a loss of several hours. The high availability functions of VMware and DataCore hand in hand saved us time and costs,” noted Mohlmann.

Even in terms of the physical configuration, the storage devices are distributed among two data centers for business continuity. The SANmelody disk server therefore serves as the central control center for the fast SAS disk storage. DataCore’s Thin Provisioning optimizes the storage utilization by presenting to applications the volumes sizes maximally allowed by the operating systems but only providing just the right physical capacity when needed. “With Thin Provisioning, systems can be staged for the future. We reduced unused disk capacity and utilize up to 80 percent of the capacity,” confirmed Mohlmann.

Automated Failover/Failback – Explained

As part of the way DataCore software works in practice, both DataCore machines (running in “Active-Active” mode) contribute to automated failover/failback. In the case of a loss of one system, the other takes over all I/O transactions and performs an automatic failover/failback for data and data path. As this feature also supports virtual machines, Schoeller benefits because DataCore delivers true high-availability on the storage side to complement VMware’s VMotion on the server side.

The IT Environment

At Felix Schoeller Group, DataCore software runs on two HP DL380 Quadcore Gen 5 servers with 7.25 TB SAS disk capacity and 8 GB RAM, resulting in a 32-fold caching volume when compared to the cache previously used HP MSA controllers. Four Fibre Channel HBAs enable the connection to double cascaded switches and thereby deliver a completely redundant SAN infrastructure. While two paths are reserved for the provisioning of the virtual disks to the applications, two remain for the synchronous data mirroring between the SAN servers. Load Balancing between the systems provides for further performance optimization.

Added Benefits of “Going Virtual”

In deploying VMware and DataCore to virtualize the IT environment, Schoeller was able to retire three quarters of its physical machines – reducing not only maintenance costs but freeing up valuable data center space. After further expansions of the DataCore SANmelody environment, Schoeller decided to upgrade to DataCore’s Enterprise solution – SANsymphony – with an unlimited capacity license and additional functionality.

“Upgrading the system to SANsymphony was the next logical step because in comparison to hardware SAN solutions SANsymphony is more flexible and offers higher performance for a lower price,” said Martin Osterfeld, General Manager at ISO Datentechnik. “As the partner, we were able to make Felix Schoeller Group an especially attractive offer because DataCore protects the initial investment when the time comes to upgrade. The migration to SANsymphony was easily carried out without interrupting any business operations.”

Next Step: Disaster Recovery

Schoeller is evaluating DataCore’s Traveller CDP for continuous data protection, which will be integrated into its SANsymphony environment. After the successful completion of this phase of the project at the Group’s headquarters in Osnabruck, Germany, Schoeller plans additional SANmelody rollouts in its subsidiaries. With that in place, Schoeller will be able to realize a disaster recovery solution for its remote locations.

About Felix Schoeller Group

Felix Schoeller Group has been producing high-calibre specialty papers for over 110 years. The company with 2,400 employees manufactures photographic papers, digital imaging papers, decor papers und technical specialty papers for a wide range of different applications at six locations in Germany and Canada.

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 and NetWare operating systems as well as hypervisors from VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and other suppliers. 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, SANsymphony and SANmelody 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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