READING, UK. – April 30, 2013 – DataCore Software, the storage hypervisor leader and premier provider of storage virtualization software, today announced that the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) has adopted DataCore’s™ SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor solution. The ILCU represents 484 financial institutions across Ireland, with combined assets of €13.6 Billion and membership of over 3 Million in credit unions. Whilst independent, credit unions remain in the ownership of their members and are facilitated by common bonds to ensure that the savings of members are available to fellow members as loans. The ILCU was set up as an umbrella organization to represent and provide joint services to the affiliated credit unions. Acting as a single consolidated body on a national level, the ILCU represents and provides expansive services including legal counsel, HR advice, joint advertising, professional services and ICT.
ILCU achieves a custom-made virtual environment for both servers and storage: Faced with ageing physical hardware which was becoming increasingly complicated, volatile and challenging to manage, ILCU decided it was an ideal opportunity to take a fresh look at the entire environment through server and storage virtualization to reap the benefits of consolidation, decrease overheads and achieve a greater availability of critical business applications. Malcolm Moir, Infrastructure Services Manager at ILCU’s Dublin HQ:- “Our very ethos is about providing equitable, reliable, shared & stable assets to our user base. We knew that there had to be a better way to service them with a highly available environment that also offered Disaster Recovery.”
They turned to architecture advisor and Irish DataCore Gold partner, Typetec, who recommended and implemented VMware® vSphere for server virtualization to optimize the utilization of common resources (CPUs and disks) and to readily redeploy these resources (servers and storage) when and where needed. Typetec also explained that VMware® vSphere requires additional assistance to enable advanced functions such as workload migration, load balancing, fail-over and disaster recovery, and is completely dependent on highly available (HA) shared storage platform. They went on to introduce the concept of a storage hypervisor to ILCU – a portable, centrally-managed software package from DataCore that extends provisioning, replication and performance and acceleration services.
To prove the concept of what could be achieved moving away from traditional Direct Attached Storage on a Storage Area Network (SAN), Typetec took the unusual step of creating ILCU’s entire infrastructure within their own internal test and development lab. A pair of DataCore SANsymphony-V nodes were tested in a dual mirrored configuration, running on standard x86 Intel hardware. ILCU were invited for an interactive hands-on briefing session using the intuitive interface of SANsymphony-V to achieve automatic failover of both path and data through the DataCore Storage Hypervisor. With concepts proven and validating customer research into some of the 8000 DataCore global customers gained, installation commenced.
Installation Commences: Installation commenced, first consolidating the workload of ILCU’s 20 physical servers into 2 HP ProLiant servers which run as Virtual Machine hosts for VMware. Two further HP ProLiant servers act as the host for the DataCore SANsymphony-V nodes acting in a synchronous mirrored pair to alleviate the fear of a single point of failure. Closing this single potential failure scenario in the Disaster Recovery process for the ILCU was a significant step in achieving a heightened sense of full security. Malcolm elaborates:“Previously, conversations with our business colleagues would centre on how Disaster Recovery should work. With the new DataCore SANsymphony-V environment, those service level conversations shifted into providing advice on how individual business continuity background processes could be optimized for each department. That’s significant when you consider that assured Business Continuity has been achieved at 60% of the cost of alternative storage environments”.
But it is not just Disaster Recovery and high availability that has been gained. Because of the way DataCore’s SANsymphony-V SAN-wide caching engine works, there is an active decrease in IO bottlenecks associated with server virtualisation that significantly overcomes performance issues for critical shared applications such as Microsoft Exchange and SQL for employees.
Back in the Dublin server room, further benefits have emerged. When it comes to ILCU requiring additional disk, no longer does Malcolm have to speculate up front how much disk may be required. DataCore SANsymphony-V constantly monitors the size of the available disk pool and with 25% left to go, sends alerts to the team. Indeed, adding new VM’s and maintaining the virtual estate, is no longer a complex provisioning exercise that involves downtime. Instead it’s a point-and-click exercise where storage is allocated to each VM through DataCore’s SANsymphony-V. Service Level Agreements (SLAs) have also dramatically improved with Malcolm confident and comfortable that further reductions can still be achieved by simply adding a third DataCore SANsymphony–V asynchronous node to the offsite Disaster Recovery site a few miles away. The foundations have been set and with further optimisation assured.
“We started this project with the main aim of decreasing costs, modernizing our environment and achieving reliable Disaster Recovery. Undoubtedly, DataCore’s SANsymphony-V is the cornerstone to this achievement. We are proud of the service we can now offer the business,” he summarizes.
As DataCore’s SANsymphony-V solution has been running for 12 months, we will leave the final comments on reliability to Malcolm “The stability of the DataCore storage hypervisor has impressed me. It’s simply an install and forget product that we rarely need to change. And at ILCU, it’s proven. We did have a failover, but it was totally oblivious to the business, with no interruption of services and a simple notification by email, storage is failed over automatically. That’s massively reassuring.”
About DataCore Software
DataCore Software develops storage virtualization software for high availability, fast performance and maximum utilization from storage in virtual and physical IT environments. DataCore SANsymphony™-V storage hypervisor is a comprehensive, hardware-independent solution that fundamentally changes the economics of provisioning, replicating and protecting storage in large enterprises and small to midsize businesses. For additional information, visit the DataCore website at https://www.datacore.com or call +44 (0) 118 949 7024 .
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