DataCore Delivers High-Availability SANs for SMBs

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


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As smaller companies look for ways to avoid expensive storage equipment, DataCore's new SANMelody extends the life and utility of existing storage infrastructure.

DataCore Software is going back to basics to help make high-availability SAN technology available to partners and their cash-strapped SMB customers.

As storage technology standardizes across the industry and storage virtualization moves downmarket, SAN technology has become widely available for even SMBs, says James Price, vice president of channel and product marketing. But one of the flaws inherent in traditional SANs is the issue of availability, he says.

While most hardware vendors have built reliable appliances that can withstand the loss of a single spindle, for instance, the issues of core infrastructure remain problematic.

"We believe that everyone who makes storage hardware makes it really well. There’s not really an issue with hardware reliability what with RAID, multiple controllers and cache mirroring–the problem occurs much deeper, around power infrastructure or a facility failure," he says. "What happens if you have a multicomponent failure at the disk level?"

High-availability SAN technology aims to solve these underlying problems by leveraging virtualization to the fullest, says Price. By developing SANMelody software that runs on nearly any industry standard hardware, DataCore has made high availability SAN technology affordable for even SMBs, he says.

Virtualization has been a game-changer for SMBs especially, since it has created a simple, generic and common platform with a universally available set of features, says Price.

"Everything has been stripped down to its lowest common denominator. VMWare has put forth the idea that all virtual machines are created equal–and we also believe all virtual disks are created equal," he says, which allows SMBs access to technologies such as continuous data protection (CDP), snapshots and replication regardless of underlying hardware.

By virtualizing storage, DataCore’s SANMelody creates a completely separate, independent data store with two physically separate storage controllers, says Price, for two access paths to the data. In the event of a catastrophe, a customer’s environment could suffer significant losses without representing any significant impact on infrastructure.

And virtualizing underlying storage can deliver much more robust and complex solutions that are at the same time very powerful and very simple to manage, as well as increasing utilization rates and saving businesses money, Price says.

"It’s cliché, but solution providers can really help their customers do more with less. The financial impact is huge when you can completely repurpose everything you already own and give it new life, new universal functionality and purpose," says Price.

In today’s turbulent economic climate, that kind of capital expense savings is crucial, especially for SMBs, says DataCore’s Brooks Butler, an account manager serving DataCore partners in the central region.

"We’ve seen some indications that the economy is actually a boon for us and our partners," Butler says, as many solution providers have been successful selling DataCore solutions on top of traditional SANs from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and other storage vendors.

"We’ve seen partners who walk into customers' shops and while they’ve been sold an IBM SAN solution, they can’t afford to buy another one to meet their needs, but they can afford a software solution that runs on their existing infrastructure," he says.

Tim Rettig, president of LAN Solutions, said the cost of many SAN alternatives was just too high for their clients, many of whom are educational institutions. With DataCore, Rettig says he can bring SAN technology to customers who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it.

"DataCore enables us to put together solutions for our clients that fit within their budgets," says Rettig. "We feel strongly that our clients are getting robust, enterprise-level SANs at SMB prices." 

Rettig adds that since DataCore’s SANMelody technology runs on industry standard hardware, it’s an easy sell for customers who don’t have the budget to invest in infrastructure upgrades.

"With DataCore, the client can pick their favorite hardware vendor and even mix and match them," Rettig says, allowing for a much more cost-effective solution and often freeing up budget dollars for other projects that may have seemed out of reach.

"Our partners can tell their customers that by repurposing your entire data center with this technology, they’ve just made money for your company," says Price.

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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