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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

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.