Software-defined storage, DataCore style

DataCore has released SANsymphony 10 to further expand what its virtual SAN software can do. Call it what you want: storage virtualization, software-defined storage -- or simply fast, reliable and easy.
Written by Dan Kusnetzky, Contributor

George Teixeira, CEO of DataCore, and his colleague Augie Gonzalez, director of product marketing, stopped by to discuss how the company has done since our last chat and to introduce version 10 of SANsymphony.

They believe that this is the best software for flash storage, DRAM storage and all fashion of rotating media.

What does SANsymphony do?

SANsymphony is a storage virtualization (call it "software-defined storage", if you prefer) product that executes on x86-64 servers; sits in the data path between applications and a huge selection of storage devices; and offers significant performance improvements, better utilization of storage devices and significantly improved reliability through redundancy.

The software does this by offering the following capabilities:

  • Auto-tiering to automatically move data to the appropriate storage tier to optimize both performance and cost
  • Caching that is designed to optimize how data is stored and retrieved regardless of the type of storage device
  • Synchronization and mirroring to assure that data is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there and is highly reliable as well
  • Thin provisioning that allows storage to be allocated as needed rather than provisioning the largest space an application is likely to need at some point in the future
  • And a long list of other features

Like all virtualization technology, the goal is creating an artificial, virtual view of storage that is different than what the physical storage hardware provides.

What's new with version 10?

DataCore has extended SANsympony's virtual SAN capabilities in a number of ways and describes the product in the following way:

The spotlight on SANsymphony-V10 is clearly on the new virtual SAN capabilities, and the new licensing and pricing choices. However, a number of other major performance and scalability enhancements appear in this version as well:

  • Scalability has doubled from 16 to 32 nodes; Enables Metro-wide N+1 grid data protection
  • Supports high-speed 40/56 GigE iSCSI; 16Gbps Fibre Channel; iSCSI Target NIC teaming
  • Performance visualization/Heat Map tools add insight into the behavior of Flash and disks
  • New auto-tiering settings optimize expensive resources (e.g., flash cards) in a pool
  • Intelligent disk rebalancing, dynamically redistributes load across available devices within a tier
  • Automated CPU load leveling and Flash optimizations to increase performance
  • Disk pool optimization and self-healing storage; Disk contents are automatically restored across the remaining storage in the pool; Enhancements to easily select and prioritize order of recovery
  • New self-tuning caching algorithms and optimizations for flash cards and SSDs
  • ‘Click-simple’ configuration wizards to rapidly set up different use cases (Virtual SAN; High-Availability SANs; NAS File Shares; etc.)

Snapshot analysis

I've spoken with a number of customers who use SANsymphony on a daily basis. If I told you exactly what they've said, you would believe this post was really a marketing message from DataCore in disguise. I often hear stories of huge performance improvements, significant improvements in storage utilization and much better storage reliability.

Although I'm sure that DataCore's competitors would disagree, Teixeira asserts that SANsymphony is "the ultimate storage stack that simply accelerates everything."

He also asserts that all DataCore needs to do is get people to try it and they're hooked. Although I'm usually very skeptical of such claims, after talking with DataCore's customers, I'm beginning to believe it is true.

There are a large number of suppliers in the storage and storage virtualization market. Players such as IBM, EMC, NetApp, HP, HDS and a growing list of other competitors offer products that appear similar. DataCore has to get ahead all of these large and small suppliers to get the ear of IT decision makers. If the company is able to break through all of the noise, the strengths of their product are likely to be convincing.

Editorial standards