DataCore Adds NAS Performance Acceleration, High-Availability File Sharing Support to SANsymphony-V

Economical NAS extensions to SAN software target non-stop NFS/CIFS requirements in server and desktop virtualization rollouts.

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DataCore Software, a provider of storage virtualization software, announced that its SANsymphony-V software now addresses the three major roadblocks -- cost, performance and business continuity -- that have made it impractical for critical virtualization projects to utilize Network Attached Storage (NAS).

Available today, SANsymphony-V overcomes these shared storage shortcomings and helps enterprises employ the widely used NAS services already built into the Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2 platform in those environments. DataCore’s feature set can be configured to enhance these Microsoft services. The integrated combination cost-effectively accelerates performance and adds a new level of fault tolerance to clustered network file system (NFS) and common Internet file system (CIFS) sharing.

The new solution is well-suited for IT organizations that prefer to store their VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Citrix XenDesktop virtual machine images under NFS or CIFS. Many are eager to economically eliminate bottlenecks and disruptions in their underlying storage systems.

No Specialty NAS Hardware Required

Virtual data center managers concerned with single points of failures in their vital NFS/CIFS files shares have had few alternatives. They could pick from a few specialty devices that provided the needed redundancy at a steep price or risk that a storage-related disruption would cripple their entire virtual infrastructure. Those without the required funding have little choice but to postpone virtualizing their more important applications.

The solution announced today employs standard Windows servers with off-the-shelf disks to achieve the required levels of uninterrupted shared file services at a reasonable price. Moreover, these systems now scale to performance levels once achieved only by “enterprise” NAS hardware.

DataCore’s design employs mirrored copies of the SANsymphony-V software layered beneath clustered file shares (NAS) integral to Windows Servers 2008 Enterprise. Any standard storage device can be used for disk space, ranging from the basic internal hard drives packaged by the server manufacturers to bigger external disk arrays offered by the popular storage systems vendors.

The software combination can be fielded in two high-availability arrangements based on the scale of the file shares. In the smallest configuration, the DataCore software co-resides with the clustered file share functions on each of two redundant Windows Enterprise servers. SANsymphony-V performs adaptive I/O caching directly on top of Hyper-V to accelerate block disk access while mirroring updates to the other servers’ virtual disk copy. All disk space is thin provisioned to maximize utilization. Snapshots and continuous data protection (CDP) can be turned on for added protection, helping customers recover from events such as virus attacks and inadvertent deletions.

During normal operation, both servers actively handle file requests. Should one of the two systems fail or temporarily be removed from service, the remaining machine transparently takes over all duties using the mirrored disk copy. When the idle machine is reactivated, the system automatically returns to its original active-active state.

For larger environments, the file share cluster remains split across two machines while the DataCore software runs on two separate servers dedicated to block storage virtualization. The cluster then accesses the DataCore virtual storage pool over an iSCSI or Fibre Channel SAN.

Customers who start small and later outgrow the two servers can simply reassign their DataCore software licenses to the two additional servers. Incremental capacity licenses may also be added at any time to cover expansion.

Existing DataCore SANsymphony-V customers running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise with Hyper-V do not need to buy additional software to support the clustered NAS file sharing features. For those new to DataCore, SANsymphony-V software, including the NAS capabilities, can be professionally installed through DataCore-authorized solution providers across the globe.

More information is available at www.datacore.com.