DataCore Releases New Business Continuity Solution for Windows Server Farms

STAR HA adds resiliency and performance to Microsoft Hyper-V environments; empowers direct attached storage with SAN storage benefits.

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DataCore Software, a storage virtualization software solutions provider, had added a specialized business continuity solution to its portfolio of virtualization technologies. The DataCore STAR HA (high availability) solution is primarily aimed at IT organizations with Microsoft servers running lines-of-business applications as well as Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint where better data protection and performance is needed.

Many of these IT organizations realize they must move their data from internal server disks to shared storage area network (SAN) to meet growth needs, improve uptime, and enhance productivity. However, some have concluded that this migration could add more risk, disruption, and cost than they can currently afford. They need a simple way to enhance the performance and resiliency of their application servers while providing easy access and a transition path to the compelling advantages of shared SAN.

The DataCore STAR HA solution is tailored for these IT organizations seeking the benefits of a SAN while allowing their data to remain safely stored on their servers. DataCore also offers alternative, high-availability, high-performance packages for architecting solutions using redundant, two-node configurations and scale-out grid designs.

The new business continuity solution enhances the resiliency and performance of Windows server farms, enabling those systems to stay up longer and their applications to run faster, as well as shorten recovery time during unexpected situations. It is most appealing for customers wishing to keep their data distributed across their server disk drives while gaining many of the centralized and advanced services made possible by a SAN.

Star Topology Leverages Central Server for Faster Recovery from Failures

Rather than migrate server data to an external SAN, the DataCore STAR HA software automatically mirrors the data drives on each Windows server to a central DataCore STAR server for safekeeping. In addition, the Window’s host-resident software speeds up applications by caching repeated disk requests locally from high-speed server memory.

If an application server in the farm goes down, another server can resume its operations by retrieving a current copy of its data drive from the central DataCore STAR server. The DataCore STAR server also offloads replication requests across the farm. It can take centralized snapshots of the data drives and remotely replicate all critical data to a remote disaster recovery site. The solution has the added benefit of automatically redirecting requests to the central DataCore STAR server when a local server data drive is inaccessible.

Compatible with Windows Server 2008 R2 and Hyper-V

Physical machines hosting standalone applications under Windows Server 2008 R2 as well as systems hosting multiple virtual machines under Microsoft Hyper-V can take advantage of the data protection and performance enhancement benefits. The DataCore STAR HA software is compatible with, and completely transparent to Windows server applications including Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint, and line-of-business applications.

The business continuity solution is centrally managed from a Microsoft Management Console (MMC) plug-in that can run directly on the DataCore STAR server or on a separate PC. Once installed, the DataCore STAR host software runs transparently across all the application hosts and automatically discovers their data drives, implements caching, and sets up the mirror protected copies.

Other DataCore STAR HA benefits include:

  • Enables other servers in the Windows server farm to independently access mirrored copies when authorized

  • Restores a replacement drive using the mirrored disk copy

  • Replicates the mirrored disk offsite for disaster recovery purposes

  • Generates point-in-time snapshots of the mirrored disks

  • Thin provisions replicas occupy less disk space on the central DataCore STAR server

The DataCore STAR HA software supporting multiple servers is available now, starting at $9,000 U.S. More information is available at www.datacore.com.