DataCore Software Corp. today unveiled SANsymphony-V, its latest storage virtualization software with improvements over its previous SANsymphony and SANmelody applications. SANsymphony-V includes integrated continuous data protection (CDP), faster asynchronous replication and a new GUI that simplifies management tasks.
The purpose of SANsymphony-V is to virtualize storage across pools of heterogeneous tiered storage devices. Although it's a new product, SANsymphony-V is officially called Version 8 (the last version of SANsymphony was 7.0).
SANsymphony-V will replace DataCore's SMB SANmelody and enterprise SANsymphony applications. DataCore said customers can start with a small configuration and scale up by licensing more nodes and storage capacity.
SANsymphony-V gives customers centralized management of features such as virtual disk pooling, synchronous mirroring, high-speed caching, thin provisioning, RAID striping, virtual disk migration and online snapshots.
George Teixeira, DataCore's CEO, said SANsymphony-V addresses problems in environments that have virtualized their servers but find their SANs slow down performance.
"The issue right now is there are a lot of people trying to do virtualization but they're being stopped by storage. It's the unforeseen I/O bottleneck," Teixeira said. "SANsymphony now has an intuitive user environment so you don't need to be a sophisticated storage administrator to use it."
One beta customer said the new GUI dramatically reduced the number of manual steps required to install features such as asynchronous replication , synchronous mirroring or creating LUNs compared to the previous version of SANsymphony.
"If I had to create a LUN in the last version, it would take about 15 steps," said Joseph Stedler, chief technical architect for hosted private cloud service provider External IT. "With the new GUI, it's wizard driven. Now, I can create a LUN and it takes about five steps with the click of a mouse. Basically, it has automated the tasks on the SAN. I just hated the [old] UI."
Jon William Toigo, CEO at consulting firm Toigo Partners International LLC, said the new GUI isn't only cosmetic. It will also help customers map applications to storage and automatically redistribute traffic.
"I'd like to see more data management features in this stuff [but] they are dramatically reducing the cost of storage by eliminating vendor hardware and enabling any disk to be used as part of the virtual storage infrastructure," Toigo said. "It's a way to draw down the costs out of hardware. I call the new interface 'drool-proof.' Any idiot can use it."
External IT's Stedler said it's also more convenient to have CDP built into the SANsymphony-V storage virtualization software. Previously, DataCore customers had to buy the CDP application, Traveller, as an add-on. The new version includes CDP by default. However, the integrated CDP has limitations that weren't part of Traveller.
"It's now integrated and you don't have to buy it as a separate piece," Stedler said. "This gives you the benefit of CDP without having to purchase added software. The only thing is, with the Traveller version, you could go as far back as all your stored information. The new version has a cap of 48 hours. But the limitations probably fit for the vast majority of clients out there. The majority of the people go back for data within a day or two. They don't wait a month to roll back."
DataCore also spent time tweaking its cache system in SANsymphony-V so that end users can boost the performance of their virtualized server environment.
Mark Peters, a senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, said this can help server virtualization customers overcome I/O bottlenecks or single points of failure in their SAN. "They spent a lot of time tweaking the performance of the cache to drive it harder and better for virtualization," he said. "Server virtualization puts stress on the performance and that's why [DataCore] beefed up the cache."
DataCore claims the asynchronous replication in SANsymphony-V is five times faster than in SANsymphony, and includes a "two-click reverse replication" feature to resynchronize data between disaster recovery and local sites after a major disruption.
Pricing starts at under $10,000 for a high availability SANsymphony-V configuration.