DataCore Serves Up Virtualization for Midmarket

By providing failover and mirroring over standard Ethernet connections, DataCore's SANMelody 2.0 offers more affordable backup for midsized companies.

DataCore has released a new version of its SANMelody disk server software with iSCSI capability and more virtualization features.

SANMelody 2.0 now provides the ability to perform high-end failover and mirroring between two SANMelody disk servers over iSCSI, either via Ethernet or a LAN. The first version, introduced last year, only provided those capabilities over Fibre Channel.

The main reason for the change, said George Teixeira, president of the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. company, was to appeal not only to DataCore Software Corp.s traditional enterprise customer base, but to midsized companies that traditionally have not been able to afford high-end features.

"The techniques for doing failover typically are complex and expensive, and we found that most users trying to use SANMelody typically buy standard PC servers. We wanted to take this down-market as much as possible, so we made the technology work over standard Ethernet connections that come with all PCs," he said.

"Just by doing that, costs really come down, yet you dont have to give up enterprise-level failover capabilities," Teixeira said.

The new version also provides something Teixeira calls "virtual capacity"—a way of providing very large, multiterabyte virtual disks to application servers.

This technique allows storage to be deployed without having to shut down systems when applications run out of space. The system can be set up to serve up very large SATA, iSCSI or Fibre Channel disks to different servers, where they automatically serve disk space as needed.

"If you have a 160G drive on your PC, youll see 10 2TB disks appear as icons on your system," Teixeira said. "With virtualization, you can stay hidden from the pool of storage in the background, while one administrator in the background can be adding disks to a common pool of storage, which can serve disks not only to Windows but to Linux, Mac, Novell, or to any flavor of Unix."

/zimages/6/28571.gifRead details here about Microsofts commitment to lowering IT management costs through server virtualization.

The products virtual capacity capabilities are unique enough to differentiate it, said Mike Kahn, managing director of The Clipper Group Inc. in Wellesley, Mass.

"In a block world, which is the way most storage is accessed, you set aside an amount of storage and assign it a name. Then, when you run out, you have problems because you have to repartition the disk or create another partition and split up the data. But by virtualizing it, applications dont have to stop and you dont have to repartition while youre increasing your storage capacity," Kahn said.

/zimages/6/28571.gifClick here to read more about storage virtualization offerings from IBM, NetApp and Hitachi.

SANMelody 2.0 also offers a new Microsoft Windows volume pass-through feature that allows administrators to more easily migrate, import and manage existing live data residing on Windows file system volumes.

The product also includes enhanced support for key Windows Server 2003 Storage Services, such as VDS (Virtual Disk Services), VSS (Volume Shadow Copy Services) and MPIO (Multipath I/O). Other features include enhanced support for Microsoft Windows Storage Server platforms and Microsoft Clusters and more iSCSI and IP SAN (storage area network) security features for better protection of the network from security threats.

DataCores pursuit of the mass market with SANMelody 2.0 makes good business sense, Kahn said.

"Lots of [vendors] are doing virtualization or pooling. But how many of them are doing it bundled with an inexpensive RAID controller?" he said. "By going to the mass market, they are exposing people to a really nice solution with an entry point that may get people to try it."

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