|Home > > News > Virtualized storage delivers business continuity and more||
DCS UK Data storage and IT management:
Stikeman Elliott was also able to get more out of its existing storage investments: both higher performance and a longer service life. SANsymphony-V can combine any storage – from storage area networks (SANs) to re-purposed SCSI drives on an x86 server – into a single, easily-managed high-performance virtual storage pool with auto-tiering.
Committed to Server VirtualizationStikeman Elliott’s IT team includes two network systems groups – one in Montreal, and the other in Toronto. Stikeman Elliott has heavily invested in IT and has committed itself to server virtualization in order to support the firm’s leading-edge knowledge management and project management systems. Today, 100 percent of their storage capacity is devoted to virtualized server data. However, backing up the virtual machines had become a serious challenge; backing up the whole pool of virtual servers to tape or disk could take anywhere from 24 to 48 hours or days. Marco Magini, a network systems specialist at Stikeman Elliott, was tasked to find a better way to speed up the process.
Looking for Faster Backups, Finding High Availability and a Lot More“The firm had plenty of physical storage available, so it was not storage virtualization per se that was of paramount interest to us,” Magini says. “We were focused on reducing the time it took to back up and recover our virtual servers.”
IT solutions provider and DataCore Software reseller partner THConsultants suggested DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor to solve this problem. SANsymphony-V is a software-as-infrastructure platform. It improves availability, performance and efficiency with an active, transparent and intelligent storage virtualization layer that unites all of an organization’s diverse storage assets into a single virtual pool. “DataCore’s solutions enhance our customers’ infrastructure by enabling far greater performance, availability, and redundancy,” explained Jean Lefort, Sales Director, THConsultants. “DataCore provides the storage virtualization software layer required for the success of our server and desktop virtualization projects.”
With DataCore’s storage hypervisor, Magini found more than he’d expected. First off, the extensive data protection capabilities built into SANsymphony-V not only reduced virtual machine backup time to zero but made tape backup unnecessary.
“With DataCore’s high-availability capability, we have circumvented the need for back-ups with true business continuity,” explains Magini. “If the main storage goes down, the secondary storage that is already active will pick up the full load in seconds,” he says.
A third SANsymphony-V server in Toronto also strengthens Stikeman Elliott’s disaster recovery (DR) strategy with remote site asynchronous IP mirroring to make sure critical application data in the firm’s offices is safe against large-scale events. Eventually, the firm intends to extend the DataCore platform to support more applications.
“We started slowly,” says Magini, “but as we became more familiar with the intelligence and stability of the DataCore storage hypervisor, we put more and more mission-critical systems on top of it and now have almost all of our systems behind it. We have every confidence that SANsymphony-V can handle anything we give it.”
Orphaned Disks Make a New SAN to Get More From Storage Investments
This not only gave Stikeman Elliot more efficient management of existing storage arrays and SANs, but meant a continued career for almost two cabinet’s worth of orphaned disks. Magini has repurposed about 50 SCSI drives ranging from 72 to 300 GB in size by connecting them to the DataCore servers, ending up with an extra 10TB of storage. To applications, these disks, by themselves incapable of network operation, are now a seamless part of the virtual storage infrastructure created by the DataCore platform right alongside the SANs. With DataCore’s thin provisioning, applications immediately get just the right size virtual disks needed from the storage pool without burdening IT with storage management details.
“We can literally use disks or storage systems until they die – until the last spindle,” adds Magini. “Because we have redundancy that is seamless and transparent, we can get every last second of use out of what we have.”
DataCore has also made Stikeman Elliott independent of the server platform their storage hypervisor runs on. “The beauty of DataCore’s software-based storage virtualization is that it doesn’t dictate to the customer or the IT solutions provider what platform the software has to run on,” explains Lefort. “The customer chooses the platform – in this case, HP ProLiant machines – based on their own experience and preferences. DataCore gives them latitude to choose the brand, the model and the size of the server that becomes the storage controller.”
|White Paper Downloads|
Keep up to date with the latest industry products, services and technologies from the world's leading IT companies.