New flash-optimized DataCore SANsymphony-V targets VMware VSAN

Storage virtualization veteran DataCore makes SANsymphony-V software flash-friendly and gets ready for VMware's move on the virtual SAN market.

DataCore Software this week added flash optimization features to its SANsymphony-V storage virtualization software. With SANsymphony-V10, DataCore is ready to take on virtual SAN newcomer VMware.

DataCore SANsymphony-V performance and capacity capabilities have been increased, doubling the number of nodes supported from 16 to 32. It can pool up to 32 PB of capacity, scale to 50 million IOPS, and offers metro-wide N-plus 1 grid data protection.

DataCore said SANsymphony-V10 can now self-tune flash and minimize flash wear by allocating the right amount of flash to a specific workload. It also enables flash to be mirrored for high availability to non-flash devices, and its in-memory caching can speed application workloads and optimize write performance.

SANsymphony-V10 runs on x86 servers to create a shared storage pool out of internal flash and disk storage that are available to that server. It also includes plug-ins for VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V hypervisors.

DataCore CEO George Teixeira said SANsymphony-V10 has much greater reach than VMware's recently announced Virtual SAN (VSAN) software, which also turns commodity hardware into shared storage.

"VMware VSAN works only with VMware vSphere and only in the host," Teixeira said. "What I'm seeing is a world of isolated islands of storage. Each commercial vendor is driving divergent approaches and creating isolated storage islands."

Randy Kerns, a senior strategist at Evaluator Group, said DataCore brings a much more mature product offering in the virtual storage area network (SAN) space compared to other vendors' newer products.

"They have an interesting argument to make," Kerns said. "The product now can manage server-side flash. It can manage direct-attached storage and SAN-attached storage. It gives you a virtual SAN with many different storage capabilities.

"One of the big things about DataCore is it has had a product offering since 1998 and they have a mature set of features," he continued. "DataCore has been competing with IBM's [SAN Volume Controller] SVC, but now they can compete with VMware VSAN."

VMware's VSAN became generally available in March as a software download or as a shipment on pre-packaged Ready Nodes from partners such as Cisco, Dell, IBM and Supermicro. VSAN allows customers to pool capacity and compute from servers running VMware's vSphere.

DataCore's Teixeira said SANsymphony-V10 supports flash from Fusion-io, Skyera, Toshiba OCZ and Violin Memory. The DataCore SANsymphony-V software automatically assigns either flash or lower-cost devices to each workload, depending on its needs.

"Only 5% to 10% of workloads need high-speed flash," Teixeira said. "The software has to be smart enough to see that a database needs flash. Vendors want people to think flash is the great panacea that solves all problems, but it has to coexist with the existing storage."

DataCore offers license packages targeted for different use cases. One license model is priced at $4,000 per server.

"Just add one instance of each server and you're golden," Teixeira said. "You have a vSAN federated with traditional storage."

Multinode DataCore SANsymphony-V10 licenses start in the $10,000 to $25,000 range. DataCore is also offering a virtual SAN package at $4,000 per server that includes auto-tiering, adaptive read-write caching from DRAM, storage pooling, synchronous mirroring, thin provisioning and snapshots. SANsymphony-V10 is scheduled to be generally available May 30.

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