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DataCore Unveils Heterogeneous Auto-Tiering Storage

Known for its storage virtualization software, DataCore Software is extending its reach with a device-independent auto-tiering option that is free for existing enterprise customers of its SANsymphony-V product (supporting more than 100 Tytes), priced at $2,000 per node for its mid-range offering. Of particular interest to multivendor storage hardware environments, customers can immediately take advantage by automating and dynamically optimizing tiered storage capacity, says the company. SANsymphony-V customers have reported up to 60% cost savings, and auto-tiering can add savings of 20% or more.

The auto-tiering option provides a layer of intelligence that enables users to ensure that the most critical data is stored in the highest-performing resources (such as solid-state disks), while less-critical data is stored in lower-cost disks. It uses caching to improve the performance of low-end devices to minimize the need to use high-priced SSDs for many high-performance requirements, and works across all vendors and systems, including systems that don't support auto-tiering. That's a big benefit, says DataCore, because it eliminates vendor lock-in.

Storage guru George Crump of Storage Switzerland says automated tiering has an important role, but he doesn't think it is a "must-have". "It is a must-have if you have a performance profile that can take advantage of the performance it can deliver--just like everything else in IT. If you need to broadly increase storage I/O across multiple applications, then automated tiering can provide significant value. If your applications aren't pushing your current storage platform, putting faster storage in won't make that big of a difference. If you are at that wall--and an increasing number of storage managers are, thanks to virtualization, online applications and growing databases--then automated tiering may be a must-have for you."

There are a number of capabilities that SANSymphony has that are very high value, says analyst Randy Kerns, Evaluator Group, and this announcement adds to that with the ability to manage, move and tier across heterogeneous storage. "What this does is give another opportunity to customers to utilize the storage they have more effectively by moving the most active data to the higher-performing storage and less active data to less-performing and less-costly storage. Overall, the storage economics are improved."

Storage tiering is not new, and most of the big storage systems--including EMC FAST and Dell Compellent--have their own version, but Kerns thinks the value of tiering in storage has become more pronounced and understood. "DataCore has added and expanded on this. Virtualizing storage now has another differentiator, which is the tiering."

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