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Synchronet Picks DataCore Software to Provide Storage Virtualization to Davis Hamilton Jackson & Associates and Northwest Assistance Ministries
DataCore Software, a leading provider of storage virtualization software, today announced that new partner Synchronet is seeing unprecedented success by putting DataCore in the center of all virtualization projects. “The bottom-line for our customers is that DataCore gives them a very cost-effective entrance into virtualization,” states Gordon Wingate, president, Synchronet. “Storage has always been the piece of the virtualization puzzle that makes virtualization a big investment to bite off for most companies. DataCore has changed that – making the storage aspect both cost-effective and highly reliable.” 

Synchronet customer – Northwest Assistance Ministries  

With DataCore storage virtualization software, customers gain storage hardware flexibility and improved disk space utilization. Importantly, DataCore users do not have to spend a lot of time and money ripping out and replacing perfectly good disks to set up a shared storage infrastructure. A case in point is Northwest Assistance Ministries (www.namonline.org), a new DataCore and Synchronet customer. 

Northwest Assistance Ministries (NAM) is a one hundred-person staffed, community-based, non-profit organization that provides nine critical social services programs to the Houston area – offering a food bank, a clothing store, a women’s shelter, a children’s learning clinic, a basic human services program, meals on wheels, senior services,  and more . Rather than each church in northwest Houston duplicating services when it comes to caring for the underprivileged, the churches formed NAM as a cooperative in which they could pool their resources to offer these necessary services collectively to roughly 120,000 households. 

What prompted NAM to “go virtual” was the fact that the IT Department knew it needed to do a hardware refresh and was looking at a very cost-effective way to migrate to an infrastructure that was easier to manage so that they could cut operating costs. The IT team at NAM comments that prior to DataCore they were having persistent problems with their tape backup drive failures. The team was looking for a solution to provide consistent backups for all of the organization’s databases as well as local disk drive data.  

“We are absolutely devoted to doing the most with the funds we are given,” explains Pampi Bartels, IT director, Northwest Assistance Ministries. “DataCore has provided the answer for us – dramatically increasing our backup ability as well as serving as a cornerstone of our virtualization environment and our continuity plan going forward.” 

NAM has migrated physical servers to VMware – virtualizing multiple servers thus far onto a VMware host platform (an HP DL185), supported by a DataCore SAN that also runs on an HP DL185 server. Now the donor database, the volunteer database (both Blackbaud Raiser's Edge), the financial database (Blackbaud Financial Edge) and a client database all run on the virtualized infrastructure along with SQL server and Microsoft Office. 

Synchronet customer – Davis Hamilton Jackson & Associates  

DataCore storage virtualization software lets users provision, share, reconfigure, migrate, replicate, expand and upgrade storage without slowdowns or downtime. It eliminates storage-related disruptions, performance bottlenecks and funding roadblocks that jeopardize virtualization projects. A case in point is Davis Hamilton Jackson & Associates – “DHJA” – (www.dhja.com), another new DataCore and Synchronet customer. Houston-based DHJA is an institutional asset management firm founded in 1988. Along with many other Houston-based businesses, DHJA started to reassess its business continuity strategy after Hurricane Ike hit in September of 2008. Along with these continuity needs, the firm had a number of physical servers that were “end of life.” DHJA knew it needed the business continuity and it knew that it had to replace aging hardware.  

Prior to becoming a DataCore partner, Synchronet introduced the financial services firm to virtualization and put a plan together that initially involved deploying a traditional, hardware-based storage area network (SAN). Once the economic downturn hit in full force, however, the firm could not cost-justify paying the high cost of a hardware-based SAN.  

Business Continuity-driven: Meeting Business Objectives with DataCore

“Once we had engaged with DataCore as a partner and understood the power of portable, software-based, storage virtualization, we revisited the project with DHJA and informed them that we could do the entire virtualization project for the cost of what the hardware SAN alone would have cost,” explains Wingate. “The upshot is that we have been able to deploy a total virtualization deployment encompassing both virtualized servers using VMware as well as virtualized storage with DataCore for what a traditional hardware SAN would cost.”

Now DHJA has fully virtualized VMware servers running on two hosts. An HP DL185 server runs DataCore SANmelody as the SAN, serving up storage to those two VMware hosts. These virtualized servers reside in Synchronet’s data center, whereas one server still resides at DHJA’s main location for Active Directory domain control.

In total, eleven (11) physical servers have been reduced now to just four as a result of this virtualization initiative. The system is currently running 11 virtual machines (VMs) and supports a user community of 30 users. A 20 megabyte (MB) metro fiber connection connects DHJA to the data center.

Very shortly, this deployment will encompass VMware virtualization workstations too, which is currently in a pilot project. Once that goes live, wherever DHJA employees are working they will be able to access their systems through this fully virtualized, Synchronet-hosted IT infrastructure.

“DataCore has been the solution to a substantial cost versus needs conundrum for DHJA,” comments Gary Montgomery, IT Director, Davis Hamilton Jackson & Associates. “The financial markets do not pause because Houston is facing a major storm or because our building happens to be on fire. We have to move when the market moves and downtime is simply not an option when you are managing billions of dollars of someone else’s money. DataCore and Synchronet have given us a cost effective means of meeting the needs of our clients without compromising the quality of our hardware, the integrity of our data, or our ability to provide business continuity under all conditions.”

Virtualization’s Third Dimension – Storage Virtualization

“By switching over to the DataCore model the whole project became incredibly cost-effective,” concludes Wingate. “For the cost of just replacing a few servers, DHJA now has a full, high-availability infrastructure. DataCore has made embracing virtualization a very easy decision for this customer.” What Synchronet has recognized is that DataCore storage virtualization software overcomes the major storage-related obstacles and upheaval that slow down or stop virtualization projects from getting off the ground or being successful when deploying a virtual infrastructure.

Link: DataCore Takes Virtualization to the 3rd Dimension.

Published Wednesday, April 21, 2010 1:07 PM by David Marshall
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