Virtualization Technology News and Information
DataCore Software's SANsymphony-V Storage Hypervisor Delivers Business Continuity, CDP and Automatic Backups to the Cloud Storage Tier at Law Firm Stikeman Elliott

DataCore Software, the industry’s premier provider of storage virtualization software, today announced that Stikeman Elliott LLP, one of Canada’s leading business law firms, with offices in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver as well as London, New York and Sydney, has deployed DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor at their Montreal and Toronto hubs – eliminating the need for traditional tape backups and providing much greater business continuity through high availability (HA) and improved disaster recovery (DR). Stikeman Elliott’s IT team has also made great use of SANsymphony-V’s automated-tiering capability – including utilizing the cloud as yet another data storage tier.

One of the things that Marco Magini, network and systems administrator for Montreal-based Stikeman Elliot LLC, worries most about where storage is concerned is downtime. At one of the largest corporate law firms in the world, it may come as a shock, but the cliché “time is money,” is no joke, said Magini.

“In terms of business continuity or flow, here, time is money, so data has to be available 24/7. I know everywhere it’s the same, but here, downtime costs a lot. When you do the math on cost for the lawyers’ fee and the legal assistant and everything else, we need to keep the data up and running all the time. No disruption at all,” he said.

The full case study is available here:

“This one investment in DataCore provided a very cost effective way for us to meet or exceed several business goals,” states Magini. “Backup is no longer an issue. We’ve improved our resilience in the face of disaster. Best of all, combined with a robust vSphere HA infrastructure spread across two physical sites with multi-pathing, SANsymphony-V’s high availability gives us non-stop business operations. All this, plus we realized both higher performance and a higher return from our existing storage investments.”

Committed to Server Virtualization

Stikeman Elliott has completely 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 supporting virtualized server data. When Stikeman Elliot first began adopting server virtualization they found backing up a very time-consuming chore as 24 to 48 hours were required for the entire virtual server pool. Magini and his team were tasked to find a way to speed up the process.

Looking for Faster Backups, Finding High Availability and much More

IT solutions provider and reseller/partner, THConsultants, suggested DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor to solve Stikeman Elliot’s problem. A software-as-infrastructure platform, the solution improved availability, performance and efficiency with an active, transparent and intelligent storage virtualization layer that united all 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 at THConsultants. “SANsymphony-V provides the storage virtualization software layer required for the success of our server and desktop virtualization projects.”

DataCore’s storage hypervisor exceeded Magini’s expectations by eliminating backup time as well as the need for unreliable backup tapes.

Zero-Time Backups and Business Continuity with Continuous Data Protection

DataCore’s Continuous Data Protection (CDP) guards against data corruption with the ability to roll the storage state back to a specific write. Furthermore, SANsymphony-V provides high availability based on synchronous mirroring and transparent failover to protect against local failures. The Montreal office hosts two SANsymphony-V synchronously-mirrored nodes linked via Fibre Channel. The secondary node represents a perfect copy of the main virtual SAN provided by the storage hypervisor – with CDP, effectively an automatic write-granular backup. Backup time is zero and there is no need to manage a backup schedule.

A third SANsymphony-V server in Toronto also strengthens Stikeman Elliott’s disaster recovery strategy with remote site replication to mirror key data and make sure critical applications are safe against large-scale events or business interruptions.

Getting More from Storage Investments and Better Performance

Stikeman Elliott was also able to extend the life of and gain higher performance capabilities and utilization from their existing storage investments. DataCore empowered Stikeman Elliott to gain independence from the hardware storage devices and server platforms supporting their storage hypervisor because SANsymphony-V can combine any storage – from SANs to storage arrays to re-purposed directly attached SCSI drives on an x86 server – into a single, easily-managed virtual storage pool that can be optimized and provisioned with thin provisioning and intelligent auto-tiering.

Powerful New Options for Managing Data: Using Cloud Storage as another Storage Tier

DataCore’s SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor is unique in its ability to provide an architecture that manages, optimizes and spans all the different price-points and performance levels of electronic and mechanical storage, including electronic memory, SSDs, disk devices and cloud storage tiers. Among its comprehensive features is advanced automated tiering of disks. This option automatically relocates disk blocks among pools of different storage devices, keeping demanding workloads operating at peak speeds. Less critical and infrequently accessed disk blocks naturally gravitate towards lower cost disks.

With the transparent integration of a cloud gateway as part of the DataCore storage hypervisor, DataCore customers like Stikeman Elliot can benefit and use what they believe are on-premise iSCSI disks for backups but whose contents are actually located remotely with the cloud storage provider of their choice. This allows less critically tiered storage, backups and archived data to be cost-effectively placed in cloud storage that can grow almost limitlessly and with pay-as-you-go tiers, while offering additional savings in space, power and cooling.

“Although we started out looking for a solution to a backup problem, we ended up with far more,” says Magini. “We started slowly, 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.”

Case Study

For a complete case study on Stikeman Elliott, please go visit:

Published Tuesday, December 13, 2011 12:19 PM by David Marshall
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