DataCore Software powers DBV-Winterthur's virtual storage system

Source: DataCore Software

DataCore Software today announced that DBV-Winterthur, one of the largest insurance groups in Germany, has implemented a highly available virtual storage solution and resource usage analysis system based on DataCore's SANsymphony and SANmaestro software.

DBV-Winterthur needed a solution that made it affordable to add capacity to meet its yearly data growth and would add centralized storage management while maintaining the highest levels of storage protection across its two remotely located storage area networks (SANs). Furthermore, to achieve their desired response levels, the company wanted to implement a campus wide virtual SAN for flexibility and importantly it had to overcome the performance degradation associated with combining their two existing and separate computer center SANs. By implementing SANsymphony, a hardware independent, virtualization solution along with performance acceleration technologies, the insurer has met these objectives and has been able to affordably enlarge the capacity of their SAN with storage subsystems that cost about one-fifth of what was paid previously for their enterprise-class RAID arrays.

The bottom-line for this global insurer is that it achieved higher levels of data protection, greater productivity through centralized storage management across two computer centers and much faster performance and response times for their diverse application workloads due to the addition of SANsymphony.
DBV-Winterthur had in place two computer centers spanning different buildings, and each center had its own SAN with top end enterprise disk subsystems comprised of HDS Lightning 9960's. As a trusted insurance provider, the requirement for high availability, data protection and fail-safe operation of IT systems are at an extraordinarily high level.

Therefore, all the data had to be mirrored and this caused a significant performance loss between the computer centers. New SAP applications, the enhancement of the content management FileNet systems, as well as the integration of additional Exchange servers that are accessed by several thousand users, pushed the existing systems beyond their limits. The growth of users and applications wound up exceeding the capacity and performance of the installed systems.

System vendor Kramer and Crew in Cologne suggested integrating the two SANs into one consistent, virtual management platform with DataCore's SANsymphony. Instead of adding another high-end and costly system, such as HDS Lightning, two considerably cheaper HDS Thunder 9585V machines could augment the SAN to handle the capacity growth. The SANsymphony intelligent storage domain software then could manage and accelerate the storage pools and enable the mirroring of data between the disk arrays without a loss in performance.

"We needed the flexibility of virtualization and the ability to achieve centralized storage management with functions such as snapshots and fast synchronous mirroring. SANsymphony met all these demands," explained Peter Seitz-McIntyre, Head of IT at DBV-Winterthur. "At the same time, we increased our productivity and savings. We noticed that the synchronous mirroring between the HDS Thunder and Lightning, which hadn't been possible at all before, was now a reality using SANsymphony and best of all it was even faster than the original mirroring between the high-end devices."

DataCore's virtualization solution enables the integration of disk capacity in a virtual storage pool that nearly 50 servers can easily access when needed. Two SANsymphony-powered storage domain servers are located at each center but work together to centralize the storage management of over 30 TBs of storage. The storage domain servers can automatically serve capacity to any needy server at DBV-Winterthur. Additional functions like snapshots, synchronous data replication and asynchronous mirroring over IP as well as remote mirror system failover are responsible for the high availability of the data.

"We have proved the performance of the DataCore solution in numerous projects," said Servet Buyuk, sales representative, Kramer and Crew.
"SANsymphony simplifies storage management and enhances storage performance.
What we deployed at DBV-Winterthur based on DataCore technology was an affordable solution that met their demands and provided functionality comparable to the highest-end solutions. Without SANsymphony, it would have cost DBV-Winterthur multiple times more to do what they needed."

Analysis and forecasting with SANmaestro

In addition to the auto-provisioning of storage capacity, which enables all the storage in the storage pools to be allocated across the SANs, DBV- Winterthur selected DataCore's optional analysis tool SANmaestro to analyze their overall storage requirements and resource utilization. SANmaestro is able to record and chart performance data, capacity and frequency of use at a particular time as well as over extended periods, enabling DBV-Winterthur to trend and monitor performance hotspots, poor utilization, and to improve system use and predictability.

"Large companies in the finance and insurance sectors can gain tremendously from the benefits of virtualization. Therefore, we are very pleased that DBV-Winterthur, a leader in the field has realized the value of deploying and using our SANsymphony virtualization platform," said Christian Hagen, Regional Director at DataCore. "Many companies, especially those with a proprietary or heterogeneous mix of storage systems, don't have the ability to leverage their IT environment's potential and end up wasting a great deal of resources. SANsymphony enables hardware independence and functionality that is available network-wide, bringing storage services to a new level that maximizes the overall infrastructure. SANmaestro helps by providing the tools to further optimize performance and resources and by simplifying usage billing and accounting."

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