DataCore SANsymphony

(10)
4.3 out of 5 stars

SANsymphony-V solves the “Big Problem” standing in the way of your virtualization projects.

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DataCore review by <span>Jay M.</span>
Jay M.
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SANsymphony in a nutshell

What do you like best?

The software is very intuitive and smart. All features are logical and can be customized at will. It is very suitable to our solution as an active/active configuration.

What do you dislike?

The only downfall of software is the inability to support the users when the platform it is on is the issue. I was once let down by the datacore support team when they turn down my request to be assisted on a install that yielded an HBA issue. The fix was eventually discovered by myself as to logically install the software in a particular order.

Recommendations to others considering the product

There is no other choice...

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I have a storage that did not have the front end to use as an API or serve with. Datacore can be use to with multiple storage mixed with multiple brand.

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DataCore review by <span>Damon D.</span>
Damon D.
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Solid solution if you want to save money on storage yet have a fully featured SAN

What do you like best?

This solution allows the use off-the-shelf hardware and charges by the TB of storage. So we can throw in our own enterprise-class hardware (including SSDs) and not pay any extra based on the type of storage we use. This is the same model used with server virtualization. Keep the hardware separate from software. This is true "storage virtualization" at it's finest. The software over the years has matured to be a very robust and allows you to build a very high performing storage platform. It has all the features of any high-end SAN such as fibre channel, iSCSI, thin provisioning, storage tiering, snapshots, continuous data protection/recovery synchronous and asynchronous mirroring, performance reporting/graphing, true HA design.

You can utilise just about any storage you wish with this product such as another SAN, NAS, JBOD, FusionIO etc. If Windows can see it as a non-removable drive, you can use it with SANsymphony. Also, you can use this to mirror any of these various types of storage which is awesome for migration. Say you have an HP SAN and you want to migrate off it to your own JBOD type storage or you have 2 sites with 2 different storage SANs that you want to replicate data between. With DataCore, it is possible to mix and match just about any storage platform you want to use.

The system is designed to run on top of Windows Server OS (which can be virtual or physical) and can utilise the server's RAM to provide disk cache. This makes our 7.2K storage run really fast and allows us to use a bottom tier class of drive and get the performance of a much higher class of drive. Alos if we have to add capacity or replace drives we can just order replacement drives off the web saving us quite a bit of money. Of course, we still use "enterprise-class" drives but we don't pay through the nose to buy hardware. If we want to upgrade the Ethernet ports from 1Gb to 10Gb we just do it. Same goes for FC. If we want to upgrade from 4Gb FC to 16Gb, we don't have to do a forklift upgrade. We just buy the HBAs and we're off the to races.

The other great thing is DataCore keeps their product on VMware's approve HCL. So even if you have a SAN that falls off the HCL with VMware. If you put the storage behind DataCore you won't have to worry about VMware's HCL any longer. Because of this fundamental practice, DataCore was one of the first storage vendors to support vVOLs.

Support is OUTSTANDING and they release new updates and features frequently (sometimes almost too frequently).

What do you dislike?

There's very little that I can find in their software that I would say I dislike. Sometimes the updates are too frequent and just as we finish updating all our sites another update comes out. Due to the many, many various options for what hardware to use, sometimes it is difficult trying to figure out what hardware options are the best for the money. DataCore can help a bit with this but because they only are the software side of the solution they tend to not prefer one hardware vendor over another (they get along with everyone). They do have good documentation that covers known issues with various hardware items.

Currently, SANsymphony does HA with just 2 sets of mirrored drives/RAID sets over FC or iSCSI. It would be interesting to see if in the future they can stripe the data across 3 or more nodes to create an n+1 type configuration.

While their console allows you to connect to each of the nodes without closing the interface you have to log out and in when you switch between a different storage server groups. It would be nice if they had an interface more like vCenter to where you see all server group in a list and can just click on each group. It would be nice to be able to see multiple groups at the same time.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Obtain DCIE certification before installation, provide ample time for hardware testing/storage burn-in. Follow all DataCore's procedures for testing and certification the installation.

If possible, use Fibre Channel. iSCSI is OK but more complex and not as fast due to the overhead of TCP headers.

If it's a small site with only a couple of ESX hosts and 2 DataCore storage servers running in HA use direct connect Fibre Channel (FC switches are not needed for smaller configurations as long as you have enough ports. With quad-port HBAs that's easy to do).

Pick a storage server with lots of PCIe slots, decent CPUs and as much RAM as you can afford to help with disk caching.

Use a dedicated UPS on each of the storage servers to protect disk caching.

Don't bother with non-mirrored drives. At this cost, HA is the only way to go in my book.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Flexibility, performance and cost savings are the three biggest benefits for us. For sure, we would not have been able to afforded to virtualize all our locations without this product.

What Storage Management solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
DataCore review by <span>Brent E.</span>
Brent E.
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DataCore SanSymphony Review

What do you like best?

Storage protection, geographic features, caching, use whatever storage equipment you can find

What do you dislike?

We've had issues with Microsoft's iSCSI interface, buffer iSCSI resets, some issues with the software crashing-which primarily have been resolved. We had a ticket that was a year + opened.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Have familiarity with Microsoft iSCSI. Have backdoors implemented in-case of a complete DataCore failure. Keep updated on patches. Have good cabling, switching & routing infrastructure in place and this should ensure a good environment.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Geographic Distant Data Centers, storage redundancy

DataCore review by <span>Michael L.</span>
Michael L.
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Satisfied DataCore SAN Symphony customer

What do you like best?

Ease of use and intuitive interface. Very solid and stable environment. Relatively trouble free and low maintenance.

What do you dislike?

One has to be smarter than me to configure some of the networking. That's not a real high bar........

Recommendations to others considering the product

Don't hesitate to use support. Everyone we've worked with so far has been very professional, thorough and knowledgeable about the product.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We like the ability to manage our virtual environment seamlessly.We also like the rock solid and relatively trouble free environment.

DataCore review by Administrator in Defense & Space
Administrator in Defense & Space
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DataCore provided high performance storage for over 300 developer virtual machines in our datacenter

What do you like best?

Software-defined storage is the future. By decoupling the hardware from the storage software, we were able to choose the best hardware at the lowest price while ensuring enterprise-grade storage was provided to our end users. The in-memory mirroring from DataCore allows for incredible performance with all-SATA mixed SSD/HDD drive configurations where other products simply do not perform.

What do you dislike?

Understanding the reasons behind a windows-only solution, which ensures maximum compatibility with a variety of hardware, a linux-based solution would have been nice as it aligns with a lot of our existing automation tools such as Ansible (most of our roles/plays are already written for Linux). The limitations behind an HA-paring (mirroring) of nodes could also be better suited by a distributed mesh topology, similar to SolidFire and ScaleIO, to allow for better recovery from a degraded state and scalable performance.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Work closely with your DataCore rep to make sure performance requirements are understood to properly identify drive types/sizes within each tier. Make sure to fully understand some of the limitations of tiering vs all-Flash solutions, regardless of what any vendor says.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

The ability to right-size a storage cluster based on current need and grow as required lowers the total cost of ownership to our business. With a traditional SAN we are often required to purchase upfront all storage, plus special-purpose controllers, in order to satisfy the performance needs of our users. By growing as required we save money and get the performance we need when we need it.

DataCore review by <span>Tommy B.</span>
Tommy B.
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This is a good SAN alternative

What do you like best?

You take your cheap server, add cheap hard drive, and create a low-level SAN. A lot of enterprise feature

What do you dislike?

The tiering work like crap. You need a lot of SSD disk to use the tiering. You can have a lot of tier level, but the first level of SSD needs to handle the full mapping. If you don't have any SSD, don't use tiering! I tried using 15k, 10k and 7.2k drives, and it was SO SLOW! faster to have only 7.2k drives.

It is very expansive, better to go with a real SAN for better value and performance.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you need cheap storage, it MAY be an option, but if you want advanced feature, with PERFORMANCE, it's not cheap.

One of the key feature is creating a lot of tier. If you can afford TB of SSD, you can than create tier with 15k, 10k, 7.2k, NAS, Cloud, etc. Meaning that your unused files will move to the archive without having anything to do... very NICE!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We want a lot of non-expansive disk spaces. SANsymphony is supposed to make it possible.

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