TFD15 Primer: Datacore

DataCore_LogoDataCore Software is presenting at their first Tech Field Day event, which I find somewhat surprising. I find this surprising as the company was founded in 1998. Their flagship product, SANsymphony was first released in 2011. When you consider this, as well as the fact their flagship product is a storage virtualization platform, you can likely see where I am coming from. The idea of software-based storage solutions clearly isn’t a new one. However, in the past few years, these types of solutions have gone from fringe use-cases to the mainstream.

LOOKING THROUGH WINDOWS TO GET TO YOUR STORAGE

One of the characteristics that stood out to me the first time SANsymphony was brought to my attention was that it requires a Windows Server to run on. In a world where storage virtualization runs at the hypervisor-level (e.g. vSAN), or bare metal (e.g. ioFABRICΒ on a physical node), this seems like an odd choice. The good news is that I am sure this will be a topic which we will touch on.

There definitely are some potential benefits I can see to this approach though. For example, why re-invent the operating system if you don’t need to? To say that Windows is a wide-spread operating system is probably an understatement. Along with such a large footprint comes a large list of drivers for hardware. Think of all the various HBA cards, network cards, etc., that have drivers for Windows. Now take into account that a product like SANsymphony doesn’t need to provide those drivers. That immediately eliminates a ton of development overhead.

Now also think about the benefits of being able to tell a customer that your product will likely work in their environment; not only will it work, but chances are you can use your existing hardware. This is where you can start to see the logic to this approach. Of course, there might be other reasons which we may uncover – you’ll need to tune in to find that out. Since it runs in Windows, you may also find yourself in a situation where you don’t need a dedicated storage admin.

THOUGHTS

DataCore-FeatureSetOne of the great things about software-based solutions is that if you need a feature, chances are you can write code to accomplish it. With CPUs not slowing down anytime soon, and with the number of cores on a chip increasingly going in an upward trend, CPU cycles can be cheap. Because of this, SANsymphony is a feature-full solution. All of the features that you would expect to be in there are in there. And once again, through the beauty of software, additional features can be added in the future with new releases.

Because I only know a bit about DataCore, I am quite looking forward to seeing what they bring to the table. I am hoping that we’ll at least touch on what led them down the Windows route. Along with that, what challenges have they faced because of it, and how have they overcome it.

Be sure to pop over to the Tech Field Day page to catch DataCore’s presentation. They will be presenting live Friday, September 29th at 10:30 AM PDT.

Disclaimer: I was invited to participate in Tech Field Day as a delegate. All of my expenses, including food, transportation, and lodging are being covered by Gestalt IT. I did not receive any compensation to write this post, nor was I requested to write this post. Anything written above was on my own accord.

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