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Amnet Technology Solutions enlists DataCore Software’s SANsymphony-V Storage Hypervisor to further its Cloud Platform

Longtime service provider customer uses DataCore to meet demand for offsite Replication and Disaster Recovery; Saves 30 Percent over purpose-built backup systems.


Date: 15 Mar 2012

DataCore Software says that long time US customer, Amnet Technology Solutions, has deployed the latest version of its SANsymphony™-V storage hypervisor (version 8.1) to meet an increasing demand for offsite replication and disaster recovery. A cloud based IT and audio/video technology service provider (SP), Amnet enlisted DataCore’s newest technology to build a scalable, easy-to-use backup and replication platform that rivals the speed of purpose-built backup systems at a cost savings of 30 percent.

“We looked at a lot of backup appliances and found they can be very expensive, particularly when you get in the 100 terabyte range,” explained Ed Walsh, director of engineering at Amnet Technology Solutions. “DataCore’s SANsymphony-V can replicate remotely to any device. The performance acceleration it offers shrinks backup times, allowing many more jobs to be completed in a specific window. Furthermore, the cost savings - compared to the purpose-built solutions we evaluated - is phenomenal.”

The DataCore SANsymphony-V storage hypervisor enhances the value of diverse storage resources by unifying advanced services, such as provisioning, auto-tiering, replication and performance acceleration, through a common storage virtualisation layer. Foremost in Amnet’s recent deployment, SANsymphony-V provided the ability to compress replication that supports a diverse set of backend storage devices, making it easy and cost-effective for the SP to integrate direct disk backup and offsite replication across its entire cloud computing grid for much improved resilience against disaster.

Through a combination of deduplication technology from Veeam Software, and the speed benefit of writing to a dedicated SANsymphony-V “backup” node, Amnet’s new platform was able to achieve very high performance levels even with 2 terabyte drives. Additionally, SANsymphony-V serves as a remote site replication facility and can therefore accommodate the needs of large enterprise and wholesale clients that sign up for Amnet’s DataCore as-a-service offering; a very cost-effective option that also allows other cloud SP clients to replicate their environments.

“I’ve never seen a product as versatile as DataCore’s storage hypervisor,” added Walsh. “Performance acceleration gives us more ‘bang’ for our storage buck. We get a disaster-proof backup and replication system at a fraction of the cost. And, the ability to change SAN storage vendors at any time gives us the future-proofing on tech investments we need to support continued rapid growth.”

Since 2009, Amnet has relied on DataCore’s storage virtualisation software to get the most from its VMware and EMC environments, and make the move to cloud computing. From the outset, the software provided a 2X performance boost to their storage arrays for optimum ROI. This initial platform is based on VMware running on Hewlett Packard (HP) blades, with EMC, HP and other storage systems managed by DataCore. All storage tiers are unified by DataCore’s technology into a pool of virtual storage from which an IT staff can quickly provision virtual disks of whatever size and performance characteristics a customer’s applications require.

SANsymphony-V also features built-in synchronous mirroring, providing the platform with high-availability by eliminating the SAN as a single-point-of-failure. Because it handles real-time mirroring of I/Os between a primary and secondary node, each can also serve in either capacity for virtual disks, offering even greater resilience. Failover is automatic and entirely non-disruptive; critical functionality that has endowed Amnet with a reputation as a highly reliable provider of non-stop cloud computing.

In fact, in 2010 during a routine expansion of a storage system, partial power was accidentally “knocked out” by workers. This took down an entire side of a core SAN rack. Yet, due to the redundant design afforded by DataCore, the mirrored node and its backend SAN kicked-in seamlessly – and all were re-synched automatically when power was restored. Customers never noticed any interruption.

Such reliability, and ease of expansion, enabled Amnet to quickly transition their managed service business clients to its cloud platform. This ushered in a new phase of growth for the company, allowing the SP to deliver more powerful and comprehensive solutions at a fraction of the cost that would have been required by traditional colocation and managed infrastructure. Since, “colo” clients have converted to full or hybrid clouds because it makes business sense; storage and virtual machines can be rolled out within minutes. Larger enterprises also discovered the benefits of Amnet’s platform; one asking for a dedicated private cloud capable of meeting the needs of 3,000 users, resulting from a seven company merger, a very successful undertaking that occurred practically overnight.

“Today, we support thousands of users running within multiple private cloud computing grids across the country. We are 100 percent virtualised, with multiple backend storage models and varied vendor technology, all underpinned by DataCore’s technology. And now, we’ve got a backup and replication platform that’ll allow us to continue to grow, while maintaining the performance and reliability our customers expect, built at a fraction of the cost of a purpose built system.

“This has been a great partnership,” concluded Walsh.


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