DataCore SANsymphony SDS Review

A flexible and efficient solution for disaster recovery

What is our primary use case?

DataCore is our main Enterprise SAN solution. We serve all workloads among five different DataCore server groups. These workloads include all hypervisors, SQL and Oracle Databases, file shares, archive, and backups. DataCore helps us achieve disaster recovery by allowing us to mirror our data between two sites.

How has it helped my organization?

DataCore has been doing software-defined storage since back before SDS was even a buzzword. It has provided a great deal of flexibility, performance, and efficiency for our Enterprise SAN. We are not tied to any one hardware vendor and over the nineteen years that we've had DataCore, we have gone through various models of IBM servers to Dell servers as well as various storage arrays from IBM, Dot Hill, XIO, Kaminario, and Dell (all with some of the same data from year one).

What is most valuable?

DataCore's ability to seamlessly move virtual volume data between storage pools as well as their synchronous mirroring has made maintenance and disaster recovery planning achievable. DataCore's auto-tiering feature also allows us to use our SSD arrays efficiently.

What needs improvement?

DataCore needs a more efficient and better way to keep track of metrics and counters so that we can do baseline analysis to measure performance. Datacore has some functionality where you can send performance metrics to a SQL database however it has not always worked well for us. We actually had to turn it off because we were actually collecting too much data, but in my opinion we sometimes want this data. Ideally if there was a way to see metrics for current and specific points in time it would be great for troubleshooting and any type of trend analysis.

For how long have I used the solution?

Nineteen years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I used to say the problem with DataCore was that it ran on Windows. However, with 2012 R2 and now Windows 2016, things have become much more stable. In general, stability has improved over the years. Most of the problems we've had in the past were due to Windows blue screen errors stemming from our HBA cards.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability has worked well so far. We are up to managing about 2PB of data across five different DataCore Groups.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical Support is responsive. They could be a little faster when there is a critical emergency, but for the most part, technical support is good.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We have always had DataCore as our Enterprise SAN.

How was the initial setup?

We've always had DataCore come in with Professional Services to do the initial setup.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

In regards to Fibre Channel, buy a server that can handle the highest number of Quad Port HBA cards. Purchase as much memory for the server as you can afford. Anything you spec out, you will need to double if you want redundancy.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We did not evaluate other solutions prior to selecting this one.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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