Q&A With Mark Lewis, CEO Of Formation Data Systems, Regarding Its Hyperscale, Software Defined Storage Solution For The Enterprise

Cloud Computing Today recently spoke to Mark Lewis, CEO of Formation Data Systems about the innovation of its hyperscale, software defined storage platform and ability to virtualize all enterprise storage components. The questions below examine the Formation Data Systems product suite in the context of an overview of its capabilities, its relationship to cloud and Big Data technologies and its ability to support storage-related analytics.

Cloud Computing Today Question #1: Describe Formation Data Systems and the innovation it makes to contemporary storage.

 Formation Data Systems Response #1Formation Data Systems is an emerging technology company that combines the benefits of public cloud web-scale approaches with the capabilities of private datacenter storage. The FormationOne Dynamic Storage Platform is a software-defined storage solution that has been built for Enterprise IT, SaaS application providers, and service providers with innovations such as PriorityOne QoS, Timeline data protection, Dynamic Data Tiering and Firebreak infrastructure analytics and anomaly detection engine to transform how enterprise storage is deployed, managed and maintained.   

Cloud Computing Today Question #2: How does Formation Data Systems respond to the contemporary proliferation of cloud and Big Data technologies?

 Formation Data Systems Response #2: The complexity and high cost of current enterprise storage solutions have caused IT professionals to look at cloud storage alternatives. Cloud storage is often simple, elastic, and inexpensive compared to most enterprise storage today, this is especially true when it comes to Big Data deployments. But there are challenges; cloud storage often lacks the flexibility, security, performance, and control required for enterprise data environments.  Formation addresses these challenges by providing a platform that delivers the scale and flexibility to support HDFS workloads that allow big data scientists to deploy storage solutions that provide cloud elasticity and economics but with the data governance and control of private data centers.   By using software data connectors to support block, file, object and HDFS interfaces, the FormationOne system can simultaneously support production and analytics workloads taking advantage of the Single Origin functionality of the Formation software-defined architecture.

Cloud Computing Today Question #3: How does Formation Data Systems address the challenge of analytics on storage? What analytics can customers access about their storage infrastructures?

 Formation Data Systems Response #3: FormationOne offers real-time analytics via a feature called FireBreak that supports storage and application analytics that provide deep insights for storage and application administrators. FireBreak collects rich telemetry data for the storage system at the per-volume, per-application, and per-domain level via a streaming API. It also collects data on each application’s behavior and performance. This provides storage administrators with a set of tools to monitor the system capacity and health and application behavior in real-time.  In addition, FireBreak issues alerts about any critical conditions that occur, such as capacity or IOPS problems, through configurable SMS, email or SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) traps. This facilitates early detection and resolution of any storage failures and keeps the customer informed. FireBreak sends alerts to the customer and displays them in the UI. The alert displays the volume in red for 1 hour. As the system recovers from the event, the color slowly returns to green over a 24-hour period (assuming no other alerts occur).


Adoption of DataCore’s Software-Defined Storage Surges in U.S. Healthcare Market


Hospitals and Other Healthcare Organizations Achieve Significant Gains in Performance, Scalability and Reliability with DataCore’s Unified Storage Services Platform

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., February 3, 2015DataCore, a leader in software-defined storage, continues to expand its U.S. market presence at a significant pace as it adds more healthcare organizations to a long list of hospitals and caregivers it is helping to meet pressing IT challenges, such as reducing storage costs, protecting data and eliminating downtime.

Over the last twelve months, many new enterprises serving the healthcare market joined longstanding DataCore customers such as Continuum Health Partners, Inc. (now part of Mount Sinai Health), Maimonides Medical Center, New York Presbyterian Hospital, Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center Inc., in realizing important benefits from software-defined storage (SDS) with DataCore SANsymphony™-V. Moreover, many healthcare-focused organizations in the U.S. expanded their use of DataCore in the last year, including Arnot Health, Family Healthcare, Hanover Hospital, Homecare Homebase, Inland Empire Health, Mission Community Hospital, OrthoNY (formerly Northeast Orthopaedics), and Stormont Vail Healthcare, among others.

Information technology managers in the healthcare industry are under enormous pressure to deliver more storage capacity, better resiliency and faster performance – all while managing costs. DataCore addresses these challenges with SDS solutions that deliver significant performance improvements, better utilization of storage devices and substantially improved reliability through redundancy. A cost-effective storage infrastructure that allows “Freedom of Choice” in using any hypervisor, any storage, on any server platform, DataCore SANsymphony-V software enables healthcare providers to virtualize their storage devices – eliminating storage silos by creating a pool of storage that is managed centrally by one platform delivering unified storage services.

Maimonides Medical Center – Defining Mission-Critical Storage Its Own Way

Maimonides Medical Center is among the largest independent teaching hospitals in the U.S. and has more than 800 physicians. The hospital chose DataCore software from a number of hardware and software competitors based on its ability to securely and seamlessly manage the hospital’s storage resource expansion. DataCore’s software-centric approach to storage virtualization and its inherent ability to “thin provision” storage capacity has proven to be an invaluable service in eliminating the labor-intensive need for system administrators to micro-manage the capacity requirements of life-critical applications.

Maimonides started with software-defined storage before it was fashionable. DataCore has been installed at Maimonides for almost fifteen years now, working across multiple generations and different storage vendors. An overriding benefit that DataCore delivers is continuous availability. Critical applications continue to run and access data without being impacted by storage disruptions. The DataCore solution also has enabled the hospital to take a cost-effective approach when addressing its overall storage needs and to consolidate storage management for mission-critical patient records.

Four pairs of DataCore SANsymphony-V currently run on IBM servers – enabling applications to be “metro-clustered” between two different sites. Synchronous mirroring and transparent ‘No Touch’ failover on each side provide continuous availability to over 1 petabyte of data.

“Everything that is mission-critical to the running of the hospital is supported by the DataCore virtualized
storage platform,” explained Rog Fe de Leon, Head of the Storage Group, Maimonides. “Users not only receive faster access to data, but they benefit from more server capacity as well.”

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center – Adding Redundancy and Reducing Storage Costs

Englewood Hospital and Medical Center (EHMC) had forecast 10x data growth in four years. The IT team was also struggling to cope with frequent data migrations for hardware upgrades and ongoing hospital expansion. Since deploying DataCore, EHMC has reduced storage-related downtime and achieved 24/7 availability, and has also reduced costs through tiered storage, increased capacity utilization by reclaiming under-utilized capacity, and increased performance for all of its applications – all while extending the life of storage investments.

Notably, all VM’s are stored on the DataCore system – Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Oracle PeopleSoft, Microsoft SQL Servers, as well as the PACS and VNA system.

“The capabilities of DataCore SANsymphony-V allow us to continue to deliver patient care seamlessly and without interruption, which is critical to our mission,” commented Ronald Fuschillo, Chief Information Officer at EHMC. EHMC is an acute care teaching hospital known for its cardiac program and its bloodless surgery program.

Mission Community Hospital – Eliminating Its Dependence on Expensive Hardware

Mission Community Hospital, a 145-bed short-term acute facility located in north San Fernando Valley, Calif., has overcome its most pressing IT challenge – a dependence on expensive hardware – with a flexible software-defined storage architecture made possible by DataCore SANsymphony-V.

The hospital had a lot of direct-attached storage as well as multiple, older servers where the storage disks resided within the older servers themselves. The process of capacity management and storage provisioning was very disjointed. With data storage growth rates climbing, Mission Community Hospital needed to find an economic way to add more capacity. Moreover, the hospital’s CIO sought to open up his purchasing options and free the institution from hardware and system vendor lock-in.

With two copies of SANsymphony-V now running on Dell R720 servers, one software platform unifies all storage resources – making storage management automated. Migrations are simple, physical storage is now agnostic, and downtime has been eliminated.

“The fact is that we are not tied to a particular vendor,” stated Dustin Fennel, Chief Information Officer at Mission Community Hospital. “With DataCore as a comprehensive storage services platform, we can always just get the best storage for what we are trying to accomplish without having to learn a new management system for every model.”
Greater Productivity and Flexibility Driving Momentum

“For those in healthcare IT, it’s about maximizing IT infrastructure performance, availability and utilization by productively using smart software to virtualize and add the needed flexibility to meet changing demands,” said George Teixeira, CEO of DataCore “Healthcare institutions of all kinds and sizes are turning to DataCore because they realize that IT has moved beyond just the hardware for servers and for storage – it is about the intelligence of the software that runs in conjunction with those devices.”

To learn more about how healthcare organizations are using DataCore software as the cornerstone of their IT infrastructure, click here.

About DataCore Software

DataCore is a leader in software-defined storage. The company’s storage virtualization and virtual SAN solutions empower organizations to seamlessly manage and scale their data storage architectures, delivering massive performance gains at a fraction of the cost of solutions offered by legacy storage hardware vendors. Backed by 10,000 customer sites around the world, DataCore’s adaptive and self-learning and healing technology takes the pain out of manual processes and helps deliver on the promise of the new software defined data center through its hardware agnostic architecture.

Visit http://www.datacore.com or call (877) 780-5111 for more information.


DataCore, the DataCore logo and SANsymphony are trademarks or registered trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. Other DataCore product or service names or logos referenced herein are trademarks of DataCore Software Corporation. All other products, services and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

For media & PR inquiries:
SVM on behalf of DataCore
Laura Nelson or Jill Colna

SwiftStack Announces General Availability Of Software Defined Storage Solution For Private Clouds

Today, SwiftStack announces the general availability of its private cloud storage platform that leverages OpenStack’s Swift as its underlying storage technology. The solution delivers storage performance and scalability for private clouds that parallels that of public cloud offerings. Designed to run on commodity hardware, the solution is currently used primarily by organizations building applications within a private cloud environment as well as cloud service providers that use SwiftStack’s storage solution for their cloud offerings. SwiftStack’s software defined storage solution features two principal components: (1) Nodes that receive the storage configuration from the controller and adjust the platform in accord with authentication and load balancing changes; (2) A controller that manages and automates the configuration, scaling and error handling.

Developed by the team responsible for key contributions to OpenStack Swift, SwiftStack represents yet another commercialization of OpenStack’s offerings, this time in the form of a robust, object storage solution designed specifically for private clouds. Today’s announcement also signals the vibrancy of a contemporary revolution in storage technologies branded under the widely misunderstood rubric “software defined storage,” at least partially defined by the ability of the storage controller to “be provision-able via software orchestration” according to Dheeraj Pandey, CEO of Nutanix, another software defined storage vendor. Another key component of software defined storage is the abstraction of storage from hardware, and the capability of the controller to be virtually provisioned. Other vendors in the software defined storage space include Nexenta and EMC’s recent acquisition ScaleIO. As large enterprises struggle to catch up with advances in storage technology, the industry should expect to see more acquisitions of hot software defined storage vendors as the battle to deliver highly scalable, high performance, interoperable storage solutions evolves.

SwiftStack Raises $6.1 Million In Series A Funding For OpenStack-Based Software Defined Storage Solution

Today, SwiftStack announces the finalization of $6.1 million in Series A funding in a round led by the Mayfield Fund with additional participation from Storm Ventures and UMC Capital. SwiftStack plans to use the funding to support product development for its software-defined storage solution as well as to expand its sales team and operations. SwiftStack delivers a software-defined storage solution that “decouples the management from the underlying storage infrastructure.” The resulting storage infrastructure is marked by greater scalability and durability than traditional storage solutions. Moreover, because SwiftStack’s solution is based on the storage component of OpenStack, customers can inter-operate with other vendors who use OpenStack-based storage. Navin Chaddha, Managing Director of the Mayfield Fund, remarked on the innovation of SwiftStack’s platform as follows:

SwiftStack is a great addition to our portfolio, which has included highly successful storage companies such as 3PAR and StorSimple. The company is uniquely positioned to be a frontrunner in the emerging software-defined storage market. With SwiftStack, application developers and operations teams can leverage the power of the public cloud storage inside their own datacenter, kind of like Amazon S3-in-a-box.

Chaddha highlights the way in which SwiftStack brings the scalability, durability and flexibility of public cloud solutions directly to the datacenters of enterprises. Customers can leverage SwiftStack’s software-defined storage solution to create the public-cloud grade storage platform for use cases such as on premise deployments, private cloud environments and backup and recovery infrastructures. SwiftStack’s solution simplifies operational costs associated with maintaining storage infrastructures, particularly in the case of organizations that require the ability to scale rapidly and store and manage petabytes of data.

SwiftStack was founded by CEO Joe Arnold and COO Anders Tjernlund, both of whom are veterans of Engine Yard, the Platform as a Service for Ruby on Rails, PHP and Node.js applications. Moreover, because many of SwiftStack’s engineers are key contributors to the code for OpenStack’s Swift platform, the company’s technology is poised to remain tightly integrated with OpenStack’s evolving enhancements. Precise details of the SwiftStack platform have yet to be released, but for now, the company’s core message appears to be that OpenStack-based, public cloud grade storage infrastructures are commercially available via a software-defined storage solution that simplifies and enhances enterprise storage.