“It was very important to enhance our IT infrastructure and maintain our technology leadership by implementing state-of-the-art resiliency and redundancy into our network upgrade,” commented Bruce Lev, managing director, Loeb Partners Corporation, “DataCore storage hypervisors provide the data protection management we sought and consider vital to ensuring non-stop business operations for our firm.”
Loeb Partners Corporation is an investment firm that represents the interests of the Loeb family and its affiliated entities. In 2008, the asset management business of Loeb Partners Corp. changed its name to Loeb Capital Management. DataCore™ storage virtualization software now supports virtualized IT environment for both Loeb Partners Corp. and Loeb Capital Management (Loeb).
“Virtualization enables our clients to maximize their IT investments now, while opening a path to leverage the cloud for additional gains in the future,” stated Jim Krantz, president, Krantz Secure Technologies. “DataCore’s storage hypervisor is proven technology, and once again, it has provided one of our clients with the technology to increase resiliency and reap the rewards of a software-powered SAN solution.”
Krantz Secure Technologies essentially serves as the outsourced IT department for Loeb. Prior to deploying DataCore’s SANsymphony-V, Loeb had all physical servers in their network at both production and the disaster recovery (DR) sites, with the exception of a few virtual machines (VMs) on a standalone ESX server. Housed in a bunker, the DR site provided offsite replication, with the production site backed-up by Double-Take Software.
A Hewlett Packard (HP) partner, Krantz Secure Technologies had previously deployed HP hardware in support of the virtualized servers and virtualized storage at Loeb. After a technology review, an alternative, virtualization-based solution was mapped out that would utilize HP SANs at both the production and the DR sites. However, the proposed solution potentially held a single point of failure that threatened the network and, in the future, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) initiative that is the next phase of the virtualized initiative at Loeb.
“We realized this concern could be easily overcome through a combination of DataCore storage virtualization software, specifically SANsymphony-V storage hypervisors, running on top of HP servers,” continued Krantz. “In doing so, we were able to virtualize the backend storage at Loeb, eliminating what could have been a single point of failure for their whole network, the potential for downtime caused by hardware failure, all while enabling the company to proceed with their VDI plans.”
More Value and Functionality via Virtualization
Prior to the deployment, Loeb realized they had a few servers that were well-past their prime, which when replaced, could significantly upgrade their technology platform. Krantz Secure Technologies further advised that by replacing the existing Double-Take software with a replicated SAN network, Loeb could recoup the expense in a few years by avoiding costly software license renewals. These savings enabled Krantz Secure Technologies to deliver true high availability to Loeb through two DataCore-virtualized SANs that effectively eliminated any single point of failure on the new, virtualized network.
“High availability was a big driver but doing so cost-effectively was paramount,” noted Krantz. “DataCore enabled us to deliver a solution offering greater reliability, far more capabilities and greater future potential, all while allowing Loeb to stay on budget.”
The project has been a far-reaching virtualization initiative. It has encompassed hardware consolidation, delivering the associated cost savings of server virtualization, while providing Loeb with the flexibility to add VMs “on-the-fly” and use any device for the backend storage. Other drivers revolve around the core benefits of storage virtualization, chiefly, affordability, scalability, increased performance and uptime.
Whereas before all servers were physical and limited, Loeb now is able to run 26 VMs. These are supported by three ESX host servers running on VMware Essentials in conjunction with SANsymphony-V. Virtualized systems on the platform are file and print servers, Exchange, Blackberry Enterprise Server, SQL Websense, Actiance, Citrix XenApp, along with accounting software and various investor and financial applications such as Bloomberg. A synchronous mirror is now in place, along with asynchronous replication going to the DR site using DataCore’s Advanced Site Recovery Manager. The SANsymphony-V storage hypervisors run on HP G7’s in all instances; both the mirrored copies and at the DR site.
Krantz noted how the solution has enabled the infrastructure to meet rigid financial industry requirements during annual DR testing. System engineers attest that for the first time they are able to conduct testing in a manner ensuring true failover and failback, all supported by DataCore’s storage hypervisor. The inclusion of DataCore’s Advanced Site Recovery Manager also provides the engineers with advanced scripting that enables failover/failback of the system with far less manual intervention and engineering effort.
“Knowing that if there’s ever a true DR event there will be seamless recovery gives Loeb Partners – and ourselves as their advisor – the peace of mind we have been seeking and the confidence to begin looking into the possibilities of VDI,” concluded Krantz.