I am thrilled to have been a part of this year’s Storage Field Day 23 event, held by Gestalt IT during the first week of March. This event is a series of vendor-led technical presentations where technologists like myself can ask hard questions so that we can better understand groundbreaking technologies.

The fourth presenter is SIOS. While some of the other vendors are not directly applicable to my day-to-day life, SIOS handles a niche scenario in my database world better than anybody else.

Check out their presentations here!

Here is the scenario. I have a database high availability architecture that requires shared storage. In my world that is a Microsoft SQL Server failover cluster instance. Other data platforms have similar challenges, such as SAP, but I can speak very clearly to the SQL Server requirements. These are platforms that I have been constructing and managing for over twenty years. (Now I feel old just writing that…)

In on-premises data centers, shared disks to servers, especially those that are already virtualized, becomes an absolute nightmare to the virtual or physical server administrators managing these platforms underneath the databases. Shared LUNs, raw device maps, shared VVOLs, and other solutions for shared disks are one of the most dreaded features by server administrators. In many cases, they actually introduce more outages and system instability than they actually prevent. In the event of a server problem, they are also much lengthier to triage.

SIOS fills this niche well. I have a very long history of using the DataKeeper software to perform synchronous data replication underneath Microsoft SQL Server deployments successfully. Instead of shared virtual disks or SAN LUNs, server administrators can deploy multiple servers exactly the way they have in the past, with independent virtual or physical disks. The DataKeeper software will then allow these local drives to be seen by the database and operating system as one and the same shared set of disks. It performs this level of replication without any special hardware requirements or advanced platform configuration in breaker joint any of the infrastructure or database layers.

While I wish this problem of troublesome shared disks did not exist to begin with, SIOS fills this niche extremely well. I have been a huge fan of this software and company for years, and will continue to use them in the deployments and servers that we ourselves manage.